• In this video, This Old House landscape contractor Roger Cook helps a homeowner repair a cracked stone walkway.

    1. Pry up the walkway stones with a flat bar.
    2. Use a shovel to scrape all the existing sand from beneath the stones.
    3. Mix stone dust and water in a wheelbarrow to create a mortar setting bed.
    4. Shovel some stone-dust mortar onto the concrete base.
    5. Smooth the mortar with a pointed trowel.
    6. Set the new stone into place; add more mortar if the stone is too low.
    7. Using a rubber mallet, gently tap down the stone.
    8. Shovel more mortar onto the concrete base right beside the first stone.
    9. Tap down the second stone until it's flush with the first stone.
    10. If necessary, cut a stone slab to fit using either an angle grinder or circular saw fitted with a diamond-impregnated masonry blade.
    11. Set the remaining stones in a bed of stone-dust mortar.
    12. Clean the walkway surface of all wet mortar.
    13. Scrape the fresh mortar out from between the stone slabs with a steel stake or slotted screwdriver.
    14. Use a push broom to sweep polymeric sand across the surface, filling the joints between all the stone slabs.
    15. Sweep the surface clean of excess sand, then use a garden hose to mist the entire surface with water.
    16. Wait 15 minutes and spray the walkway again.
    17. If there isn't a concrete base under the walkway, remove the stones, dig out the topsoil, and then fill the area with stone dust.
    18. Compact the stone-dust base, then set 1½-inch-thick stone slabs.
    • 8 to 10 hours to install 120 to 160 square feet of stone
    • $8 to $10 per square foot
    • Difficulty: Moderate
      The stones are heavy to carry and set in place.
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      Video Directory

      Selected Topic/Section

      Tools List

      • flat prybar
        Flat bar, used to pry up broken stones
      • flat blade shovel
        Shovel, for removing the existing sand base
      • wheelbarrow
        Wheelbarrow, used to mix and transport material
      • mason's trowel
        Pointed trowel, for smoothing mortar
      • corner-bead crimping tool and rubber mallet
        Rubber mallet, for tapping down stones
      • four-foot level
        Level, used as a straightedge
      • angle grinder
        Angle grinder with diamond masonry blade, used to cut stone
      • circular saw
        Circular saw with diamond masonry blade and water pump, for cutting stone
      • hearing and eye protection
        Hearing protection and dust mask, used while cutting the stone
      • 11-inch steel punch
        Steel stake or slotted screwdriver, for scraping mortar from joints
      • push broom
        Push broom, used to sweep polymeric sand into joints
      • garden hose
        Garden hose with nozzle
      • tamper
        Hand tamper or plate compactor, for compacting stone dust

      Shopping List

      Bluestone slabs

      Stone dust, to be mixed with water to create a mortar setting bed

      Polymeric sand, for filling the joints between the stone slabs