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HomeBuildHow To Level Out A Brick Patio

How To Level Out A Brick Patio

Almost Finished Don’t Forget The Glue

The last step was adding the polymer sand. Although the patio looked great, you need it to stay in place. You also don’t want any weeds or grass growing up between the bricks. You do this by using polymer sand. We bought 3 fifty-pound bags of sand at Menards for $10 apiece. You pour the sand out onto the patio.

This is a really fine sand, so lots of dust. It is not toxic and will not harm you, but I still recommend wearing a dusk mask, or at the very least, I wouldn’t be singing while you work . . . unless you like to eat sand. And that is a different story.

After you have poured it onto the patio, you take a broom and sweep from one side of the patio across to the other. The sand falls into the cracks and crevices in between the bricks. Keep sweeping until the crevices are filled up, and it is even with the bricks. Then sweep any extra sand off the side of the patio into the grass. Do NOT leave any sand on top of the bricks.

Last but not least, you take a hose and wet the patio down. The water soaks into the polymer sand and creates the locking agent to form. The brand we used asked us to wet the patio down 3 times, ten minutes apart. Make sure you don’t over-water! You don’t want to wash the sand away; you just want to dampen it.

How To Lay A Brick Patio On Uneven Ground

A brick patio enhances the exterior of the home as well as provides a place to enjoy the outdoors and grill outside. The most important part of the installation is preparing an even base for the bricks to lay on, which greatly extends their life. If you have an uneven area where you want the patio, a little excavation is all you need to transform it into a flat, sturdy patio base.

  • Shake up a can of spray paint and spray the ground to designate the perimeter of the patio. Once you are satisfied with the results, drive a wooden stake into the ground at each corner point with a hammer.

  • Tie a piece of string to the bottom of one of the stakes at ground level. Wrap the string around each of the remaining stakes to define the perimeter then tie the end to the first stake.

  • Position a shovel on the outside of the string then drive it into the ground 2 inches. Dig all the way around the perimeter to create a small trench. Move to the inside of the patio area and dig out the top 7 inches of ground with the shovel. When you reach an area that is clearly mounded up, remove more soil until the area appears even.

  • Place a long board over the top of the excavation site so that it rests on the ground at either side. Use a tape measure to determine the height from the board to the ground all the way across the area. This lets you know if the ground is even. Dig out any areas that are too high.

  • References

    Tips For Building A Brick Patio

    If you need to cut some bricks to fit your layout, you can use a hammer and masonry chisel or a circular saw with a masonry blade. But if you have a lot of cuts to make, it’s worth it to rent a brick splitter or a masonry wet saw for half a day. These tools make much faster, cleaner cuts than a hammer or handheld saw. The best blade to use for saw cuts is a diamond blade. Alternatively, you can use an abrasive blade, but it may wear down quickly and won’t cut as cleanly.

    Photo 4: Tap Down The Pavers

    Remove the screed pipe and set the pavers back, tapping them down level with a board.

    Brush any old sand off the sides of the pavers, then set them back into place and drive them down until theyre flush with the other pavers . Spread dry sand over the pavers, tamping and sweeping until the joints are completely full. Thats it, your sunken patio is fixed!

    The Area Was Never Level

    How to Lay Your Own Brick Patio Just Right

    You cant expect your pavers to be level now if the space was never properly leveled to begin with. Simply removing the grass and excavating the area isnt enough to prepare the space for pavers. You need to make sure the space is level.

    You can do that by placing stakes in the ground and connecting them with string. Then, put a level on the string to see if its level, adjusting as needed. Once the strings are level and the ground has been excavated below them, you can add the base and make sure its in line with the strings.

