Steps // How to Build a Bluestone Walkway
1 ×

Overview

 
Step One // How to Build a Bluestone Walkway

Overview

illustration of bluestone walkway process
Illustration by Gregory Nemec

A walkway made of natural bluestone is a surefire way to enhance a home’s curb appeal. This walkway rests on a layer of compacted stone dust and crushed stone that won’t heave when the ground freezes. And joints between the stones are filled with hardened polymeric sand, which prevents ants from nesting underneath and weeds from growing through.

Day-to-Day Timeline
SATURDAY:
Demo and lay the base (Steps 2-9)
SUNDAY: Set the pavers and fill the joints (Steps 10-16)

 
2 ×

Demolish the Old Walkway

 
Step Two // How to Build a Bluestone Walkway

Demolish the Old Walkway

Roger Cook uses a jackhammer to rip up an old stone walkway
Photo by Anthony Tieuli

Stones set in sand or soil can be pried up with a wrecking bar. Stones set in concrete, like most of these were, require a jackhammer, or breaker, to bust the walkway into manageable sections. Dispose of the debris in a bag-style waste container or haul it to a concrete recycler.

 
3 ×

Establish the Edge

 
Step Three // How to Build a Bluestone Walkway

Establish the Edge

Roger Cook uses mason line and stakes to establish the edge
Photo by Anthony Tieuli

Drive a stake into the ground next to the stoop at the foundation and tie a mason line to it. Stretch the line to the curb. When the line touches the side of the stoop,
sink a second stake at the curb and tie the mason line around it, as shown. Now, every few feet along the line, take a perpendicular measurement off it that’s equal to the width of the stoop plus 6 inches and mark the ground with marking paint. Do the same on the opposite side of the line, 6 inches off the line. These paint marks define the area to be excavated. As Roger says, “You don’t want to do any more digging than you have to.”

 
4 ×

Excavate Down to Subsoil

 
Step Four // How to Build a Bluestone Walkway

Excavate Down to Subsoil

Roger Cook levels out the subsoil with a steel rake
Photo by Anthony Tieuli

Remove the mason line. Use a shovel to dig out all the grass and loam between the paint lines. Pull out any large rocks or roots, too. When you reach the subsoil, usually 6 to 8 inches below grade, use a steel rake to level it out, and create a flat-bottomed trench, as shown.

Tip: Bury a length of 4-inch-diameter PVC pipe under the walkway subsoil to act as a sleeve for irrigation pipes or landscape lighting wires that might be installed in the future.

 
5 ×

Compact the Subsoil

 
Step Five // How to Build a Bluestone Walkway

Compact the Subsoil

Roger Cook uses a plate compactor to compact the subsoil
Photo by Anthony Tieuli

Wearing hearing protection, firm up the subsoil by going over it with a plate compactor. It’s the first step toward preventing the walkway from settling over time.

 
6 ×

Add the Base

 
Step Six // How to Build a Bluestone Walkway

Add the Base

using a chisel to chip concrete base to keep the bluestone walkway edge straight
Photo by Anthony Tieuli

Dump 2 to 3 inches of paver base—a mix of stone dust and -inch stone—on top of the subsoil, then rake it smooth. Mist the base with water to keep the dust down, then run the plate compactor over the walkway until it hardens. Repeat the process by adding and compacting another 2-inch-thick layer of the base. Use a hand tamper in spots the plate compactor can’t reach. Now restring two mason lines on both sides of the walkway. Make the ends nearest the house exactly 7 inches below the top of the stoop’s bottom tread and the ends nearest the street even with the height of the curb or sidewalk. Use the 3-4-5 rule to square both lines to the stoop’s tread. The top edges of the pavers will be even with those lines. Add and compact more paver base until the top of the base is 3 inches below the lines. Finally, use a brick set and drilling hammer to chip away any concrete on the face of the stoop’s riser to keep a narrow gap between the stoop and the bluestone.

 
7 ×

Spread the Setting Mix

 
Step Seven // How to Build a Bluestone Walkway

Spread the Setting Mix

Roger Cook spreads the cement mix for the bluestone walkway base
Photo by Anthony Tieuli

In a wheelbarrow, mix 12 parts stone dust to 1 part portland cement. Add water until the mix is the consistency of wet sand. Starting in the corner against the stoop, add enough mix to support the first paver, about 2–3 shovelfuls. Trowel it smooth, as shown.

