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Jimmy Macintosh
7th Apr 2009, 17:57
I've read through some of the past threads about flooring and decided that there are enough people here with strong opinions and some with good skills and a few that can combine the two.

I have a garden at the side of my house that is roughly 500 sq ft, 220 sq ft of it is covered by a car port. The previous owner had concreted the entire area, it seems, in about 12 stages so it has different shades and blends of drab grey and lots of seams everywhere in seemingly random places.

I have been transforming this area into an outdoor hang out/entertaining area. Currently, the edge of the entire area is about a foot wide and is pebbled. There is a 10' x 10' gazebo with patio furniture inside, a fire pit, Bar-B-Que and various potted plants around (Majestic Palms etc.). As you can imagine the concrete is a blight to this.

So I'm looking for ideas and techniques.

I've heard about acid staining, never done it, never seen an end result. Is it any good? Is it worth the effort?

Looking at pavers, seems that they need to be laid on an inch of sand and are themselves about 2-3 inches thick, this won't cause a problem for the house door but the couple of inch step could be a trip hazard/door issue with my sheds and the join to the front garden. Anyone any suggestions at to how best lay these? Any ideas on how to reduce the step issue?

Resurfacing, stamping etc. In all honesty I'd like to do the whole thing for as little as possible with my own labour, so I need an ability to correct mistakes and poor workmanship concreting an area that big just seems open to a HUGE mistake that won't correct easily.

Any other options?

I'll try and get a picture posted if that will help people be creative. I'm also looking for tips on how to impliment any of the ideas.

Thanks.

Bo Nalls
7th Apr 2009, 18:08
http://pro.corbis.com/images/UB004825.jpg?size=67&uid=%7B54CB69BF-603E-435F-B276-9B2117D0D5E6%7D

Sprogget
7th Apr 2009, 18:30
This from last week:
http://www.pprune.org/jet-blast/360579-winter-spring-projects-thread.html


and quite relevant from last year:
http://www.pprune.org/jet-blast/328429-if-id-known-itd-hard.html

and this too:
http://www.pprune.org/jet-blast/293362-need-advice-about-gravel-parking-space.html


Good luck, I did mine for about 700 quid, very back breaking, very satisfying too.

ChrisVJ
7th Apr 2009, 18:37
The nice thing about paving is that mistakes are easily rectified. Generally they should be laid on 4 to 6" of 3/4 gravel well tamped and then an inch or two of sand trowelled down firm. Ideally you should break up the concrete and put down the gravel as the paving needs to drain. In that case you can lower the level to one that is suitable.

Levelling the gravel is easy, just get two pieces of rigid pipe or tube and lay them out about four of five feet apart at the right slope, (slope away from house etc.) then use a board to scrape the surplus gravel down. Do the same in sections till finished. If starting from scratch you can lay out 2x4" lumber and pour in the gravel. I use pipe because it is always straight.

After laying out the pavours (if they are the brick or similar type) cover the joints with sand and retamp. If they are concrete 2x2 ft just work sand into the joints.

I have done stamped concrete. The trick with that is to get the degree of stamping just right, and the timing, while not critical to the minute, needs to be right too. Personally, while it is not so quick or sudden, I prefer the pavours as a job. The concrete must be at least four inches thick, preferably with a metal mesh (3/8th in six inch spacing) so it does not crack. You need the same preparation as the pavours but the sand only needs to be blinding, (that is just to cover the gravel.)

If your current concrete is actually cracked putting new concrete or a screed (sand cement 1 or 2" thick) over it will just lead to the cracks coming through. If however it is good, though in discoloured sections, you could put on one of the new coverings. I saw one the other day that is like a thick paint. It is trowelled on, two coats about an eigth thick, then tooled to make a pattern and dyed with powder pigments to give an old stone or pavour effect (Stone, marble, pavours, anything you like) . Very nice and very hardy. (You might save yourself some effort by laying out an 'antiqued' finish that had 'cracks' over the cracks and would just look natural, might even be a feature!)

Another one I have used is exposed aggregate, (which is probably what you mean by acid wash) but this one is done with resin. You mix resin in a barrow and then mix in fine aggregate, about 1/4 inch stuff, then spread it out flat on the concrete, You can use different colour aggregates to make patterns or lines. Hardens to a nice walking surface and can be very elegant. Will cover surface cracks but any movement at all will show through pretty soon.

airfoilmod
7th Apr 2009, 18:42
Float the entire area with a product called Level-Quik, a cementitious veneer applied over an acrylic brush applied film. It levels itself, fills small holes, and is ready for your artwork quickly; pigment the result with a variety of applicating methods, brush in some irregular lines, and you have a monolithic "Marble" floor that will impress the visitors. Cover the final with an acrylic clear finish. It will be slippery when wet (So is St. Peter's), so sisal rugs or other traction would be helpful. It will fool most people unless your neighbors are from Italy and named Carrera.

Oops. To shade the trip, feather it with a wedge of fast hardening Stucco mix, before you apply the LQ. Thx Sprogget.


AF

Sprogget
7th Apr 2009, 18:52
No fall required then afm?:confused::=:confused::)

OFSO
7th Apr 2009, 19:50
Hey Jimmy, is your name Jacqui Smith ? No, thought not.

Well, best way to do your DIY job in the UK is to hire some Poles. Good workers, good prices, nice guys. Will cost you less in the end, and you won't get a hernia.

(I speak from experience)(about the hernia, that is).

Jimmy Macintosh
7th Apr 2009, 20:26
I'm not UK based anymore. I have a source of very cheap labour but in all honesty not convinced of the quality of the work.

