How To Grout Paving Slabs (Best Methods)

Patios are a popular feature in outdoor living spaces, providing an ideal spot to relax, entertain, and soak up the sunshine. While the type of patio pavers you choose is important for both the function and aesthetics of your patio, the way you point or grout them can also make a significant difference. Pointing or grouting is the process of filling in the gaps between the pavers with a material such as sand or mortar to provide stability and prevent weeds from growing between the joints. However, there are various methods of pointing or grouting a patio, and each technique has its own advantages and disadvantages. If laying porcelain, see our special guide: Best Outdoor Grout for Porcelain Tiles. In this blog post, we'll explore the different ways of pointing or grouting a patio and help you decide which method is best for your outdoor space.

The Traditional Method Using Sand and Cement

The traditional way of pointing a patio involves using a wet mixture of sharp sand and cement. This method has been used for many years and is still popular due to its durability and ease of application. It should be undertaken once the bedding mix under the slabs is dry, so usually no sooner than 24 hours after laying. The weather conditions should be dry and with no risk of frost.

To get started with pointing your patio, you will first need to prepare the mix. The ideal mix is made up of 4 parts sharp sand to 1 part cement. Mix the sand and cement together thoroughly in a wheelbarrow or large mixing tray and add water so that it balls up in your hand. 

Once you have your mix, you can begin the pointing process. Begin by clearing any debris and loose mortar from the gaps between the pavers. Using a combination of two trowels, scoop up some mortar from the wheelbarrow or mixing tray and gradually slice it into the gaps using the second trowel. Push the mortar down firmly into the gaps and once the joints are filled, use a pointing iron to shape the mix and remove any excess. Finally, use a soft brush to sweep any remaining cement off the surface of the paving slabs and a damp sponge to remove any residue on the surface of the slabs as this will be almost impossible to remove once dried. 

Pros:

  • Durable and long-lasting
  • Can withstand heavy foot traffic and adverse weather conditions once dry
  • Can be coloured to match the pavers for a seamless look
  • Economically priced

Cons:

  • Time-consuming
  • Can be difficult to get the mix right
  • Can crack over time due to movement in the pavers, leading to weed growth
  • Requires specific weather conditions to undertake the work
  • Residue will stain the paving so although simple in theory, it's easy to spoil to overall patio finish

Overall, pointing a patio with sand and cement is a tried and tested method that can provide a strong and durable joint. However, it may not be the best option for everyone, it can be time consuming, weather dependant a hard graft especially over a large area, so it's important to consider other methods before making a decision.

Ready Mixed Brush-In Jointing Compound

Using a ready mixed jointing compound (also known as polymeric sand) is an alternative method for pointing a patio that is gaining popularity due to its ease of use and quick installation time and all weather installation option. This method involves using a pre-mixed product that is designed specifically for filling the gaps between the pavers.

To get started with this method, you will need to clean the patio and ensure that the gaps between the pavers are free from any debris or loose material. Once the patio is clean, you MUST wet the entire area and ensure it stays wet whilst you use a broom to brush in the jointing compound. Don't worry about overspill when the paving is wet as the jointing compound will not set immediately on the basis of it remaining wet. Once the patio is allowed to dry, the jointing compound will set hard in place, so be sure to remove any surplus material before you let the patio dry out. Once the compound has set, usually within 24 hours, you can use your new patio. 

Pros:

  • Quick and easy to apply, saving time and effort
  • Provides a strong and durable joint that can withstand heavy foot traffic and adverse weather conditions
  • Can be used in wet and dry weather conditions
  • Does not require any mixing, making it more convenient to use
  • Does not need any back-breaking work as the jointing compound is brushed in with a broom
  • Neutral colour palette works with most paving options
  • Easy for DIY use

Cons:

  • Can be more expensive than other pointing methods
  • Limited colour options may not match the colour of your pavers
  • Not suitable for large gaps or joints that require a deep fill
  • The finished joint may not be as neat or precise as traditional pointing methods
  • May be difficult to keep the area wet during hot weather
  • Slightly grainy appearance not to everyone's tastes
  • Will stain paving if allowed to dry on surface

 

In summary, using a ready mixed jointing compound can be a convenient and effective way to point your patio, especially if you are short on time or prefer not to mix your own pointing material. However, it is important to consider the pros and cons carefully and choose a method that is best suited to your specific needs and preferences.

