Forum: Tools and Plant
Topic: Reusable paving slab spacers
started by: paulbushen

Posted by paulbushen on 07 Aug. 2019,18:37
< paving slab spacers >
Anyone tried these ?

I thought about using GapFast Tees for my 75m2 patio - but that will cost 156

so 17.50 is obviously a nicer price :-)

Posted by Tony McC on 08 Aug. 2019,11:06
They are a variation on a theme - so many similar products out there, but these do look fairly good quality.

There are two main groups of paving spacers: those that stay in pace and are jointed over; and those that need to be retrieved. They each have their own pros and cons.

The 'stay in place' option are quick and simple, but they need to have the right construction so that they don't compromise the eventual jointing. The best of them (and I've yet to find any better than the < GapFast > yokes) are a high quality, strong plastic, hollow construction so the grout flows through them and leaves no void in the jointing.

The "retrieve" option are usually plastic, aluminium or steel, and just sit in the joint, poking up, waiting to be yanked out either just before or just after jointing is done. The biggest problem with these is the retrieval - if you try to get them out before the bedding has set, there's a risk of disturbing the paving, but if you leave them too long, there's a risk they'll become stuck ion the bedding mortar.

I've watched contractors with long poles playing a sort of fairground "Hook a Duck" game, trying to hoick a recalcitrant spacer out of a tight joint with some glorified bent-nail-onna-stick - rarely a good look!

Were I still contracting for a living, I'd probably use both (on the sort of jobs that actually need spacers) - horses for courses, as it were. The retrievable type are grand when you only need them in place for half-an-hour or so, but the 'stay in place' are much better (and worth the money) when used with paving where joint width consistency is critical.

We used them on a shopping mall job to which I was providing consultancy services recently - 4,000m posh smooth-ground concrete paving, but the joints *had* to be 5mm, and maintained at such for a week or so until the weather was fit to carry out the dry KDS jointing. Cost around 600 quid for the spacers, but that was money well spent when the paving was eventually jointed and it all looked perfect.

Posted by paulbushen on 13 Aug. 2019,23:18
Thanks Tony for such an informative reply. Many good points that I hadn't thought about and you've convinced me to get the gapfast.

Posted by Tony McC on 17 Aug. 2019,12:37
I want to add some of the comments made above to the Spacers page, but the main website is in 'lockdown' while all the content is being transferred to the new site, so it will have to go on my exceptionally lengthy "To Do" list.....
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