Can Paving Slabs Be Butted Together?

Paving slabs are a popular choice for outdoor surfaces due to their durability and aesthetic appeal. However, when it comes to installing these slabs, there’s a common question that arises: can paving slabs be butted together? This is important for several reasons. Firstly, it allows for natural expansion and contraction of the slabs in response to changes in temperature. Without this gap, the slabs may crack or spall, leading to costly repairs. Additionally, leaving a gap between the slabs allows for proper pointing, which is the process of filling the gaps with mortar or jointing compound to provide stability and prevent weed growth. In summary, while it may be tempting to butt paving slabs together for a seamless appearance, it’s essential to follow proper installation practices to ensure the longevity and functionality of your outdoor surface.

Should You Fill Gaps Between Slabs?

It can also help to prevent weeds from growing between the slabs, as well as keeping out insects and other unwanted pests. When done correctly, filling in the gaps between slabs can create a seamless and solid surface that’s both functional and visually appealing.

Different paving materials may require different methods of filling gaps. For example, if you’re using concrete slabs, you may need to mix a mortar or grout to fill in the gaps. On the other hand, if you’re using natural stone slabs, you may be able to use a more flexible filler such as sand or crushed stone.

Before filling in the gaps, it’s important to prepare the area by removing any debris or loose material. This will help to create a clean and level surface for filling in the gaps. You may also need to sweep or hose down the area to remove any dust or dirt that could interfere with the adhesion of the filler.

This may involve keeping the area damp or covered with plastic to prevent the filler from drying too quickly. Once fully cured, the filled gaps should be solid and stable, providing a clean and attractive finish to your paving project.

The gap between slabs is a crucial consideration when creating a walkable path or patio. Typically, a gap of around 4 inches is recommended, as it allows ample space for gravel or groundcover while maintaining a comfortable walking surface. However, the size of the slabs plays a role in determining the ideal gap, as smaller slabs may require a tighter spacing to ensure a visually pleasing and practical result. After all, nobody wants to resemble the Ministry of Silly Walks when navigating their outdoor space.

What Should the Gap Be Between Slabs?

When it comes to paving slabs, the question of how to space them is often a matter of personal preference and practicality. One common approach is to butt the slabs together, eliminating any gaps between them. This can create a sleek and seamless look, especially when using larger slabs. However, there are a few considerations to keep in mind.

The size of the gap will depend on the overall design and size of the slabs. For larger slabs, a wider gap of around 4 inches may work well, allowing for adequate expansion and providing a visible separation between the slabs. This wider gap can also accommodate a larger amount of gravel or groundcover, which can enhance the appearance and functionality of the paved area.

This ensures that the pathway or patio remains easily walkable without any awkward gaps or uneven surfaces. Keep in mind that the walking surface should be smooth and even to prevent tripping hazards, so a smaller gap is essential in this case.

Source: How to fill 2 inch gap between patio slabs

Polymeric sand is a popular choice for filling the joints between patio slabs. It consists of a fine sand combined with a small amount of cement, creating a sturdy material that forms a strong bond when exposed to water. This type of cement is commonly used in paving projects and provides a solid and durable surface for your patio.

What Kind of Cement Do You Use Between Patio Slabs?

In order to achieve a solid and durable joint between your patio slabs, it’s recommended to use polymeric sand. Polymeric sand is a specially formulated mixture of very fine sand and a small amount of cement. This combination forms a rigid jointing material that can withstand the elements and provides a stable foundation for your paving.

The use of polymeric sand offers several advantages. Firstly, it creates a strong bond between the individual slabs, preventing them from shifting or separating over time. This is particularly important for areas that experience heavy foot traffic or for driveways where vehicles may be parked.

Additionally, polymeric sand is resistant to water infiltration, which is a common issue with regular sand joints. When exposed to water, the sand in regular joints can be washed away, leading to gaps and instability in your patio.

Next, pour the sand onto the surface and sweep it into the joints, ensuring that they’re completely filled. Once filled, use a vibrating plate compactor to firmly compact the sand and embed it into the gaps.

Finally, it’s important to activate the polymeric sand by lightly misting it with water. This will initiate the chemical reaction that will harden the sand and create a solid joint. Follow the manufacturers instructions for the specific watering and drying times, as they may vary.

It provides stability, resistance to water infiltration, and enhances the overall durability of your paved area.


In conclusion, it’s essential to remember that paving slabs should never be butted together without leaving a gap between each slab. Neglecting to follow these guidelines can lead to spalling and other damages, which may ultimately compromise the longevity and aesthetics of the paved area. Therefore, it’s highly recommended to follow proper installation techniques and always leave a sufficient gap between paving slabs.

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