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How to repoint a patio
by
Checkatrade

Our gardens have become incredibly important over the last year or so. Whether it’s hosting family reunions in the summer or catch-ups around the fire pit in the winter, our gardens have become our safe sanctuary. However, if your patio slabs are uneven and not looking their best, then your outdoor entertaining area is not going to be inviting. Whether the issue is erosion, ground movement, or physical damage, then repointing your patio could be a great solution.

Here we show you how to repoint your paving slabs, which involves removing and refilling the cement joints of the slab.

As this task is time-consuming and involves you using sharp tools, you may prefer to find a landscaper who can do the job quickly, safely and easily.

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How to repoint paving slabsHow to repoint a patio - the best way to repoint a patio

The best way to repoint a patio

To avoid nasty accidents, especially with older people and young kids, it’s important to ensure your patio slabs are secure and evenly laid. Crumbling grout between the slabs will eventually lead to loose and uneven slabs that could cause trip hazards, as well as an untidy finish.

If you’re keen to repoint the grout between the paving slabs yourself to create a safe and neat finish, here are the tools you’ll need:

  •    A plugging chisel
  •   A lump hammer
  •   A bolster
  •   A brush
  •   A pointing trowel
  •   A hosepipe
  •   Patio pointing mix

Step one

Firstly, remove the old pointing with a sharp chisel from the joints so you can re-fill the area. This will be the most time-consuming part of the project. Using a plugging chisel, remove the old pointing in the hard to reach parts of the joints, such as the corners, and use the lump hammer and bolster to loosen the straight joints

Difficulties that may occur at this stage: Depending on the quality of the pointing, removing it may be difficult and could take longer than you thought it would. If you’re in a hurry to get it done, approach a seasoned pro who can get it done no time. 

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Step two

Once all the existing pointing has been removed, the next stage is to clean the joints thoroughly. We told you it was a time-consuming project!

Use a stiff-bristled brush for this job to ensure you get rid of all the loose debris. Then finally give the joints a rinse with a hose.

Step three

Now it’s time to fill in the joints. Common patio pointing mix is a dry mixture of cement and sand, which is left to harden between the joints. You can also buy a ready-made jointing compound mix consisting of resin or polymeric mortar for a durable modern finish.

It’s important to find the right pointing mixture for your patio style as there are quite a few different types of combinations of mortar.

Caution: If you don’t use the right mortar mixture it won’t stick to the patio slabs and it will crack. Then you’ll be paying a professional to come and sort it out. If you don’t want to want to risk making this mistake, seek help from an experienced landscaper.

If you’re confident you have the right mortar mixture for your patio slabs, start filling the joints using a pointing trowel to create a smooth surface. Then don’t walk on the patio until the pointing has slowly finished hardening.

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How do you fill gaps in paving?

If you only have a few small gaps in your paving and you don’t think you need to remove the entire pointing from the joints, use a stiff brush to remove loose debris from the crack or gap. Then fill the gap with dry pointing mix.

Be sure to use the correct pointing mix for your patio slabs or the gaps will simply reappear again.

Cost to repoint patio

Much like with brick walls, the mortar is removed from the space between the slabs. The space is cleaned and then it’s refilled with the mortar mix of your choice; whether that’s a dry mix, resin, or polymeric mortar.

As a general rule of thumb, repointing a patio costs around £10 – £20 per m2. For more information about how much this sort of project could set you back, read our repointing cost guide.

For an accurate cost, get quotes from at least three professionals. Post your job and we’ll find recommended local patio experts to get in touch with you.

How to repoint a patio with a dry mix

What is the best mix for pointing a patio?

The best pointing for your patio entirely depends on your type of slabs and how much you want to spend. If you’re unsure, seek the advice of an experienced landscaper.

A dry mix of sand and cement is the common and most cost-effective choice. You can opt for the more expensive but durable ready-mixed compound that just needs water mixed in.

Cautionary tip: Cement will stain your patio slabs if left on the surface. If you do get some on the face of the slabs, wash it off immediately.

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How to repoint stone paving

How to regrout a flagstone patio

Flagstones and other natural stone paving slabs give a patio an elegant, classic finish and should be finished using a similarly traditional technique. Portland cement mixture is a traditional mortar mixture consisting of limestone and clay.

The steps to regrout a flagstone patio:

Step one

Mix 3 parts sand to one part Portland cement. Slowly add water until your mortar mixture reaches a pasty consistency, similar to peanut butter.

Step two

If you want a super neat and tidy finish, and to avoid the cement touching the surface of the precious flagstones, use a grout bag for the application. Fill the grout bag with the Portland cement mixture and insert the nozzle into the gaps between the flagstones, squeezing and gently filling the joints for a smooth effect.

FAQs

Can I use sharp sand for pointing slabs?

It is possible to use coarser or sharp sand between the joints as dry grouting, but this can result in a rough-looking finish and won’t be as long-lasting as a dry mix or resin compound.

How long should patio pointing last?

If laid correctly, your patio and pointing should last an average of ten years. Before this time it’s unlikely to need any major repairs. If you’ve had your patio slabs less than ten years and they’re already showing significant damage, it’s probably best to get a professional opinion on what’s going wrong.

Why is my patio pointing cracking?

It could be many things. It could be that the pointing isn’t pushed down far enough, or that your slabs are loose and therefore causing the pointing to move and crack. It could also be that the slabs have been laid dry onto a sand base, which allows water and frost to penetrate, expanding under the slabs and cracking the pointing.

It would be worth reaching out to a patio expert and see what they have to say.

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