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HomeBuildDoes A Patio Need To Be Level

Does A Patio Need To Be Level

What Are The Solutions For Existing Patios

How To Install A Flagstone Patio (Step-by-Step)

If you have an existing concrete patio that does not have a drainage system, its not too late to install one. Where the water tends to collect, cut out a sloping channel in the concrete to direct the water away, filling it with decorative stone or gravel.

Instead of gravel, you can also have a trench or channel drain made of metal installed. These drains are typically just a few inches wide and allow water to pass through, but keep out debris. They are installed flush with the surrounding patio so they won’t be a triping hazard.

A more radical yet effective solution is to reestablish the pitch of the patio slab by installing a cement-based overlay. On this project, the pitch of the patio was corrected by installing an overlay ranging from 4 inches down to under an inch. The overlay was placed in sections separated by integrally colored borders to add decorative interest and to eliminate the need for sawcuts.

E Surface Water Or Storm Water Drain

Normaly found in the back garden of most properties, This is the drain, or one of them, which takes the water from your gutters to the main drainage system.

When a patio is built in a garden consisting mostly of clay, where the surface water does not easily drain away, it is sometimes necessary to direct water from where it has run through a drain and into a surface water pipe.

This may seem like a great deal of work but it solves all of the drainage problems in a great many cases.

Drainage channel for draining a patio

Install Paver Bed Sand

Lay two lengths of one-inch PVC across the patio bed. Install one to two inches of concrete sand, coarse washed concrete sand, or granite stone dust, using the PVC as a guide for the amount of sand. Level the sand by pulling a straight 2 x 4 along the length of the PVC, a process called screeding. If you have maintained a slope and uniformity in your base, the sand will lay the same way.

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Correct Any Slope With Fill Dirt

If you are building on an area of your yard that slopes, or repairing a patio that settled poorly, you will need to first correct the slope. Depending on the severity of the slope, you may need a professional with heavy equipment who knows how to level a patio to do the job correctly.

To correct a slope, you will need to bring in fill dirt to fill in and build up low areas. Correcting a steep slope requires more fill dirt than a milder slope. Clean fill dirt, that is, dirt that is free of organic material, concrete chunks, and miscellaneous debris, is not terribly expensive. It will enable you to fill areas of erosion and stabilize the ground. The labor and heavy equipment needed to correct the slope will add more to the total cost than the cost of the dirt. Areas with deeper and large gradients require more re-sloping to create a flat area. As a rule of thumb, a hill with a gradient of 14% would likely cost twice as much to level as one with 7%. If the area is subject to significant erosion, it may require more grading to keep the soil in place. Each regrade can add cost to the original price.

Cutting Paving Slabs Using A Disc Cutter


There will be obstacles in the garden, like manholes and sheds, that you need to cut slabs round. This can easily be done with an angle grinder or disc cutter.

If you have only one patio to do, it would be more cost efficient to hire a cutter. If you have more to do, you can buy one.

Use a petrol 300mm disc cutter for ease

Please wear all the appropriate safety equipment when using an disc cutter and check to make sure you are using stone cutting discs, not metal.

It is a weird fact in the building world that a cutting disc that is used for cutting stone, can also be used for cutting metal, but a cutting discs for metal will not cut stone.

If you have a lot of slabs to cut it is really worth getting a diamond cutting disc as they are so much quicker and do not wear out. A diamond disc will come with a 300mm cutter if you hire one.

A hired petrol disc cutter will have a water feed to the wheel. This is to keep dust to a minimum and allow the blade to last a little longer by keeping it cool. This is now obligatory on diamond disc cutters

Diamond discs will cut patio slabs quickly

Patios do not have to be all on one level

When you have laid the patio to the end of the garden, see our foundations project, and also check out our laying bricks and blocks project and, additionally, our retaining wall project to finish it off and enjoy the summer.

All project content written and produced by Mike Edwards, founder of DIY Doctor and industry expert in building technology.

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Patio Foundations And Beds For Slabs

There is a lot of nonsense talked about on a lot of web sites about the construction of a patio and the hardcore bed it must be laid on. Not every pation need a hardcore or scalping base, it depends totally on your soil conditions.

If the earth in your garden is undisturbed, the odds are it has been there for many thousands of years. It certainly is not going to move anywhere just because you have laid a few paving slabs on it.

It may need levelling out a bit, and you will need to lay some weed fabric down before laying slabs, but it really is okay to lay slabs on undisturbed ground.

