Setting the Slate Once the groundwork is complete, start setting the panels (photo 1). Use the rubber spacers provided to maintain a consistent 3/8-in. space between panels. If a panel must be trimmed, you can cut it to size using a circular saw fitted with a silicon-carbide abrasive blade. Slowly advance the saw across the panel, cutting through both the slate and polystyrene (photo 2). After setting all the panels, pull out the spacers and use a putty knife to push 1/2-in.-dia. foam backer rod between the panels (photo 3). The rod should be 1/4 in. down from the surface of the slate. Then use a caulk gun to fill the joints with the traffic-grade sealant (photo 4). The sealant is self-leveling, so there's no need to smooth it out. Let the sealant cure overnight. Finish off by removing the 1x3 stakes and backfill around the frame with soil and bark mulch. Then enjoy your new patio as you impress your friends with all the "backbreaking" work you put into it. Where To Find It: Vermont Natural Stoneworks
Depot St., Box 275, Dept. TH698, Fair Haven, VT 05743
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