Restoring an Old Crumbling Flagstone Walkway

Flagstone walkways, steps, and patios need occasional maintenance and repair to renew the cracking mortar caused by repeated freezing and thawing. Once the mortar is cracked, moisture can seep in, and if not properly maintained, continued cracking will occur.

If caught in time, repairing hairline cracks is not difficult. Unfortunately ours was neglected for years and needed more than a small repair. We needed a complete overhaul of our walkway, definitely a big job.

After considering various options, we decided to restore the walkway. The process will entail removing all the flagstone and mortar, digging up the concrete, laying new concrete, and setting the flagstone in cement.

Is this the most economical option? Yes and No. We consider this a long term economical solution. By reusing the existing stone and digging up the old concrete, we expect to get another 13 – 15 years use without major issues. The cheaper alternative to just replace the mortar will last only a few years – maybe a good short term solution if you are planning to sell your home? 😉

Full Video on Youtube

Would you like to see a video of how we restored the walkway? Check it out HERE. I also talk about how the walkway has held up 5 years later.

pKyv6nEIS+ueG%x82MxjqAAs you can see in some areas of the walkway, the flagstone has completely separated from the mortar.

jmGQJHKISmyIA6ZkqJIPBQThe mortar has crumbled so badly, the stones are loose and no longer connected to the cement base.

mehVQ1GcS4Cj3xXnoD9qRgSome areas of the walkway are in fair condition but over time will separate too, if not repaired now.

Y3nTv4lpTXCEgAKRlvcYVQThe process begins by removing the flagstones and the mortar.

1LqFbFTBSL+dXLume8VenAObviously, not all the flagstone comes up easily and many pieces are breaking in the process. Notice how the stones are laid to rest in the flower beds? Good call on deciding to replace all the bushes after this project. Notice how the deer enjoy dining on the shrubs?

ftB7EtKUSFusRNpacnEA1AThe first layer of stone and cement has been removed. Time to bring out the jack hammer to dig up the second layer of concrete.

8V%QLfaKQ1+9M43V35HK2wThe process is slow, the cement is thick and it’s really hot outside!

f31HnhzYRZyE62%P1PwBVwMost of the concrete has been dug up and is now a huge pile of rubble.

vEJrIVfqQs2pavKn2cjXQ.jpgThe flagstone is cleaned and laid back down in a time consuming process, many pieces need to be chiseled and recut.

APFQ7jhjQKeGijVGfxCkaA Working simultaneously, a new concrete base is mixed and applied to this area, while stones continue to be set on the front section of the walkway.

xKZAUOPMRVGhdil9GDkAGwFresh cement is mixed and laid down under each stone.

yy7JKne%SciWlhX4TqWRMwA fresh concrete base was laid but it was very hot today, looks like these guys left in a hurry!

wvqvgCI%QaWqU7mg2jdhVwA couple new pallets of flagstone were brought in to replace old and broken pieces that can not be reused.

h87nYeEcQSOnOiH5wIecVAThe new pallet brings in a variety of color to the walkway.

PlsrdEi2ShmWLzgbAf36OgThis large section near the front door is taking a long time to complete, almost a week.

7VafE%wZQ7exdnkf09KueAThis looks like a big puzzle, putting together so many pieces. Important to have skilled professionals to do the job right. Glad I’m not doing it.

VBMp%RwiQ0mV3kAvUtQ7sAThe mortar is mixed and a small section is applied.

yriQd0PTSoVqcG4HAEwStarting to look really good, almost complete.

yIZ5+f2HQ1OQFwIKB3IZ%wThe area off the mudroom is taking shape and looking nice.

EuGn3csgQqmSJY6U9YLfSQThe section off the front door is finally done.

EG4x75TxT4ySEYKGU+ztYwSo happy to have this project done.

vE7Gu4GlT+O%JOf%8pd8NgNext up, all new landscaping! Stay tuned!

fullsizeoutput_87edThe entire restoration process took 4 weeks to complete. We are happy with the results and believe we made the right decision to restore and reuse.

We need to allow the mortar to dry for at least a week, then the crew will come back to acid wash and seal the stone. They will also smooth out the sides of the walkway a bit more, giving them a crisper edge.

Have you had any major hardscape repair work done to your home?

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16 thoughts on “Restoring an Old Crumbling Flagstone Walkway

    1. Oh no, sorry to hear that. Maybe you can find a more cost effective alternative like pavers?

  1. Every month you guys are taking on new projects. Whew! I would be so overwhelmed haha. I love the new colors too by the way.

    1. I am a bit overwhelmed at the moment and the kids are home for the summer….not helping!!! UGH!

    1. Oh good! Make sure to get several quotes…prices do vary quite a bit! Hope it all works out!!

  2. Hi! We are building a house and are trying to decide on our porch flooring. What color and brand is your flagstone? It is so pretty!

    1. Hi Emilie, I have no idea. We reused the Gladstone that was already here and my installer brought in more, but don’t have the brand info. I suggest you go to a stone quarry or center and check out their supply. I know the ones around here have huge piles outside in their center from which to choose. Hope that helps!

    1. NO we did not seal the flagstone but we did seal our travertine pavers around the pool and pool house.

  3. looks gorgeous- we are re-doing a flagstone patio now, what color mortar did you use? That is exactly what we want! thanks so much

    1. Hi Denise, I don’t know the answer to your question. I had the walkway redone by a contractor and since we did not discuss mortar color I assume they went with the very basic and standard color.

  4. I love the color and texture of this flagstone. Do you know the type/name of flagstone that you used and where I can find it?

    1. Hi Ryan, I do not sorry. I relied upon my installers to get and match to our existing. But I’m guessing they went to a local quarry to purchase.

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