Always lay weed fabric under a patio

Building A Raised Patio With Retaining Wall

Building retaining walls for a raised patio begins with knowing the dimensions of your patio and where exactly your retaining wall should land to provide the layout for your pavers. If you are unconcerned about the final look in terms of cuts for your raised patio pavers, then you do not need to be as concerned about this. However, we measure the exact dimensions of our raised patio based on the pavers we are laying and where our final caps of our retaining wall will land and ensure our retaining wall is built according to this. You also want to ensure that you are hitting the exact elevation of the raised patio. We measure where we want that to be and prepare our first block course from this, understanding the height of our blocks, how many courses of block there will be, and the height of our caps as these are usually a different height compared to the wall blocks.

We use a string line to map this out and ensure our retaining wall is level and begin to screed and lay our base course. As we build up our retaining wall, we will add geogrid every 4 to 8. Uniaxial is a typical geogrid that is installed in our retaining walls. This provides strength in one direction. However, in a raised patio we want strength in both directions so we opt for a biaxial geogrid and install it throughout the entire raised patio. This helps to tie everything in together and stabilize the base material of our raised patio.

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Does A Hot Tub Have To Sit On Concrete

No is the short answer.

In fact, 2 of the 4 hot tubs I have owned were not placed on concrete, including the one I have now, which sits on my deck .

Concrete is, however, the most stable of the options. Its also easy to ensure that its level, and theres no denying its ability to support the weight of a large hot tub crammed full of people.

But if concrete is too expensive, or theres not an easy way to get a concrete truck to the area you want the hot tub in, here is what you need to consider:

  • Do not place the hot tub on grass or bare earth
  • You can place it on a level pad made of stone pavers
  • Get a spa pad made out of heavy-duty plastic.
  • Gravel beds are great for outdoor hot tubs. The gravel conforms to the hot tub base and will hold it in place.
  • I mentioned spa pads there, which you may not have heard of.

    Basically, those would take the place of pavers or concrete and are far less costly. You would start by using a shovel to get a patch of ground level. Then add fine gravel or sand and place the spa pad on top.

    It may be plastic, but it can take the weight! And unlike loading up 60 or so stone pavers into your car from Home Depot, these things only weigh 15 pounds total for an 8×8 pad, delivered to your door for free from Amazon!

    to see my pick on Amazon.

    As long as the surface is uniform, solid, level, and can support the weight of the hot tub, you have lots of options.

    Not sure how to calculate the weight of your hot tub?

    Fixing A Patio With An Improper Slope

    How to Build a Patio: DIY Paver Patio | The Home Depot

    If your patio has a problem with standing water, its possible you may have an improper slope.

    Dont worry just yet, several solutions are available to fix your problem. However, dont get your hopes up! Its very possible the only fix is to demolish the existing setup and start over. It boils down to how flat your current patio is.

    In a perfect world, your patio would have been constructed with ¼ inch of slope per foot of length. If this is not the case, it can cause terrible problems and possibly damage the foundation of your house.

    One way to correct this problem is by adding a drain.

    The drain should be placed close to where the standing water is collecting. You can mark this location and use a jackhammer to dig up the pavement. Once the concrete is removed, you will dig a trench until it can hold a two-inch layer of sand and the drain channel.

    The sand should be sloped away from the house at the rate of one inch per 20 feet. Once you lay the drain channel in the sand, you can cover the drain with a gate.

    Although you can add a drain to an improperly sloped patio, the best way to handle this is to make sure that the patio is sloped correctly when it is built. If you have a concrete pad for your patio, you can actually fix it.

    If there are no cracks in the concrete slab, you can pour concrete right over it and slope it properly. However, if you have pavers or stamped concrete, you might have a more difficult time.

    Read Also: How To Make A Stone Patio On Grass

    Patio Heater Versus Fire Pit: Which Is Better

    Technically speaking, a fire pit can be a kind of patio heater. However, many people want to weigh a typical fire pit against a patio heater when making a decision, as they serve different primary and aesthetic functions.

    Patio heaters are typically used only for heating. Fire pits may also be used as a light source or for cooking on.

    Preparing The Base For Your Raised Patio

    Preparing the base for any project begins with the subsoil. We need to ensure that we achieve proper compaction of the subgrade in order to move on to the base of our raised patio, especially if it was disturbed during the excavation process. With our clay soils, we typically will spread a thin layer of 3/4 angular clean stone or ASTM #57 with a dusting of Portland cement throughout the subsoil and compact it using a heavy reversible compactor or a ramming compactor. These two pieces of equipment provide sufficient compaction of clay subsoils. If your subsoil is sandy, you can use a plate or reversible compactor to achieve compaction. You do not want to over-compact, as this will decrease the water penetration of the subgrade. Two passes perpendicular to one another is generally good for this step with a minimally disturbed subgrade.

