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cellophane 10-12-2009 11:57 AM

Brick walkway questions
The house I am purchasing has a concrete walkway going from the house to the detached garage (and soon to be shop!) that looks like arse and I would like to clean it up so it looks a little nicer. There are also two chimneys in the house that will be coming out (old stove chimney's c. 1920) so I will have a plethora of old brick available.

I would like to use the brick as pavers and make a brick walk to the garage but I don't know if I need to remove the concrete walk or if I could just put down a sand bed and drop the bricks in that way (I know I technically can, but I don't know if it is a best practice.) If I can save myself the demo work on the concrete it would be great. Long term I plan on building a deck / patio off the back of the house and will probably end up moving the walk but that won't be for a few years.

Are there any particular hiccups to look out for while doing this? It would probably be a springtime project so I have plenty of time to demo the chimney's and what not.

Daniel Holzman 10-12-2009 01:02 PM

There are a few issues to watch out for. First, the concrete is not permeable, so you would have effectively an impermeable barrier underneath the bricks. This could lead to poor drainage, which could damage the bricks during freezing periods.

Second, if the concrete is not level due to heave, it will probably continue to heave in the future, which may cause your brick walkway to heave also.

Third, you will need at least three or four inches of sand to cushion the brick. If you placed brick directly over concrete, the brick would probably break under load, since the concrete is relatively stiffer than brick. The sand would cushion the brick, but I have never built a walk this way, so I really don't know how much sand is enough. Probably one of the regular masons on this site knows for sure.

stuart45 10-12-2009 02:05 PM

This site may help.

pedward 10-12-2009 05:22 PM

I have installed pavers in a sand base over cement on some residential landscape jobs in the past, but never brick. We would usually set bricks in the existing soil with a portland cement/sand mix or in wet cement. I agree with Daniel on the thick base of sand. This will also let you level the bricks as you go (to an extent before settling). I would recommend making the walkway a little wider than the existing to lay the outer row in cement to keep them from falling out. When you get done, grade the yard away from the sidewalk and install some new sod...

Good Luck!

cellophane 10-12-2009 09:27 PM

Thanks for the info!


Note that 'house' bricks, 'facing' bricks or 'commons' ARE NOT SUITABLE for paving. They were never designed for that purpose, and often fail when wrongly used as a pavior, by flaking or cracking or just disintegrating in damp conditions. Conversely, paving bricks are not designed to build walls or pillars. Horses for courses, as they say.
I do have a question about that - given the age of the bricks, would they be functional as pavers? The house was built c. 1920-1930 (I don't recall exactly.)

stuart45 10-13-2009 10:06 AM

1 Attachment(s)
Horses for courses? I am not too sure about that site anymore.
The job I am on this week is a bricklayers dream. Labrokes bookies next door and the Red Lion across the road. After a quick couple of pints at lunch we made in time for the 2.30 at Huntington. Amazing Valour looked good at 4 to 1 and was a Course and Distance winner. I stuck a tenner on and the donkey didn't even get in the frame.
About your bricks, I did build a brick circle in the garden of our old house using ordinary facing bricks and they were fine, and I have used ordinary bricks on our kitchen pantry floor.
Attachment 14106
It really depends on the amount and weight of traffic going over it and also on the ground and weather conditions. If you want to take a chance on using them and DIY at least if they go wrong in time you havn't lost out in labour charges.
BTW the bricks were laid on a hardcore/concrete/mortar bed.

diy'er on LI 10-13-2009 05:28 PM

what about using the concrete patio as a slab to lay the bricks on top in portland cement?

(I've re-set bricks with portland on top of a concrete slab, but the slab was originally placed there for that purpose...) I'm wondering if that could be a proper method of installation that would bypass the sand and other issues raised by posters? Just a thought....

cellophane 10-13-2009 06:08 PM


Originally Posted by stuart45 (Post 340095)
After a quick couple of pints at lunch we made in time for the 2.30 at Huntington. Amazing Valour looked good at 4 to 1 and was a Course and Distance winner. I stuck a tenner on and the donkey didn't even get in the frame.

thats usually how my trips to the track end up =( the ATM never fails to pay out though! :shifty:

concretemasonry 10-13-2009 08:37 PM

If you set in mortar on a concrete slab you are at the mercy of Mother Nature and more importantly the quality of the brick. Many old brick were not durable when set on a slab in an alternating freeze-thaw climate.

Not all brick are the same because the standards have been variable depending on the use.


stuart45 10-14-2009 08:26 AM

Dick is spot on about the concrete slab. All contractors here( apart from the ones giving a dodgy name and addresss and changing their mobile every 3 months) use a sub base called MOT type 1 which is a selection of stones from 2 inch to stone dust. This is well whacked down and makes a solid base, but also allows drainage.

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