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Pave the Way to Your New Brick Patio

Need a new project? Get outside and build a new patio or sidewalk, even if you already have one.

Many patios and sidewalks are made of poured concrete. If you’d rather have something that doesn’t look worn and dirty – and doesn’t need to be power washed each spring – consider laying new brick pavers directly over the old surface.

“There are a number of advantages to doing it this way,” says Laura Schwind, a registered landscape architect for Pine Hall Brick, the largest supplier of clay pavers in the United States. “The biggest is that the base is already there, and you instantly improve the appearance of your property without having to dig up your old concrete and haul it away.”

With concrete that’s smooth and even, start by choosing the type of clay paver and a pattern. Keep in mind that there are “thinner” pavers (1 3/8-inch) for these applications, and that some patterns, like herringbone, will require more cuts than others.

Next, lay a “soldier course,” which means laying a line of bricks perpendicular to the edge of the concrete to form the outside frame of your project. The secret is to use four dots of masonry adhesive on each brick, each about the size of a penny, which allows rainwater to pass underneath.

On the inside of the soldier course, cut pieces of roofing felt to put a single layer inside the frame covering the concrete, and don’t overlap the felt edges. Then lay a second layer of felt perpendicular over the top of the first layer.

Starting at one corner, begin laying the brick in place, leaving a 1/8-inch gap between the pavers for sand. Finish by sweeping concrete sand between the joints until they are full.

“It’s time and effort,” says Schwind. “But it’s worth it. When you’re done, you’ll have the beginnings of a new outdoor room where you’ll want to spend some time relaxing.”