Thursday, October 20, 2011

Brick and Blue Stone Patios: How to repair and take care of them?

I moved to this house about 3 years ago and I was taken immediately by their patios (yes plurals! there are truly 3 of them). Little I knew that you were supposed to do things to maintain them, I truly thought that as they were made with blue stones and bricks they will last forever!! Well, I was wrong. I started noticing little loose bricks here and there and big holes and shifting (or dare I say sinking holes) on my blue stones.

My good friend Lisa has just finished a new patio in her house (well her husband did help a lot!!! lucky girl!) and she was telling me all about the sand this and the sand that.And I was like: Sand? what sand? Well thanks to her, I finally got to understand that I was supposed to add sand to my patios and front path to keep them from sinking and getting lose. Thanks girl!



Before

After
 

So what did I do? off to the garden center to buy the materials and start reversing the wear and tear on my outdoor flooring. I will tell you one by one how to fix and maintain both the brick and the blue stone patios and stairs. I actually enjoyed doing this although it was hard work (particularly the blue stone - they are heavy!!)

How to fix and maintain brick patios and paths:

My front entrance path is made of bricks, I love the terracotta color and how nice it looks. I have always kept an eye on weeds as they like to grow in between the bricks, but have never attempted to fix the loose or sinking bricks until now!


Before

After

After
What do you need?
  • Play sand and Paving sand (available at home improvements stores)
  • A chisel to lift the bricks
  • A big old knife
  • Rubber Mallet
  • A big broom
  • Weed killer for patios (you can go ecofriendly here)
First of all remove all the weeds that you may have on the bricks, I recommend you pull them all by hand as if you spray them you will get the little roots in between the bricks and that will stop the sand from getting into the space. You can also remove any moss that you may have (some people like moss, so it is up to you to do this step -I like my bricks moss free but I like the moss in the blue stones - I know, it is crazy) Anyhow, to remove the moss, simply get your old knife and running along the sides of the bricks, it will fly off! I actually got my kids to help me with this (I gave them screwdrivers though - no kids and knives please!!!).

Once the area is free of weeds and moss, brush it thoroughly to remove all dirt, stones, leaves etc. Quite challenging in the fall, but do as much as you can.

Then, find the areas to fix if any - I found two areas with sinking bricks. Carefully remove the bricks one by one by lifting them with the chisel or a screwdriver, put them to the side in the same pattern they were on the ground (you do not want to forget how they were as you may not be able to put them back the same way!)

Flatten the sandy surface underneath and take some paving sand and put it on the space until it is level. Make sure you pat the sand. Put a little bit at a time and try to put one of the bricks back to see if they are still lower than the rest. Keep adding sand until you have the area at the level you want.

Put the bricks back and gently pat them with the rubber mallet to compact the sand. Do this with all your sinking bricks.

Then comes the fun part. Take your play sand (thinner than the paving one) or a mixture of play and paving sand (it all depends on how separate are your bricks, the bigger the separation the more paving sand vs. play sand) and spread it on all the bricks. Take your brush and with a back and forth movement, make sure the sand goes in all the spaces between the bricks - all the bricks, but pay special attention to the ones that you just fixed.

Once all the sand has been spread, very gently spray some water on the bricks - use the mist or gentle shower set on your garden hose or do the fixing just before it rains (like I did). The water will help the sand move into the grooves and little spaces that you could not get at. It will also clean any excess sand from your bricks. Once the bricks dry, you may still see spaces with little sand that have been displaced by the water, do not worry, put more sand on it and repeat the process until they are all filled!

Spray weed killer around the bricks to prevent weeds from coming back.

How to fix and maintain blue stone patios and stairs:


The process is very similar to that of the bricks, with the difference that the stones are significantly heavier and break relatively easy - so you need to be careful - I could not lift all the stones that I wanted to fix.

Before


After

What do you need?

  • Paving sand (available at home improvements stores)
  • A chisel to lift the stones
  • A big old knife
  • Rubber Mallet
  • A big broom
  • Weed killer for patios (you can go eco-friendly here)
First of all remove all the weeds that you may have around the stones, I recommend you pull them all by hand as if you spray them you will get the little roots in between the stones and that will stop the sand from getting into the space. You may also remove any moss that you may have (I like the moss in the blue stones so I left it there).

Once the area is free of weeds and moss, brush it thoroughly to remove all dirt, stones, leaves etc. Quite challenging in the fall, but do as much as you can.

Then, find the areas to fix if any - I had sinking stones all around the edges of the patios and my stairs.



Carefully remove one or two stones at a time and level them before lifting more, remember they are heavy!!. Put them to the side in the same pattern they were on the ground (you do not want to forget how they were as you may not be able to put them back the same way!)



Flatten the sandy surface underneath and take some paving sand and put it on the space until it is level. Make sure you pat the sand. Put a little bit at a time and try to put the stones back to see if they are still lower than the rest. Keep adding sand until you have the area at the level you want.

Gently pat them with the rubber mallet to compact the sand. Do this with all the stones you lifted. I also tried to gently see if I could rock the stone back and forths with my hands, if I could I need more sand. The idea is that the stone should be steady and firmly pressed on the sand.

Then comes the fun part. Take more paving sand and spread it on all the patio. Take your brush and with a back and forth movement, make sure the sand goes in all the spaces between the stones, pay special attention to the ones that you just fixed. I even pushed the sand down on this ones with  my fingers (Use strong gloves).

Once all the sand has been spread, very gently spray some water on the bricks - use the mist or gentle shower set on your garden hose or do the fixing just before it rains (like I did). The water will help the sand move into the grooves and little spaces that you could not get at. It will also clean any excess sand from your stones. Once the stones are dry, you will see spaces with little sand that have been displaced by the water, do not worry, put more sand on it and repeat the process until they are all filled! It took me three times to fill the gaps between my stones.



Spray weed killer around the stones to prevent weeds from coming back. Be careful not to spray your moss if you like it and left it there.


You are to repeat this process yearly or every other year to prevent other stones or bricks getting lose or sink beyond repair!

Have fun!

1 comment:

Concrete repairs said...

Bricks are a good materials for building a house and like other materials it also needs to be replace or repaired as time passed by.

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