Register with us or sign in
in Problem solving
yes to clean out.
Don't dry things out.
You're unlikely to get slabs dry enough to suck the moisture out of the cement at this time of year but this could be a problem if you leave it til summer. Wet the slabs, don't dry them.
The more cement you can get between the slabs the better it will last. Very thin cement doesn't survive long. Try and scrape out the dirt to expose as much of the sides of the slabs as you can. The cement needs to adhere to the sides of the slabs not the soil.
You need to clear at least 1/2" (12mm) depth of soil from the joints or the pointing won't last long. The more earth you can remove from the joints, the longer the pointing will last. Blast it out with a pressure washer if you have one. Use a 3:1 sand to cement mix and keep it fairly dry so that when you take a handful and squeeze it together, it doesn't fall apart. Too wet a mix will stain the slabs. Good video here:
you can make a rounded tool for finishing it off out of an old bit of 15mm copper water pipe if you have any lying around. Best done when the surface of the slabs are dry to help prevent the mortar from staining them.
I'd go with Bob, Gg, My experience is limited to one set of steps.