1. Cement Mixer for laying the stone in concrete. If you have a small job, you can mix it with a wheel barrel and a hoe. You need 1/2" of Portland Cement under the stone. You can rent the mixer from most rental shops.
2. Transit, Line Level, or a Long and Straight 2x4 for determining the fall of your project. You need a fall in order for the water to drain off. THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT TASK: MAKING SURE THE WATER DRAINS OFF!
3. Sponge and Bucket of water for washing the stone, because you will always spill some concrete on the stone. The stone must stay clean otherwise you'll have to use a steel brush on Day 4 and that is no fun!
You can see in the picture stone laid in fresh Portland Cement, but we give the stone a quick sponging, so there is no concrete on the stone. We use rubber gloves, but that is optional. My nephew doesn't like rubber gloves, but his hands aren't as nice as mine!!
4. Pick, Tuck Pointer, or something small and sharp to pry the stone up in order to be able to lift the stone up. You'll be lifting the stone up in order to put cement under the stone.
5. Trowel in order to spread the cement under the stone. You need cement spread all under the stone for better stability.
6. Shovel for taking the mortar from the wheel barrel and putting under the stone while somebody is holding the stone up.
7. Jug of Water for putting water under the stone on the concrete. We do that because the concrete will stick better to the stone and foundation. It also causes the concrete to dry longer and that makes the concrete set up stronger.
We just use an old orange juice jug for putting water on the foundation.
8. Masonry Sand for mixing the cement.
9. Portland Concrete Type I-II.
Here is the Masonry Sand and Portland Concrete you will use for putting cement under the stone. You can get the Sand and Portland from a Building- Supplies Store.
10. 1 or 2 Five-Gallon Buckets of water for mixing the cement.
11. A Level for making sure each stone is falling.
12. A Line in order to make sure the fall is happening with your flagstone project.
13. Plastic Mallet for tapping the stone down. Don't use a normal hammer, because you could bust a stone.
14. Wheel Barrel for transporting the cement from the mixer to the project.
For Day Two it is best if you can have three people working.
We always have one person laying the stone, Hans, one person shoveling the stone, David, and one person mixing the cement, Garret, our nephew. You can definately do it with one or two people, but it naturally takes more time.
You can determine the fall with a transit.
If you don't have a transit or don't want to rent one, that's ok! You can buy a little line level to put on your line. A line level should be a few bucks from a hardware store.
You could also buy a straight 2x4 about 12' long, or the distance of your project, and measure the fall by placing a level on top of the 2x4.
You need to measure in four places.
Let's say you are laying a patio next to a house. You should measure two stones next to the house and two stones at the end of the patio. The two stones next to the house will be level. The two stones at the end of the patio will have the same amount of fall from the house, so that the water will drain equally along the patio.
Make sure that none of the stones, between the stones next to the house and at the end of the patio, are higher. If you run a line from the house to the end of the patio, then there needs to be space between the stone and line.
make sure there is enough space between the stone and line or 2x4 if that's what you are using.
We always have a line from the end of the patio to the stone that we are laying in order to make sure the patio is falling. We also check each stone with a level.
ALWAYS make sure there is a FALL!
We only use Portland Cement with flagstone. Don't use Masonry!
The mix should be 2 1/2 shovels of Masonry Sand to 1 shovel of Portland Cement. If you want, you can make it a little stonger, but not too much. If you have too much Portland, it could cause the joints between the stone to crack.
You want the cement fairly dry. Not as dry as Day Three, with tucking the cement in, but a little more dry than cement you use to lay bricks.
Now it's time to lay the patio in cement one stone at a time.
You already have your lay out (From Day One).
It helps to have a tuck pointer, pick or some type of sharp object to pry the stone up. Usually one person can do it, unless you have a big stone.
A little trick we picked up through the years is pouring some water on the foundation before setting each stone. After lifting a stone up, just pour a little water on the foundation.
It helps make the cement stronger for two reasons:
the cement dries longer and,
it helps make the cement stick better to the stone and foundation.
Make sure you sponge the stones lightly. (I mean really lightly, because you don't want to shift the stones after they have been laid. They could settle down and then you'll have water standing there.)
You want to make sure the cement comes off the stone. If the sponge is fairly wet, you won't have a problem with shifting the stone.
If you don't sponge, then you'll have cement stains on the stone and you'll have to use a steel brush to get the stains off. That is no fun! I've done that too many times in my life.
Just keep laying one stone after another. You really want to finish the whole patio in one day. If you do it in two days, you'll have cement run off from laid stones and it makes setting dry stones difficult due to dry concrete.
Just get it done in one Day is the best advice.
Let the stone set in cement overnight. The stone will be hard and you won't have any problems walking over your project.
Let's move on to Day Three.