    The next step is to install the geotextile fabric. We typically install a woven geotextile, though in some cases we resort to a non-woven geotextile in our raised patio applications. Patios we always use a woven geotextile and retaining walls we always use a non-woven geotextile, but because a raised patio is constructed of both and integrated as one whole system that will have minimal water penetration in behind the retaining wall with proper drainage pipe installed, we are less concerned about using a non-woven geotextile in behind the wall of our raised patio.

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    What Does Level Really Mean

    There are three different elements to getting the patio levels right. The first is to make sure the area is flat that is to say that there are no raised edges between stones to trip people up. The second is to make sure it is level, as in all the flags are lined up with each other in the horizontal plane.

    And the third, although it seems contradictory, is to make sure the patio surface is not level. For Drainage Reasons you need to have a gradient, known in the trade as a fall, from one end of the patio to another. Usually, this slope will go away from the house, so that water isnt encouraged to pool next to it and cause damp problems. But in order to be able to make a fall that is not level, you need to know where the level is.

    How To Lay Out & Excavate A Patio Site

    DIY tips

    1. Lay out a rough project outline with a rope or hose. Use a carpenterâs square to set perpendicular lines. To create the actual layout, begin by driving wood stakes near each corner of the rough layout. The goal is to arrange the stakes so they are outside the actual project area, but in alignment with the borders of the project. Where possible, use two stakes set back 1 ft. from each corner, so strings intersect to mark each corner . Note: In projects built next to permanent structures, the structure will define one project side.

    2. Connect the stakes with masonâs strings. The strings should follow the actual project outlines. To make sure the strings are square, use the 3-4-5 triangle method: measure and mark points 3 ft. out from one corner along one string, and 4 ft. out along the intersecting string at the corner. Measure between the points, and adjust the positions of the strings until the distance between the points is exactly 5 ft. A helper will make this easier.

    3. Reset the stakes, if necessary, to conform to the positions of the squared strings. Check all corners with the 3-4-5 method, and adjust until the entire project area is exactly square. This can be a lengthy process with plenty of trial and error, but it is very important to the success of the project, especially if you plan to build on the concrete surface.

    8. Lay a subbase for the project . Pour a 5″-thick layer of gravel, and tamp until the gravel is even and compressed to 4″ in depth.

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    F Distance From House Wall

    We always start our patios 3 or 4 inches away from the house. We do this for two reasons.

    If there is a downpour and strong winds the water can splash against the house wall and with riven slabs especially, can form little pools in the sunken areas of the individual slabs.

    Leaving this gap, and filling it with Pea Shingle as shown, will allow any water to drain away down to the foundations of the house where it will not do any damage.

    Also, leaving this little trench can make it so much easier to hide reinforced electricity cables if you want to install outside lighting or pumps for fish ponds etc.

    Leveling Uneven Concrete Patios

    • Written by Emma McKie on Feb 06, 2010To ensure our content is always up-to-date with current information, best practices, and professional advice, articles are routinely reviewed by industry experts with years of hands-on experience.Reviewed by

    As concrete patios get older, they often begin to sink or crack. You may not need to replace the entire slab because there are a few different techniques available to help you level the surface again so that you have a patio to be proud of once more. You will be able to carry out some of the procedures yourself but may want to call in a professional company when specialized equipment is required.

    Slab Jacking

    Whether your whole concrete slab or only some sections have sunk, slab jacking is one option to repair the damage. It is recommended that you use a professional company to carry out this procedure as it needs specialist equipment and knowledge for the best results. A concrete mixture is pumped underneath the existing slab to raise it so that it is level.

    An advantage of this procedure is that it will also fill in any gaps under the concrete where sinking has not yet occurred and prevents water from pooling or running through the foundations. This reduces the odds of a similar problem occurring again.



    Once the surface has been prepared, mix a thin mortar, pour it onto the surface and level it carefully. After leaving it to cure for 30 minutes, use a trowel or brush to finish the surface.

    Extensive Veneering

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    Set Up The String Line

    Before you begin to lay the paving you need a reference point to get the surface of the paving at the correct height. Using pegs, the string and a spirit level or line level, set up a string which is level and runs precisely down the line you would like the edge of the paving to follow.

    Choose one fixed edge and a corner to use as the orientation for the paving. Lay down this edge first then go from there. If the paving is touching/near a house, use the house as the fixed edge.

    When laying, line up the edge of the paving so it is almost touching the string. Then use a spirit level to bring the rest of the paving to where it should be.


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