One of the hottest trends in home improvement today is using brick instead of asphalt or concrete for sidewalks, patios, driveways. Many homeowners enjoy the look of a brick sidewalk or patio and feel that there is a greater depth of color and more character in items made out of brick. There are also many benefits to using brick to build sidewalks and patios for the home.
Brick sidewalks are extremely durable and last for a long period of time. Although the bricks may cost more to install initially than concrete, the costs will be made up in the long run by how long the bricks can last without having to be replaced. It is estimated that brick sidewalks can last more than three times as long as concrete sideways without needing repairs or replacement.
Brick sidewalks also have the advantage of being able to shift slightly without cracking. In many areas, constant soil erosion by rain, plant roots, and insect life can cause the surface of the ground beneath the sidewalk or patio to shift, causing expensive to repair cracks and damage to sidewalks and patios made out of other building materials.
Creations made out of brick will simply shift slightly to accommodate the ground beneath and if the brick has shifted too much or is very noticeable, then the homeowner can maneuver the brick back into its proper place.
Why Homeowners Choose Brick Sidewalk
There are many advantages for homeowners that choose a brick sidewalk over one made of poured concrete. One of the biggest advantages is the cost savings for repairs to the brick sidewalk. Although a brick sidewalk may cost 3 times as much to initially install than concrete, repairing a concrete sidewalk can cost between 10 to 30 times more than the cost of repairing a brick sidewalk.
Another factor in choosing to lay a brick sidewalk instead of a concrete one is the room for error allowed in laying a brick sidewalk. If a brick is positioned improperly, it is easy to move into proper place and the entire project will not be ruined if you stop to eat your lunch during the project.
Laying a brick sidewalk is not ruined as easily by a sudden rainstorm, a dog running through the yard, or the bounce of a child’s ball, all very real hazards when attempting to lay a concrete sidewalk.
A brick sidewalk is also more environmentally friendly than their concrete counterparts. The spaces between the bricks allow more rainwater to seep through into the soil, reducing the amount of puddles formed and reducing the amount of standing water around your home. The bricks can also be recycled when old or damaged and molded into new bricks for another homeowner to use.
Creating A Brick Sidewalk
Using sand or gravel for laying a brick sidewalk is an easy do-it-yourself project for a homeowner to undertake. All grass and plant growth should be removed from the area where the brick sidewalk will be placed and the earth should be leveled, with a slight downgrade on one side to allow for the drainage of water. The next step will be to install permanent edging on one side of the walkway, using either bricks mortared in place or 2×4’s to create the line.
Laying the sand bed is next, to a depth of at least 1” but no more than 2”, and the sand bed will need to be leveled and tamped down with a 2×4 or other similar object. Setting the bricks is the next step, beginning with the outside corner and working your way across all the way to the end of the sidewalk area. After the joints between the bricks have been filled with fine grit sand, your new brick sidewalk is ready for use.