I'm not going to break up the concrete, that is waaaaaaay too much effort. I had read that if I was laying onto an already existing concrete base I wouldn't need the gravel aggregate, just the sand to help with leveling.

Intrigued by the level quik, not heard about that before.

The other threads I'd looked over but none of them had a concrete base as a start point...so thought I'd better get more specific guidance.

The acid stain is supposed to be a liquid you paint/spray over existing concrete, the acid and alkali react and produce a stained colour. I don't know whether this will result in the same patchiness just in a different colour or not, the seams would remain unchanged.

Drainage isn't a concern, it rains about three weeks a year here and even then it's nothing to worry about.

Thanks, some good helpful info so far.

green granite
7th Apr 2009, 20:38
No need for sand at all, 5 dollops of mortar and lay the slabs on that, ie one dollop in each corner and one in the middle of each slab, use thinner slabs to over come the step problem.

SyllogismCheck
7th Apr 2009, 20:42
The steps/trip hazards aren't the main issue on height. Whether or not the the extra height in the slabs brings the patio above the damp-proof course of the adjoining house is the bigger issue

Sprogget
7th Apr 2009, 20:46
If you are using a paved surface for walking on, throwing the odd barbie etc then you don't need a super strong substrate. If however, you intend to park cars on it, then you should think again.

If you intend it to drain, then you need a fall of at least 1:60. The five dollops of mortar method is ok, but depends on what you're laying. If you intend to lay something like imdian sandstone, then you will need a full mortar bed. The rules aren't hard and fast, it all depends on the usage, the surface and the locale. The most comprehensive website you'll find is this one:

pavingexpert - Paving, Drainage and Hard Landscaping Advice (http://www.pavingexpert.com/)

It's all in there.

Jimmy Macintosh
7th Apr 2009, 20:55
My house doesn't have a damp course, it's elevated about 3' at the rear and about 2' at the front, it is closed off though. Nearest neighbours house is probably 30' away

The pavers I was refering to are basically half thick bricks, though I'm starting to look at alternatives like paving slabs or tiles.

Starting to think 0.5" sand just arrange the pavers then sweep quick drying cement between the pavers and spray with water. Does that sound like a complete botch job?

How would feathering about 2.5" of height out be achieved? my minds eye pictures a real mess...

I am hoping to not even think about touching this again for a long time.

Sprogget
7th Apr 2009, 20:57
I am hoping to not even think about touching this again for a long time.

Then be sure to square it up in your head before starting and then do it right first time.

hellsbrink
7th Apr 2009, 22:47
My house doesn't have a damp course, it's elevated about 3' at the rear and about 2' at the front, it is closed off though. Nearest neighbours house is probably 30' away

The pavers I was refering to are basically half thick bricks, though I'm starting to look at alternatives like paving slabs or tiles.

Starting to think 0.5" sand just arrange the pavers then sweep quick drying cement between the pavers and spray with water. Does that sound like a complete botch job?

How would feathering about 2.5" of height out be achieved? my minds eye pictures a real mess...

I am hoping to not even think about touching this again for a long time.


Personally, I would use something that needs more sand, 2" good, 0.5" bad. The "bed" is VERY important. The slope is not an issue, all you need is a line to follow, and that can be done with a chalk line on the wall of the house and then you just have to follow that with the first "line" of slabs/tiles/whatever then make sure everything is level or slightly sloping away from the house for drainage. You basically follow the first set, same as you plumb a vertical line when wallpapering, make the first sheet of wallpaper follow the line and then everything else follows the first one. If you need a slight slope away from the house, that is easy with a big sprit level that has a "bubble" that can be adjusted for the angle. Personally, I would follow the line from your back to front door with the gradient away from the house suggested by Sprogget. Make sure all water flows AWAY from the house.

Quick drying cement is a no-no. As things expand and contract with heat/cold, it will crack. Best way is to brush normal cement in and let rain wash it in. You'll have to so it several times, and if things are really dry then use a fine spray to send the first load into the gaps, but the main thing is you build up what would be descriped as "grout" in bathroom tiles. It's a bit more work, sure, but in the end it will look better.

Hope this helps

HB

airfoilmod
7th Apr 2009, 23:31
Don't go monolithic, add expansion joints, but that is way overkill given Jimmy's needs as I understand them. A "marble" finish (Faux) would welcome cracks; as they appear, fill with Carbon black and epoxy resin, or just leave 'em. Pavers are way expensive, and seem inappropriate for an informal look. Jimmy, the level quick is a proprietary filler for tile prep or painted surface. It is quick, Hard, and longlasting, also cheap. Did I mention it was inexpensive? Fool Proof, and gives you a nice "canvas" for a hand done pigmented finish, also cheap and with a little experimenting, very satisfying. Best luck.

air

notmyC150v2
8th Apr 2009, 01:22
Personally I would go with tile pavers. Not the housebrick style ones but the 40 cm x 40 cm external tiles.

Also avoid the manufactured pavers and go for real quarried stone. The stuff from South Africa is not that expensive and looks great. I got it around my pool area and it looks fantastic. It was laid on concrete with mortar to hold it and with selastic stuff on the expansion joints. A bit of clear sealer to finish off.

It is more expensive than normal paving on sand but I hate having to constantly sweep the sand away and fixing it when sand gets washed away in heavy rains. This was perfect for me.

It is non slip, long lasting and doesn't stain. Laying it isn't too hard either.

Just a thought.

Mr Grimsdale
8th Apr 2009, 09:30
The previous owner had concreted the entire area, it seems, in about 12 stages so it has different shades and blends of drab grey and lots of seams everywhere in seemingly random places.


Was the previous owner called Fred West by any chance?:eek: