When it comes to curb appeal, the focus starts at your front door. Your front walkway should grab attention and catch the eye as it leads to your home. If you are not happy with the way your front walkway looks and it’s possible lack of curb appeal, you may want to dress it up with a new look using natural flagstones. You certainly could use pavers or other types of natural stone. We chose flagstone for our project because of the texture, earthy colors and the natural stone appearance.
The options for laying flagstone are usually in a bed of sand or in mortar. For our project we decided to lay the flagstone in a bed of mortar for a more permanent installation.
The walkway that we selected is a concrete walkway that goes from the front door, curves around and meets the driveway. In order to have the flagstone make a flush transition to the driveway, we would need to remove a portion of the existing concrete walkway. This added some extra steps to our project with the removal of the existing concrete and laying a new bed of concrete in it’s place.
Our project first began with proper measurements of the area to be covered and estimates of the materials that would be needed. The steps to compete the project are listed below:
- Measure the existing walkway to determine the estimated materials needed
- Remove and dispose of the existing concrete walkway
- Mix and pour a new bed of concrete as a new base
- Choose the flagstone
- Separate the flagstones by thickness and size for the project
- Lay the flagstone on the concrete base using thin set mortar
- Apply a sealer to the newly laid flagstone
- Grout the joints with the proper type of grout
- Final sealing of the grout and flagstone
The measurement of the area established that it was about 100 square feet and approximately 3-4″ deep. These measurements will help us to determine the materials that we would need to compete the project. the list of estimated materials is listed below:
- 1 Pallet of flagstone (about 1,900 lbs)
- 23 – 50 lb bags of Sakrete concrete mix
- 13 – 50 lb bags of Medium Bed Mortar
- 7 – 50 lb bags of thin set mortar
We chose Custom Building Products Natural Gray Saltillo Tile Grout as it is recommended for larger grout joints.
The project begins with the removal of a portion of the existing concrete walkway. We used a jack hammer to break up sections and then load them in the back of the truck to be hauled to the local transfer station for disposal. During the removal process, we found that a section of the concrete near the door had wire inside of the concrete. This made it almost impossible to break it up into chunks, so we decided to leave that section in tact. This added a new twist to the project as now we would need to create a slope from the higher area near the door to the lower area flush to the driveway. As with most projects, there are sometimes hidden surprises that need to be addressed. We can deal with this issue, it may just take a little more patience and planning to complete the project.
After we removed what we could of the concrete, we mixed and poured a new concrete bed from the section of existing concrete to the driveway. We created a slope in the concrete from the door to the driveway to help with our transition. We also used plastic garden edging to create a form on the outside of the walkway.
Once the concrete was cured, we began to mix up the thin set and lay the flagstone. We tried to use the thinnest pieces for the section near the door to control the overall height. We continued the tedious process of laying the flagstone, always keeping the height uniform and creating a gradual slope to the driveway.
After we finished laying the flagstone, we applied a sealer to the flagstone. The reason that we sealed the flagstone at this point is to protect the porous surface of the flagstone from the grout. this would make it easier to wipe down the flagstone during the grouting phase. this is a critical step, so please make sure not to forget to seal the flagstone.
When the sealer on the flagstone had cured, we began to grout the flagstone. This was also challenging because of the depth and width of the grout joints. But, the grout that we chose for the project worked great as it was designed for this type of installation.
We finished the project by sealing the flagstone and grout with a sealer and enhancer, to help bring out the natural colors of the stone.
This was a fairly large project which required proper planning, patience and the ability to deal with unforseen challenges. But, the end result makes it all your work and preparation worth while as you now have installed a new flagstone walkway.