FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Our most important advice...
We cannot possibly stress this strongly enough – the slabs are designed to be the sub-base and base in one, then THEY NEED A GOOD LAYER OF TOPPING if they are being used for animal traffic.
As we all know, animals can and do on occasion lose their footing on ANY surface, be it mud, grass, concrete, hard core, or anything else, and all that any of us can do is try to minimise this risk as much as possible.
The surface of the slabs is designed to be slip-resistant, and the texture is similar to roughened concrete.
For the topping, you can use sand (quarried sharp sand is our preference after a few years of testing here on our clay soil at MCHQ), or you can use topsoil (an inch or two of mud, when it comes, on top of a rock solid base, is infinitely preferable to a foot or more of mud), or wood pellet bedding, or woodchip, miscanthus, other bedding types (but with the proviso that some will start to rot at some point and probably need scraping off, as rotting things can go slimy and smelly), or even used bedding or manure.
Animals moving on and off the slabbed area will carry mud etc onto the slabs. Care should be taken to monitor this. Mud by definition is slippery.
We realise that some customers ignore the Manufacturer’s Recommendation and allow their animals onto bare slabs, but this is their decision, and we do not recommend this.
A bulk bag of sand is about £50 incl VAT and delivery (from your local builder’s merchant or quarry, or Jewsons, or B&Q etc) in most areas. We recommend at least 1 bulk bag per full pallet of slabs, ideally two or more (especially if you want it to be deep enough for playing, rolling, lying down on.) It is money very well spent, and usually lasts for a long time. It’s totally natural, and improves the drainage. We top ours up every year or two, as needed. This is dependent upon rainfall and gradient of the land.
Around any feeders, or in very exposed areas (where topping might get washed away quickly) holey rubber grass mats on top of the slabs also work very well. They will move a bit as horses and people walk on them, but are easily pulled back into place. We’ve been trialling this for over a year around our hay feeders and are very happy with the results. The horses like lying down on them too – they are definitely a lot softer than the slabs.
A huge proportion of our orders is repeat orders from very happy customers, so we know that the slabs work incredibly well if used and topped correctly.
If your slabs are bare, and you have animals on them, please seriously consider adding a topping as recommended… it really is worth it.
Why do you call them ‘slabs’?
Because they are not like any other type of mat or grid product, they are more like rock solid paving slabs (but with a cleverly designed grid underneath that pushes into the mud and holds them in place, and tabs which stabilise them with the adjacent slabs on any side.) They feel like textured concrete underfoot, there is no ‘give’.
What are the slabs made of?
They are 100 % recycled German ‘yellow bag’ domestic plastic.
How big are they?
They measure 50cm x 50cm x 5.3cm each, and weigh about 7kg each (over a stone). There are 4 to a square metre.
How much are they?
They are £7.20 each, or £28.80 per square metre, including VAT.
Do they have any moving parts?
No, the tabs are solid, they simply interlink with adjacent slabs.
How long do they last?
They are covered by a 20 year manufacturer’s warranty, but will last much longer than that, being 100% stable plastic.
What do they feel like underfoot?
They are rock hard, rather like roughened/patterned concrete.
Why do you say to put sand on top of them?
For livestock we strongly recommend putting a good amount of sand on top of the slabs, at least at first, to give extra grip until the horses/cows/alpaca/sheep/whatever learn how to move on the slabs. Some people don’t bother doing this and have no problems, but we’d rather err on the side of caution. For an all weather area we’d recommend putting some sand or surface on top of the slabs. Around hay feeders, holey rubber grass mats work well on top of the slabs. To read more about the importance of your sand choice, please visit our USE OF SAND page.
What are they like when it’s icy?
Just about any solid surface gets slippery when iced over. If a hard frost is forecast we recommend leaving any hay, mud or manure on top to freeze into lumps to give more purchase underfoot, or otherwise putting fresh sharp sand down. But the textured slab surface still gives grip (unless it was already covered with water which then froze solid). Check out these videos - Video 1 and Video 2
How easy are they to lay?
Very easy. You just put them down and push them together, and the solid tabs on every side slot into the gaps on the adjacent slabs. There is a slight knack, once you have that you can put them down very fast, like a Pro. Please have a look at this Video.
Can I lay them if it’s already muddy?
Yes, of course. It’s a bit more effort than laying them on dry ground, just as walking across a muddy field is a bit more effort than crossing it when it’s bone dry, but it’s perfectly doable.
A pair of heavy duty rubber gloves and a pry bar or strong screwdriver will help to shove individual slabs into place if they stick down in the mud before you have them exactly where you want them.
Is any preparation of the area needed?
If it’s lumpy and hard ground, then yes – the slabs won’t lie flat, they will rock back and forth on lumps. So that sort of ground would be best raked or graded. Or you can put sand down to bed the slabs onto, for a really professional job, if you don’t want to grade the ground. If the area is very sunken, as in an old gateway, then bringing the level up with topsoil and putting the slabs on top to protect it works well.
Will the mud come up through the holes?
Yes, if it’s really sludgy then mud will come up through the holes, and will need scraping off. Mud will be carried onto the slabbed area, too. The slabs can’t cure terrible drainage… if it’s the lowest part of the field, or the drainage is awful and the water table is high, it might be better to raise the ground level first and put the slabs on top of that. They will prevent whatever you put down under them from being mixed in, and the drainage should improve as the ground stabilises.
You can put a membrane down under them to prevent mud (and later grass) from coming up through the holes.
How easy are they to lift if I decide to move them?