 
8 ×

Set the First Stone

 
Step Eight // How to Build a Bluestone Walkway

Set the First Stone

pounding the fist bluestone paver in place with a rubber mallet for a bluestone walkway
Photo by Anthony Tieuli

Line up the edge of the first paver with the mason line and check the vertical gap between that edge and the line. If the paver is low, tip it up and add more mix. If the paver is too high, remove some mix with a trowel. Then replace the stone and set it with firm whacks from a rubber mallet, as shown, until the stone and the line align.

 
9 ×

Finish the Course

 
Step Nine // How to Build a Bluestone Walkway

Finish the Course

Roger Cook clears the bluestone walkway base with a trowel before placing the next stone
Photo by Anthony Tieuli

Before placing the next paver, use a trowel to clear any mix that built up next to the edge of the paver, as shown. Set the adjacent paver the same way as the previous step, leaving a  inch joint between the two. As you go, use a level to check that the stones are even with each other and level across the width of the walk.

 
10 ×

Start the Second Course

 
Step Ten // How to Build a Bluestone Walkway

Start the Second Course

laying the second course of pavers for a bluestone walkway and checking alignment with a 4-foot level
Photo by Anthony Tieuli

Set the first stone of the second course the same way as the first paver. Make sure your pattern staggers the joints between courses by at least 4 inches. Use a level to check paver alignment between courses, as shown.

 
11 ×

Lay the Rest of the Walkway

 
Step Eleven // How to Build a Bluestone Walkway

Lay the Rest of the Walkway

Roger Cook lays the rest of the bluestone walkway pavers
Photo by Anthony Tieuli

Continue to add setting mix, and to pound and adjust the remaining pavers. In spots, Roger inserts wood shims to maintain consistent joint spacing.

 
12 ×

Cut to Fit

 
Step Twelve // How to Build a Bluestone Walkway

Cut to Fit

cutting a bluestone paver with a concrete saw
Photo by Anthony Tieuli

If a paver needs a trim, mark the cutline with a wax pencil. Don goggles and hearing and lung protection, then use a concrete saw to lightly score the stone in the first pass. Cut through the paver on the second pass.

 
13 ×

Clean the Joints

 
Step Thirteen // How to Build a Bluestone Walkway

Clean the Joints

sweeping the bluestone walkway joints with a push broom
Photo by Anthony Tieuli

Wait for 3 or 4 days without rain so the walkway is perfectly dry. If no rain is forecast for the next 24 hours, clean out the joints with a broom, as shown.

 
14 ×

Pour the Sand

 
Step Fourteen // How to Build a Bluestone Walkway

Pour the Sand

Roger Cook pours polymeric sand to fill the bluestone walkway joints
Photo by Anthony Tieuli

Overfill all the joints.

 
15 ×

Broom the Joints

 
Step Fifteen // How to Build a Bluestone Walkway

Broom the Joints

sweeping polymeric sand into the joints of the bluestone walkway and off of the paver surface
Photo by Anthony Tieuli

Sweep sand into the joints until it’s 1⁄8 inch below the walkway surface. Then give it a final cleaning with a leaf blower set on low. Clean is critical: Any sand left on
top of the stones will stick there permanently once it gets wet.

 
16 ×

Wet the Joints

 
Step Sixteen // How to Build a Bluestone Walkway

Wet the Joints

Roger Cook uses a hose with a spray nozzle to mist the finished bluestone walkway
Photo by Anthony Tieuli

Mist the entire walkway with a gentle back- and-forth motion. Check to see that the water is soaking into the sand, then repeat the misting until the water stops penetrating. Stay off the walkway for 24 hours, until the joints cure.

 

Shop Related Products

$34.27 $39.99 prime

$10.85 $12.99 prime

$10.84 $12.95 prime

$5.45 $6.92

$69.00 $69.00 prime

$9.88 $31.98 prime

$23.94 $29.99 prime

$34.95 $34.95 prime
 

Sponsored Stories

TV Listings

Find TV listings for - saboteamos.info and Ask - saboteamos.info in your area.