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Slate is a durable natural stone very suited to paving and patios. Geologic processes and forces have taken millions of years to form this extremely dense natural stone.
One of the greatest advantages of slate paving is it is impervious to water penetration. This has historically led to slate being utilised for damp proof courses and roofing materials.
Being a metamorphic rock its strata has been compressed within a linear grain. This makes it easy to split into flat sheets perfect for surfacing materials. Furthermore, slates natural smoothness makes it look extremely contemporary.
This is especially so with slate paving with darker shades of grey and black. These bold colours can create fantastic contrasts with surrounding landscaping such as walls and lawns. Consequently, I will investigate how much the average slate patio costs in the UK.
In this article our case study found that:
The average cost of Slate paving installation in the UK is £142.74 per m2
The average cost of Slate paving installation in the UK 'labour only' is £65.00 per m2
The average cost of Slate paving in the UK 'materials only' including waste is £77.74 per m2
Below will list and summarise the variables as well as conduct a 50 square metre slate patio case study. If you want to know how much a slate patio costs, you have come to the right place!
Are slate patios expensive?
Like any heavy construction slate paving is expensive due to cost of heavy building materials, waste disposal and skilled, labour.
Landscaping and paving companies also have to factor in more risk than other trades. A week of bad weather can destroy any hope of staying on schedule or making profit.
Therefore the profit and risk margin on paving projects is typically sizable.
One of our slate patio projects in Chesham, Buckinghamshire
Slate patios are also expensive because most developed economies have huge skills shortages. For years western countries have focused the education system around academic subjects.
The media have portrayed builders and other trades as from lower social classes. This has led to a serious decline in recruitment for physical trades.
Consequently labour rates for trade’s people have risen significantly in the past decade.
It’s surprising how many tons of heavy materials need to be shifted to correctly build a patio. Patio materials such as paving, sand, cement and sub-base aggregates are heavy and expensive.
Not only are they expensive to buy they require strong labour to move them around. When assessing slate paving quotations it is good to ask for a detailed works description.
This way you know exactly what you are paying for with no scrimping on base-work. On average slate paving is around £50 per square metre to buy with delivery.
Another cost when building a slate patio is removing waste from site. This normally comes in the form of excavated, soft, ground.
To build a patio correctly you will need to remove this soft topsoil layer. Excavating a depth of 150mm will allow you to install a robust and well compacted sub-base. Soil dig out will typically be removed from site by grabs and skips.
For many decades there have been a declining number of young people learning skilled trades. This has led to one of the biggest construction skills shortages in history.
Education systems have focused too much on academic studies which do not suit all students’ abilities. The result has been a dramatic rise in the cost of skilled labour.
Very often, clients assume that manual workers will be cheap. However this is certainly not the case anymore!
One of our Slate patio projects in Harrow, Greater London
The amount patio builders charge varies greatly upon different variables. The first being geography, in the UK the highest labour rates will be found in London.
However in regions with less wealth and demand rates will be lower. Supply and demand will also play a part in what you pay.
Contractors with great reputations can be booked up months in advance! Such tradesmen can command higher day rates.
One of our slate patio and landscaping projects in Watford, Hertfordshire
However, careless contractors who are difficult to deal with will have less demand. Therefore they will normally have to charge less.
There are always exceptions to the rule but on the whole this scenario is true. Patio layers can earn anywhere from £150 - £350 depending upon location, reputation, efficiency and client base.
However, the most typical rate I see for good self employed contractors is £250 per day.
A price case study for a 50 square metre Patio
Not all slate paving quotations are the same; many clients think a cheap quotation is ‘good value’. However, a cheap quotation usually means scrimping on essential sub-base materials and specification.
Consequently, I have listed a works description of what is being priced for within the case study below:
Table costs based upon a 50 square metre slate patio
Extra costs for slate patios
Very often with patio projects there can be extra costs and sub-projects other than the paving itself. These can include re-levelling, clearances, drainage, drain covers, retaining features and steps. Such extras can add extra cost to the standard laying of the paving.
It is not unusual for a new patio to fall upon an existing drain or inspection cover. These typically will add extra cost to your patio.
The effect on price will depend on the level of extra work needed. Normally new patios will have a change in level from the existing surface. This means a new cover will have to be set flush with the new patio.
It is normal to install a recessed paving cover so you do not notice it. These do take a little time and skilled cutting to install correctly.
The average manhole cover installed to a new patio can cost between £150-£300 including materials and labour. If you wish to install a recess manhole yourself why not read our step by step guide.
One of our recessed manholes using slate in Buckinghamshire
A very important consideration of a new patio is implementing a drainage strategy. This is because it is very common for new paving to accelerate storm water runoff.
Consequently, it is a good Idea to add patio drainage to eliminate the risk of flooding. New patios are not allowed to discharge runoff into the existing drainage network. Therefore you need to give water somewhere to drain so it can be absorbed by the ground.
The most typical way of doing this is by excavating and installing a soakaway. A series of grated channel drains can then be laid within the paving to capture the water.
This can then be plumbed into the drainage soakaway. It is very difficult to guess the cost of patio drainage as there are many variables.
However for a 50 square meter patio with drainage gulley’s plumbed into a soak-away would cost around £2,000.00
It is very common for a new patio to be an uncomfortable height from your door ledge. Therefore installing a patio step is quite a common occurrence.
The size and complexity of your steps will depend upon your specific situation. However, a single step up is the most common type of patio step.
Such a step the size of two regular slabs would normally cost around £250 to install.
One of the largest hidden costs of a new patio is level changes. If your existing site is particularly uneven or sloping you may need to install retaining walls.
Such structures require excavation to the correct specification to prevent subsidence. The cost of retaining structures will vary depending upon your specific project. However, these will usually require excavation, concrete foundations and the building of retaining walls.
Retaining walls have to be built strong and robust to retain heavy loads. This requires large quantities of materials and costly, skilled labour to execute. It is impossible to provide a rough cost for retaining features as there are so many site variations.
However, I have written some costing guides for garden levelling and retaining walls below.
How much does a garden retaining wall cost?
How much does it cost to level a garden?
One of the unforeseen consequences of building a new patio is the mess it creates. Many go to the trouble of installing paving and end up destroy the lawn in the process!
There will normally be a need for making good around the new patio and marrying in levels. However a competent contractor would have factored this in to their original budget.
Thank you for reading our article on how much does a slate patio cost. If require patio or paving services please do not hesitate to contact us. Below I will link to some other relevant articles you may find informative.
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