Pretty easy, although if the mud has filled up the grids on the underneath of the slabs and dried out, they will be stuck down and heavy. Lifting a whole row at a time (so you are only trying to undo the joins in one direction) is best, just pull a whole row away from the next row (it might take a few people to lift it if it’s a long run, and maybe a spade shoved in at an angle on the leading edge so you can get a good grip). Then pull the slabs apart, and knock them together to get the mud plugs to drop out.
Should I use them in my field shelter?
If your shelter/stable isn't situated in the worst draining part of the field, and isn't facing the prevailing wind, it SHOULD stay dry inside, in which case you honestly won't need our slabs inside - it would be better with an earth floor and bedding.
(Of course if the shelter is facing the wrong way and can't be moved, or is in a totally waterlogged area of the field, then our slabs are the answer - they won't sink and they'll raise the level a couple of inches and can then be topped with rubber matting or sand or bedding.)
But if your shelter stays reasonably dry inside, as shown in the first photo below, then you'd be much better putting slabs in front of it or to the side, or around it. A 'patio' area out the front gives a solid area for the horses to stand on and dry off, and prevents mud from being carried into the shelter.
These photos were taken at the same time after a deluge, on heavy clay. The shelter is dry inside. The ground 10 metres away is absolutely waterlogged.
So it's better to use our slabs outside the shelter if it stays dry inside on its own!
Do they wreck the ground?
No, they protect the ground from getting torn up. The grass will grow up through the holes if you want it to.
You can leave them down, and graze or mow the top of them.
If you don’t want grass to grow through them, putting membrane down first is the answer.
If you decide to lift the slabs, the ground underneath will be fine, it might just need rolling to break up the mud ‘plugs’ that were in the grids in the slabs.
Can I buy a few, and add to them later if I like them?
Yes of course. There is no minimum order. We will send out a sample slab or two if you want to handle one first, before deciding.
Why are they this price? And why can’t I buy them locally?
They are a very heavy duty and carefully designed product which is certified to over 60 tonnes, we are a volume business and the only way we can keep the price as low as this is to have centralised distribution, with no retail mark up, to keep overheads at a minimum and pass this saving on to our customers.
Can I order any amount?
Yes. But because we pay per pallet space on the delivery network, a small order works out very expensive delivery-wise. We can send 140 slabs for only £6 more than we can send 35 slabs. Please see below for a longer explanation!
Can they be laid on a slope?
Yes, up to about 20 degrees, above that making ‘steps’ would be a better idea.
We've learnt of another solution to give extra slip resistance if laying the slabs on a slope, and to control the migration of sand across the slabs in heavy rain, for example.
Battens can be screwed down onto the slabs at intervals, using stainless steel screws (suitable thick screws, long enough to go right through both the batten and the slab.) It's an extreme solution but will definitely do the trick.
So if a hoof starts to slip it will be stopped completely after a certain distance. On a steep slope we would do this about every 30cm, for example...
Here are some photos of the idea being used in Germany.
How big are the holes?
They are 5cm in diameter. If you are worried about little paws or feet going through, filling the holes with sharp sand or pea gravel is the answer. This can even look nice…
Why are your delivery costs so confusing?
The cost per pallet varies depending on the delivery postcode, so we do a ‘pallet preparation and delivery’ quotation individually for every enquiry. A full pallet of 140 slabs (35m2) is the biggest, heaviest pallet we can have hand-unloaded by pump truck on the tail-lift lorries. That size weighs 980kgs, and must be unloaded onto tarmac or concrete, as the pump trucks’ little wheels won’t travel a mm on gravel or uneven ground with almost a tonne on them!
The slabs are very heavy and therefore there are weight restrictions on pallet sizes that the lorry tail lifts can handle. Delivery costs are calculated by our shipping partners on a PER PALLET basis, not per delivery drop off, so bear this in mind when ordering:
A 7.5 tonne lorry can only handle up to 25 sq metres per pallet (100 slabs per pallet/700kg)
An 18 tonne lorry can only handle up to 35 sq metres per pallet (140 slabs per pallet/980kg)
Can I choose the delivery day?
Yes of course, always. We don’t charge extra for this.
I don’t live where I want the slabs delivered, and I don’t want to wait around all day, can I book a time for the delivery?
Yes, of course. It’s £18 extra to specify an a.m. or p.m. delivery or £24 extra to specify a delivery slot, £36 for a pre 10am slot. That is exactly how much we are charged for this, please contact us for more information.
If I don’t want to pay for a specified time, can you tell me when my slabs will arrive?
No, sorry. We won’t have a clue. The network doesn’t update in real time. But the drivers are usually really good about calling or texting ahead of time to let you know they are on their way. You should receive a two hour delivery window by email on delivery day.
Will they deliver into my field?
Nope, not a chance. Not even in high summer when the ground feels like concrete to you. Please don’t ask the drivers to, they won’t do it and it’s more than their jobs are worth to get a lorry stuck. They will drop off on the kerbside, or possibly in the gateway if there is a hardstanding area of concrete or tarmac.
Access to the yard/field isn’t good, is that a problem?
We can request a smaller delivery vehicle and cross fingers that one is available.
I want the slabs putting in a specific space that the lorry can’t get to, can you do that?
If you want to book a special delivery on a lorry with its own Moffatt forklift, we can do that, but there is an extra charge.
I want to collect, is that possible?
Full pallets can be collected (by other haulage company’s lorries only due to COVID restraints) from our storage depot near Northampton, NN4 postcode area.
They are on a standard Europallet and are 980kg and over 2m tall, so need strapping to support them in transit. Collection by appointment only between 10am – 3pm on the chosen weekday.
Smaller orders can be collected from MCHQ near Kettering. Please bring a suitable vehicle, bearing in mind that the slabs are 7kg each or 28kg per square metre. The weight adds up!
Any other Questions?
Please fill in the form and we will get back to you as soon as we can. Thank you!