Blog and frequently asked questions

Building and landscaping jargon

“Jargon: special words or expressions used by a profession or group that are difficult to other to understand.”

We all experience this at times.  Usually when we start to research or learn something new. Words and expressions, nick names and slang can be confusing and make thing unclear.

We have broken down the most common (and some uncommon) jargon and slang found in the service we provide.

Muck: Mortar:  a sand and cement mix used to lay bricks and paving slabs.

Bed: mortar laid out for a brick or slab to be ‘bedded’ on

Mot type one or Sub base:   A popular type of base used for roads, driveways, paths and patios.  It consists of limestone, gritstone or basalt crushed 40mm down to dust to create small particles easy to compact.  Mot stands for ministry of transport  or Department of transport as its specified for highway works

Slurry: A semi liquid suspended in water. We use a cement-based slurry primer between paving and mortar bed that acts as a ‘glue’ to bond or increase the bond strength of the paving to the bed.  This is always used when installing porcelain paving and other low porosity stone such as Granite or Slate.  We also use this on sandstone.  This delamination / slabs becoming loose over time.

Paving delamination: Separation between Paving and paving bed resulting in loose slabs and joints.  As water gets between slab and bed freeze / thaw the problem can be exacerbated.

Building sand / soft sand: Grains of builder’s sand range from roughly 1.5mm to 2mm in size. Used for bricklaying and pointing and other applications where workability and a smooth finish is required. Like all aggregates it can vary in colour depending on where it is sourced from and clay content which helps to it its workability.  Builders sand can vary from light grey to yellow / orange / red hue.  This can be an issue when matching existing mortar.

Sharp sand / grit sand: Consists of larger partials ranging roughly from 0.6mm to 0.4mm. Used for stronger mortar mixes such as paving / patio beds, block paving beds, floor screed.  As above its can vary in colour and workability depending on its clay content and source.

Ballast: A mixture of sharp sand and 10-20mm stones.  Used for concrete mixes such as foundations, path and kerb edges, bases, driveways, subbases.     As above it can vary in colour and workability depending on its clay content and source.

Cement: A fine sort powder used as a binder that hardens after a chemical reaction when in contact with water.  Its is made from limestone, clay, iron, gypsum and heat.

Gypsum: A soft mineral used as the main constitute in plaster, plaster board and cement.  It is the main retarding agent of cement and plaster controlling the setting / hardening rate.

Ground / paving fall: The slope across the ground / paving that allows surface water to drain / run off the surface. For private and domestic applications rather than commercial applications a 1:60 fall will be sufficient.  IT may require more if the surface is heavily rivened to prevent water accumulating.  Smooth paving such as porcelain will require less of a fall at around 1:80. As an example a 6-meter-long patio with a fall of 1:60 will have a total fall of 100mm from one end to the other.  A fall of 1:80 will give a fall of 75mm.  Determining the fall is very important when setting out the area to be paved and considering drainage and surrounding ground levels.



Types of paving slabs - pros and cons

  • Natural Stone

There are many different types of natural stone to choose from all with their own unique features. Just the fact that its been created over 1000’s of years makes it a special material to work with.  The main types of natural stone used for paving are Sandstone, Limestone, Slate and granite.


  • Unique character, colour and finish.
  • Ages well / weathers well.
  • More frost resistant than some concrete paving.
  • Easy to clean.
  • Some types are easy  to work with.
  • More  environmentally friendly to quarry than producing concrete.


  • Natural variations in colour / imperfections
  • Can fade when not looked after.
  • Some natural stone has a limited colour pallet.
  • Potential acid damage to some types of stone.
  • Some types are hard to work with.