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Stonemarket Planning and Laying Guide


Planning Suggestions

  • Draw the area to be paved using graph paper. A scale of 1:50 will allow direct use of the drawings on pages 128-137.
  • Use dimensions that minimise cuts to paving. Paving surface must be at least 150mm below the damp course in any adjacent wall.
  • Provide a gradient of 1:40 or steeper, towards adequate drainage.

Paving Installation

  • This is heavy work, requiring specific skills, tools and experience.
  • Before starting, refer to suitable professional advice, publications or websites.
  • The following advice assumes you have acquired a basic knowledge of what is required, including health and safety precautions.


These depend on ground conditions and expected use.

  • For light pedestrian use on solid, even ground, 40mm compacted sharp sand may be adequate.
  • For less stable or wet ground, provide 100mm well compacted hardcore beneath the sand.
  • For domestic driveways, increase the hardcore depth to 150mm. For Paviors follow the Pavior Laying Guide; for Flagstones follow the section headed Driveways.

Paving Installation

  • Mark out the area and dig out to the required total depth.
  • Tap in wooden pegs to show the levels for the finished surface, including the required gradients.
  • Infill the appropriate foundations and remove the pegs before laying the paving.

For Rio Paving, Opera Paving and all Paviors, follow Pavior Laying Guide. For all other paving (including Rio and Opera if preferred), follow Paving Flag Laying Guide.

Paving Flag Laying Guide

Getting Ready

  • Avoid rubbing and damage to Flags by carefully stacking them on timber battens with spacers between them.
  • Select paving from different packs throughout the job, to blend colour shades.


  • Make up a slightly wet mortar mix of 1 part cement to 5 parts building sand.
  • A PVA, SBR or equivalent bonding agent can be added to the mortar to assist bonding, particularly with natural stones. Alternatively coat the back of each flag with neat wet cement and bonding additive just before laying.
  • You may also consider using an appropriate plasticiser additive in the mix.
  • Prepare a full bed of mortar ahead of each Flag, approximately 25mm thick, but allowing for the variation in thickness between Flags.
  • Tap the Flag down to the required level, using a rubber mallet.
  • If the Flag will not level with several gentle taps, lift it, adjust the level of the mortar bed and relay the Flag.
  • Keep checking levels and gradient across a numberofslabs.Stringlines can be helpful to define levels and lines within the laying pattern.
  • Maintain the correct joint width by gently shuffling with a trowel. Small pieces of timber are useful as temporary spacers.
  • If you need to cut Flags, a power tool with a suitable diamond tipped cutting disc will cut accurately through our products.

After Laying

  • Do not walk on the paving for at least 24 hours.
  • During wet or frosty weather, cover the paving for protection until mortar has cured.
  • Then point as soon as possible.


  • For most paving flags Stonemarket Fast Point Jointing system can be used where a minimum 10mm joint and 22mm thick paving units are being utilised. For thicker flags 25mm and over the width can be reduced to 8mm.
  • Alternatively, use a damp mortar mix of 1 part cement to 4 parts building sand.
  • Press firmly onto the joints to produce a dense, impervious surface that will drain water across the paving.
  • If mortar gets onto the faces of the Flags, clean off immediately using a damp sponge frequently rinsed in clean water.
  • Jointing sands and other pervious materials are not recommended except where paving is laid with minimal joints. Stonemarket will not accept responsibility for contaminations/ staining incurred from use of manufactured jointing compounds.
  • Where minimal joints are recommended, these should be 2-5mm and a good quality external grout should be considered.

Butt jointing is not recommended for any of our products.


Our Pavior ranges are specifically designed for high performance in areas used by domestic vehicles. However, many of our customers prefer the look of Flagstones and Millstone Flag, Trustone (Fieldland, Glenmoor and Fellstyle) and Vintage Stone Manor have been used successfully. Extra care with the foundations is essential. Lay the Flags directly onto a 100mm thick wet concrete bed (1:5 cement: sharp sand) on top of 150mm well compacted hardcore. Damage can be caused by heavy and four wheel drive vehicles, or by using power steering whilst stationery.

