The winter frost can play havoc with the mortar between your patio slabs. Rather than waiting for the whole thing to need repointing it’s a simple task to remove and refill between the slabs using this simple, illustrated, step by step technique. It will save you money and a bigger job later.
A repair in time…
If you don’t repair broken and loose mortar between patio slabs in good time, further water and frost will penetrate and before you know it you’ll have wobbly slabs that need relaying.
This is a simple and quick job if done annually before things get too bad.
- Dust pan and soft brush
- Protective gloves
- Small paintbrush
- Tablespoon (no, honest)
- Patio weeding tool
- Pre-mixed sand and mortar
- Patio grout mix (alternative to the above)
Both the mortar and grout mix can be bought in small bags. Neither need to be mixed with water for this job.
Remove all the loose mortar and debris
I use a patio weeder for this as it slides easily between the slabs and can hook out any weeds that have taken root. Remove all the loose mortar in either direction and then finish off with the brush (and the paint brush) to get rid of any smaller debris and dust. Choose a dry, wind free day.
Fill the cracks
Make sure that the ready mixed sand and mortar (or patio grout mix) is well mixed. The contents tends to settle and separate in the bag. The tablespoon is useful for this. I also use the spoon to pour the mixture into the cracks. It’s easier to control (a shovel and even a trowel are a bit big for this job) and creates less waste.
Smooth down the mixture
If you’re doing a large area a soft bristle broom can do the job. Sweep the mixture into the cracks and remove any excess. But for small fills I use the hand brush and even the paintbrush to fill the space between the paving slabs. Don’t overfill and remove any loose mixture from the slabs themselves.
Pray for rain or…
What you then need is a little rain. The mixture will harden off and it’s a much easier way of doing things than trying to apply wet mortar. If it doesn’t rain in a day or so, use a watering can to gently wet the area.
If you’re using a self-hardening patio grout, check the instructions. Some ‘go off’ even without water and need to be kept dry when first applied.
Caution: Wash your hands well, don’t rub your eyes, don’t create too much dust and wear gloves. Don’t kneel on damp mortar as it can burn.