Posts Tagged ‘paving’

Planning a garden

Posted in Gardening Basics, Gardening Guides on January 24th, 2012 by Julian Cassell – Be the first to comment

Planning a garden needs to be a carefully considered decision-making process, where you take plenty of time in adding up the pros and cons of all your ideas and inspirations. Doing as much research as possible at the planning stage will always pay dividends in the long term, as your garden gradually matures. read more »


Replacing a broken slab

Posted in 'How-to' Guides, Paths, Paving, and Patios on January 13th, 2012 by Julian Cassell – Be the first to comment

Replacing a broken slab in a patio or path is a straightforward DIY job. What is also good news is that there is no need to mix up any mortar, as you can use a product called Slablayer to bed down a replacement slab, and this is the technique I’ve shown in the example below. For more details on general points about laying slabs and using Slablayer, see my guide ‘Laying a patio’. read more »


Repointing patio slabs

Posted in 'How-to' Guides, Paths, Paving, and Patios on September 9th, 2011 by Julian Cassell – Be the first to comment

Patio slab pointing fails for a number of reasons – some simply to do with age, others relating to the method used for laying and pointing the slabs in the first place. Dry pointing (where a dry mortar mix has been used) has got a tendency to fair worse than a wet mortar mix, but if the slabs haven’t been laid properly in the first place, pointing doesn’t stand much of a chance anyway. read more »


Laying a paving slab path

Posted in 'How-to' Guides, Paths, Paving, and Patios on August 3rd, 2011 by Julian Cassell – Be the first to comment

Paving slabs or concrete slabs are a good solid option for constructing a path. The technique below shows using a product called Slablayer which acts as the bedding layer for the path. Slablayer is basically an alternative to laying the slabs on a wet mortar bedding layer, and is becoming a very popular option for the DIY enthusiast, because of its ease of use. read more »


Spacers for paving slabs

Posted in Buying Guides, Gardening Reviews on July 30th, 2011 by Julian Cassell – Be the first to comment

paving slab spacersGapfast spacers are a new product on the market, and are quite simply a tile spacer for paving slabs. When I was first approached to offer an opinion on their suitability for the DIY market, I did ask myself the same 2 questions that always come to mind when any new product appears – “How did we manage up until now?” and therefore “Is there any need for it?”.

Well for me, maintaining a gap between paving slabs has always been achieved with offcuts of wood, commonly bits of ply wedged in position, and then removed once the slabs are set in place. The idea with the Gapfast spacer is to position one at all slab corners, and for it to remain in place, and then be pointed over in the same way as tile spacers on a tiled floor or wall are grouted over. I do have a slight problem with this, as although I’m okay with grouting over wall tile spacers as long as the tiles are not too thin, and therefore the grouting will sufficiently cover the spacer, I do have reservations with grouting over floor tile spacers. Why? – Well, because you will often get problems with floor tile joints cracking because there is not a sufficient depth of grout covering over the spacers, and obviously floors are put under much greater stresses than wall tiles.

Gapfast single spacerNow, I do not think this problem is a deal breaker with Gapfast as I think in practice you would use them marginally differently to a tile spacer. Firstly, you’d make sure they were pressed slightly into the bedding layer below the slabs, so that you would effectively ensure that even with relatively thin slabs, there would be a good depth of pointing above the spacer. Also the Gapfast spacer design is hollow, so that your pointing material would be taken into the structure of the spacer itself. But even if you couldn’t bring yourself to point over them, you could just as easily use the spacer in a pegging fashion (like most pro tilers), where you insert one leg of the spacer into a joint, normally two spacers per tile side, and then remove them all once the layout is set. This also means the spacers are reusable.

So in conclusion, yes I think these are useful pieces of kit that would certainly help in laying slabs. Are they essential? No, but you could argue the same about tile spacers, and let’s face it, the vast majority of us use them.

In making your mind up, you need to weigh up the price tag of £11.99 for a pack of 50, against the time messing around in sorting out a load of ply or wooden offcuts. Also, Gapfast do point out the increased structural integrity that the spacers provide, and so you need to add that to your deliberations.

They are due to be launched in all the big DIY outlets, but at the moment you need to go direct to Gapfast, where you will also find plenty more information about the spacer, along with plans for more products in this area. Personally, I’m looking forward to giving the Gapfast spacer a go! Also keep an eye on the ‘Paving Expert’ website as they’re going to give them a case study in the near future.