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How to Reset Flagstone

By Scott Wolfenden
Flagstone is a generic name for flat stones used in home landscaping projects.
wall image by charles taylor from Fotolia.com

Flagstone is a generic flat stone that is used in landscaping for paving walkways and patios. The shifting earth, freezing and thawing over the years, can cause the level of the stones to shift. You may need to reset the stones so that they are straight, level and secured. Because the stones are often set in mortar, you may have to break the flagstones free from its seal before you can reset them. The end result can be many more years of continued use of your flagstone patio or walkway.

Resetting Flagstone

Simple tools can be used to reset flagstone.
cold chisel image by Aleksandr Ugorenkov from Fotolia.com

Chip away at the joints of the flagstone, but be careful not to damage the stone or adjacent stones. When all of the mortar between the joint breaks free, use a large flat chisel to pry underneath the flagstone. Pry it out from different angles, being careful not to break or crack the flagstone. The mortar seal underneath the flagstone will easily break and you can lift out the flagstone.

Rent or purchase a diamond blade saw to cut the joints if a hammer and chisel won't easily do the job. If the flagstones are not set in mortar, you can pry them free using a crowbar.

Cut or chisel out some of the hard mortar under the flagstone, to create a surface that will allow you to apply mortar to the flagstone, and so that when complete, the stone will be level with the other stones.

Create your mortar using a pre-mixed mortar mix. Use a wheelbarrow and add water to your mix, mixing it with a shovel until you have a consistency that is firm but not slushy, one that just runs off of your trowel. Apply the mortar to the base of your flagstone, install, and reset your joints.

Clean up the flagstone of any excess mortar with water using a rag or sponge. Let the newly laid flagstone set for 30 minutes, and then clean the outside of the flagstone thoroughly. Don't walk on the flagstone for 48 hours and wait a week before you put any heavy weight or significant traffic on the walkway.


Things You Will Need

  • Hammer
  • Chisel
  • Diamond Blade Power Saw
  • Crowbar
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Mortar Mix
  • Water
  • Trowel
  • Rubber Gloves


  • Wear rubber gloves when working with cement or mortar mix. The acids in the mixture can burn your hands.
  • Don't try to mix mortar or lay flagstones if the temperature is near or falls below freezing. The moisture in the mortar mix can freeze, resulting in cracking or poor adhesion.


  • Make sure you wear safety goggles when using a hammer and chisel, or when using a diamond blade saw. Wear thick gloves to protect your hands and for a better grip.
  • Large stones should be lifted by two people. Lift large stones in a manner so as to avoid injury flexing your thighs rather than your back.

About the Author


Scott Wolfenden began writing in 2006 on the subject of mental health. He has written a book on ADHD, children's mental health, education and parenting partially based on experience teaching in public schools. He blogs for Learning Things, an educational products website. He graduated from Thomas Edison State College with a Bachelor of Arts in social science and additional coursework in psychology.