Specific Advice

  1. Trustone, Vintage Stone, Marketstone always lay larger face upwards.
  2. Natural stones particularly slates, Limestones and Granites. Coating the back of each Flag with neat wet cement and PVA additive just before laying, will assist bonding.
  3. Travertine, Truslategreen, Arctic Granite (except Midnight). These products sometimes absorb colour from Ordinary Portland Cement. We strongly recommend substituting White Cement in the mortar and adding a PVA, SBR or other bonding agent. Lay Arctic Granite with the textured slip resistant face upwards.
  4. Arctic Granite - Depending on site conditions, moisture transparency from the bed below is a natural characteristic of granite that can result in darkening and patchiness on installed product.
  5. Revolve Feature - This should be dry laid before final positioning on mortar bed, starting from the centre outward.
  6. Rio Paving - Not suitable for vehicles. Can be laid as per above guide or on a flexible bed, as per Pavior Laying Guide. Do not use a vibrator on top of the paving. Level off with a paver’s maul when laying on a flexible bed.
  7. Rio Smooth - Silicon is used as spacers during transportation. Small dark patches may occasionally result, be assured this is only a temporary weathering condition.
  8. Timberstone - Post/Sleeper combination if being used as a retaining wall may need a retaining skin, and when being used as a retaining bed/planter always have a waterproof skin.

Indoor Use

For indoor use, a coating is advised to reduce dusting and make cleaning easier.

Use Around Swimming Pools

Advice from Stonemarket should be sought about suitability for use of products around swimming pools.


Make sure paving is completely dry and free of efflorescence before applying any coating. Responsibility for the performance of any coating rests with the user and the manufacturer of the coating. Always read the instructions carefully and first test a small area for colour and slip resistance, wet and dry. For further advice refer to our sales office.

Pavior Laying Guide

For a comprehensive guide to installing PermeaPave we would strongly advise referring to the Stonemarket PermeaPave Technical Installation Guide, available by calling 024 7651 8700 or visit

Edge Restraint

  • Paviors must be surrounded by a firm edge restraint to stop the blocks and sand layer from creeping.
  • Kerbs are usually best, but walls, decorative edgings or the paviors themselves can also be used as restraints.
  • Lay the restraint on a concrete bed, haunching kerbs or edgings in concrete and allow to cure and strengthen before any vibration.


  • Screed out a layer of coarse concreting sand to a depth of 35mm on the excavated area and within the edging.
  • Compact the sand with a plate vibrator.
  • Add more sand and screed off to give a firmly compacted thickness of 50mm (One tonne of sand covers about 8m2).


  • Start from a corner or long edge and proceed along one laying face. Place individual blocks vertically onto the sand bed according to the pattern.
  • It is important to mix blocks from at least 3 packs to achieve a good blend of shades.
  • Use stringlines and adjust the width of joints to within 2-5mm to ensure the lines in the pattern remain straight.


  • To fill gaps along edges, cut the blocks using a hammer and bolster chisel.
  • For a lot of cutting, use a mechanical block splitter or power cutter with an appropriate blade.
  • Avoid cutting and laying blocks less than a quarter of their original size.


  • Using a stiff broom, brush bedding course sand over the paviors to partially fill the joints and ensure stability during initial vibration.
  • After ensuring the surface is clean, vibrate the paving to settle the sand in the joints.
  • Avoid cutting and laying blocks less than a quarter of their original size.Top up the joints with our Pavior Jointing Sand. Sweep the surface and then pass the vibrator over the whole area several times to level the paviors.
  • Brush more Pavior Jointing Sand over the area to ensure all joints are topped up and make one more pass with the vibrator. The paving is then ready for immediate use.

Specific Advice

  • Pennon Paviors, Elemental Paviors, Unity Paviors, Rio Paviros
    • We recommend using a rubber mat when vibrating to protect undulating surfaces.
  • Trustone Paviors, Elemental Paviors
    • Please refer to our installation recommendations for laying on a flexible bed with spacers. For certain driveway installations laying on a mortar bed may be more appropiate. See our website for more information.

Wall Building Guide

Key points before you start:

  • Get professional advice if you are in any doubt, particularly with walls over 1.5m high and complex or stress carrying structures.
  • Plan the wall and draw a design; this helps with calculating quantities and makes building quicker.
  • Get the right tools; spade, concrete mixer, trowel, spirit level, club hammer, 60-120mm bolster chisel, stringline and pointing tool.

