There are different ways to install natural stone paving and different people will swear by different methods. However there is one installation method of natural stone which anyone with any experience will tell you is simply incorrect. The method in question is the spot method, also known as the dab method. The dab method is a prehistoric method of paving installation which entails 5 spots of mortar being used with which to bed a slab on. The method is dying out now but is still practiced in certain circles by a certain type of person (the sort of people you may encounter on cowboy builders and watchdog). If you see your contractor attempting to lay your natural stone paving patio using the spot method you should immediately call for the local sheriff and tell him that the cowboys are back in town. The blog is a bit light hearten but there is a serious subject lurking beneath. A professionally installed natural stone patio should last until you decide that you want to replace it. A patio installed on the spot method will last no more than a couple of years. Within 6 months the occasional paver will come loose and begin to rock when walked on. This movement will then cause further slabs to come loose and begin to rock. The rocking will then cause the pointing in between the slabs to come loose which will in turn free the slabs to move further. Within 18 months the whole patio will be rocking and all the pointing will be loose and flaking away.
We recently supplied 200m2 of Sawn Paving to a project in Wiltshire and we received a call from the client saying that the paving we had supplied was coming loose. I was surprised to hear this because the product in question, Harvest Sawn Sandstone Paving is quite porous and usually bonds very easily. I decided to make a site visit to see for myself what was causing the problem and when I got there I was amazed to see that the builders had laid premium quality sawn sandstone paving on spots of mortar. Even after a few days there were lots of slabs loose.