Pavetuf Brush In Compound - Buff

15kg tub covers approx. 15sqm

Joints from 5mm to 20mm

Joint depths from 20mm upwards 

Pavetuf Brush In Compound - Black

15kg tub covers approx. 15sqm

Joints from 5mm to 20mm

Joint depths from 20mm upwards

Pavetuf Brush In Compound - Grey

15kg tub covers approx. 15sqm

Joints from 5mm to 20mm

Joint depths from 20mm upwards



GftK vdw 840+ Brush In Mortar - Buff

12.kg and 25kg tubs (approx 45sqm coverage for 25kg)

Joints up to 10mm

For natural stone and concrete paving

GftK vdw 840+ Brush In Mortar - Stone Grey

12.kg and 25kg tubs (approx 45sqm coverage for 25kg)

Joints up to 10mm

For natural stone and concrete paving

GftK vdw 840+ Brush In Mortar - Silver Grey

12.kg and 25kg tubs (approx 45sqm coverage for 25kg)

Joints up to 10mm

For natural stone and concrete paving

GftK vdw 840+ Brush In Mortar - Basalt

12.kg and 25kg tubs (approx 45sqm coverage for 25kg)

Joints up to 10mm

For natural stone and concrete paving

 

Two Part Epoxy Jointing Mortar

Another alternative method for pointing a patio is using a two-part epoxy jointing mortar. This product type is exceptionally strong, and suitable for most applications including driveways. This method involves mixing two components, usually a resin and a hardener, to create a mortar that is applied to the gaps between the pavers.

To get started with this method, you will need to prepare the surface of the patio by removing any debris or loose material from the gaps between the pavers. As this type of jointing mortar is a thick liquid, be sure to prevent it seeping out of open exposed edges so either fill these by haunching the edges or use putty to block the gaps. Wet the entire area and ensure it remains wet throughout the installation process to prevent the jointing mortar from setting. Once the surface is clean and prepared, mix the two components of the jointing slurry according to the manufacturer's instructions. Apply the mortar to the gaps using a squeegee, making sure to fill the gaps completely. The mortar will not require trowelling in as the semi-fluid nature of the product means it will sink into the gaps. Ensure surplus mortar is washed off the surface of the paving before allowing it to dry and set. Once the mortar has set, usually within 24-48 hours, you can use the patio. 

Pros:

  • Provides an exceptionally strong and durable joint that can withstand heavy foot and vehicular traffic and adverse weather conditions
  • Can be used on a wide range of paver types and materials
  • Offers a neutral range of colour options, allowing you to match the jointing material to the colour of your pavers
  • Quick to apply
  • Used by professionals
  • Installed with a squeegee so less back-breaking than traditional sand and cement

Cons:

  • Can be more expensive than other pointing methods
  • Requires careful mixing of the two components to ensure a proper cure
  • Very difficult to remove excess material once the mortar has set, so essential to clean area before it dries
  • Can be less forgiving than other methods, as mistakes cannot be easily corrected
  • Must not be allowed to enter drains
  • More complicated installation process and requires extra care by DIYers

In summary, using a two-part jointing mortar can be an effective way to point your patio, especially if you want the strongest and most durable joint. However, it is important to carefully follow the manufacturer's instructions as it's easy to get it wrong with this product type. Consider the pros and cons before choosing this method for your patio.

GftK vdw 800

Ideal for cobble setts

Perfect for natural stone

Joints 5mm and above

Patio and driveway use

Choice of colours: Natural Sand, Stone Grey & Basalt

GftK vdw 815

Ideal for slabs 400x400 and larger

Perfect for natural stone, porcelain and concrete

Joints 3mm and above

Patio and driveway use

Choice of colours: Natural Sand, Stone Grey & Basalt

GftK vdw 850

Ideal for professionals

Perfect for natural stone, porcelain and concrete

Joints 5mm and above

Patios, driveways and commercial use

Choice of colours: Natural Sand, Stone Grey & Basalt

In conclusion, there are several methods for jointing a patio, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. Traditional sand and cement pointing is a time-tested method that provides a durable and long-lasting joint. However, it can be time-consuming and challenging to get the mix right. Ready-mixed jointing compound offers a convenient and quick way to point your patio, but it can be more expensive and limited in colour options. Two-part epoxy jointing mortar is another alternative method that provides a strong and durable joint, but requires careful mixing and can be more expensive. If laying porcelain paving, read our guide: Best Outdoor Grout for Porcelain Tiles.

Ultimately, the best method for jointing your patio will depend on your specific needs and preferences. Consider factors such as cost, time, durability, colour options, and ease of installation before choosing a method. Whichever method you choose, proper installation is essential for a long-lasting and aesthetically pleasing finish. With the right technique and materials, you can enjoy a beautiful and functional patio for years to come.