A firm foundation is essential

  • Walls need a concrete foundation three times wider than the thickness of the wall. Its depth should be at least 100mm with the base 300mm below ground level.
  • For walls over 1m high the foundation base depth should be one third of the height of the wall above ground.


  • Single skin walls 100mm thick should not be higher than 1m and need 215mm square piers every 2m.
  • Walls over one metre high should be double skin construction, with the two skins tied together and should have support pillars at least every 3m.
  • All walls need provision for expansion and contraction about every 6m.
  • Protect the top of the wall with copings and pier caps or suitably sized paving slabs.

Bricklaying, Mortar and Joints

  • Use normal bricklaying techniques including damp proof courses where appropriate.
  • Mortar should be 1 part masonry cement to 4 parts soft bricklayers sand.
  • Mix bricks/blocks from different packs to ensure a blend of shades. If using just one pack, select from the top down.
  • With raised planters and retaining walls, leave some vertical joints un-mortared for drainage.
  • Raised pools require a waterproof liner and a design that will support the weight of water.

Rio Walling

  • Whilst Rio Walling can be built using normal mortar we recommend the use of M-Fix walling adhesive.

Millstone Walling

  • Blocks are faced on one side and both ends.
  • Use almost equal quantities of all six block sizes to create an authentic antique look. One block of each size will build 0.19 sq. m. of single skin wall.
  • N.B. Block lengths are in the ratio of 1: 11⁄4: 11⁄2. A 215mm block used to tie the skins together provides a half module and the appearance of a fourth length.
  • Lay in random courses using blocks of different lengths but the same height in each course.
  • Use 10mm mortar joints and bond the blocks by staggering vertical joints.
  • Alternate course heights of 65mm and 140mm, though not strictly.
  • To avoid a top heavy look, place extra 140mm courses near the base and extra 65mm courses near the top.
  • For added interest, Cottage Garden Bricks may be substituted for 215 x 65mm blocks.

Avant-garde Walling

  • Whilst Avant-garde Walling can be built using normal mortar we recommend the use of M-Fix walling adhesive.

Vintage Stone Walling

  • Before commencing to build, blocks should be sorted to enable blocks of similar height to be laid in the same course.
  • As Vintage Stone is a natural stone product, block height can vary. The ends of the blocks are dressed at an angle.

Carluke Walling

  • Each block is faced on a minimum of one length and one end.
  • After the wall is built and the mortar has set firm, clean the blocks with a hose to reveal the full colour.

Cotstone Walling

  • Carefully mix the various profiles.
  • Rake out mortar joints to same depth as the moulded joints to achieve the appearance of continuous random natural stone.

Yorkstone Walling

  • Walls up to 12 courses high that are not subject to load can be built semi-dry by using dabs of mortar within the indentations on top of each block.
  • Walls over 12 courses high should have full mortar joints and normal construction techniques.

Health and Safety

Mixing Mortar

Dry or damp cement and wet concrete or mortar can cause irritation and burns to the eyes and skin. Suitable eye protection and PVC gloves should be worn. If contact with the eyes or skin occurs, irrigate or wash off with plenty of water. If irritation or burning persists, seek immediate medical attention.


Using high speed cutters on concrete and stone products produces dust. If inhaled in excessive amounts over a long period this may cause long- term health problems. Suitable safety goggles and a dust mask should be worn.

Manual Handling

Most of our products are abrasive and heavy, some are very heavy. Appropriate handling precautions include wearing protective gloves and footwear and obtaining assistance when moving items weighing over 20kg.

Safety Data Sheets

Available by calling 024 7651 8700 or by visiting


  • Keep pavior joints well filled with Pavior Jointing Sand.
  • Pressure washers and chemical cleaners are not recommended on any of our products particularly reconstituted stone, natural limestone and Arctic Granite Midnight.
  • To clean, wet thoroughly with lukewarm soapy water and use a stiff hard broom.
  • Never use common salt to de-ice reconstituted stone or limestone. Alternative products are available, specially formulated for this purpose.
  • Light coloured natural stone and concrete blocks, whilst structurally sound for use on driveways, may emphasize tyre marks and oil spills on the driveway and may require more maintenance to maintain appearance.