    Brick Patio Pricing And Installation Cost Checklist

    • Get at least 3-5 estimates before hiring a Brick Patio contractor estimates are typically free, unless its a service call for a repair.
    • Expect the Brick Patio prices to fluctuate between various companies each and every company have different operation expenses and over-head.
    • Try to get prices in late Fall, early winter you should expect aggressive pricing discounts by waiting for a contractors down season.
    • Try to budget and additional 7-15% more on top of what our calculator gives out I.e; difficult configurations, patterns, the additional complexity of your home will add to the Brick Patio costs.
    • Visit every supply house that sell your particular brand of Brick Patio and try to negotiate a better price with each supplier I save on average 20%.
    • Remember, there are multiple styled homes in the U.S from: Contemporary, colonial, cape-cod style, ranch, bungalow, victorian, etc. So keep that in mind and try to budget a little more, before starting your Brick Patio project.

    Use Stakes And String To Mark Out Shape Of Patio

    Decide on Size and Location

    You’ll need to determine and locate the size and location of your patio. Use stakes and string to mark the shape, making sure sides are parallel and corners are square.

    Remove the grass within the outline. Dig down approximately 7-1/2″ to allow room for the base layers. Gently slope about 1″ for every 4′ to allow for drainage.

    The Base Isnt Compacted

    Dips or pothole-like areas in your patio can be the result of a base that wasnt properly compacted during construction.

    This settling issue is caused by not filling in and compacting the soil properly before laying the pavers. Thats especially common if you had to dig up a tree or repair something underground before installing the pavers.

    You can fix the settling by removing the pavers and adding a gravel base. Then, you can add back the pavers after the base is level and compacted.

    Acids Can Be Great Cleaners

    Often times when you inspect a paver patio prior to washing, youll notice stains. Leaves that have been left to lie on the patio can leave tannin stains. Iron furniture that sits on the patio will most likely leave rust stains. Any stains you find need to be removed prior to sealing pavers or they will be sealed in and become permanent, so now is the time to work on them. The simplest way to get the stains out is by using an acid cleaner. Conventional muriatic acid works well and its cheap, but it burns your skin and the vapors from it are terrible. Instead, I use a safer cleaner, such as MasonrySaver Safer Brick & Masonry Cleaner.

    For severe stains, I simply pour a little cleaner at full strength on the stain and give it a few minutes to work before rinsing. If the whole patio is fairly dirty, dilute the cleaner 4:1 and, using a garden-type pump up sprayer, spray the entire surface with cleaner. Allow the cleaner to remain wet on the surface for 5 minutes or so, and then rinse using a power washer.

    Photo 2: Level The Screed Pipe

    Level a screed pipe using a screed board with a notch at one end 1/8 in. shallower than the depth of the pavers.

    Make a screed board long enough to rest on the level pavers around it. Then notch the ends 1/8 in. less than the depth of the pavers. If the area is large or against the house or grass, set a screed pipe along one side and level it against the pavers youre matching. If youre trying to match a sloping walk, shim the level at the downhill end to match the slope .

    Lock The Bricks With Sand

    Spread sand over the bricks, then sweep across the patio surface with a push broom to work the sand into the cracks. Sweep in multiple directions to reach all cracks, adding sand as you go until the cracks are filled. Gently spray the patio with a garden hose to settle the sand in the cracks. Spread and sweep more sand into the cracks, and spray again, until the cracks are completely filled and the sand is settled. 

    Lift & Remove The Area Of Uneven Block Paving

    Once you have decided which area of paving you are going to re-lay and you have marked the area you need to break into the paving.

    This is usually the hardest part of the job. The idea is to remove the jointing sand between the blocks so that the sunken blocks become loose. Once you have loosened a few blocks you will find that the rest of the bricks are quite easy to remove.

    You could use a specialist paving lifting tool kit designed to lift out block paving. These can be expensive to buy though. Other ways could use a club hammer and chisel to smash and break the difficult paving blocks . Although this process will leave you a block or two short when you come to relaying the paving. As the broken paving blocks will not be reusable. Other methods include gently cutting along the joints of the paving with a stone saw to loosen the blocks. Or even using a strong leaf blower to try to remove the sand between the joints of the paving.

    I have even know people jet wash out the sand with a power washer . It all depends on how tight the paving blocks are! If they are very tightly locked together then its going to be difficult to remove the paving. Likewise, if the pavers are loose then its very easy to remove the paving bricks.

    You need to remove the pavers individually. Then stack the paving close to the job but not where it will interfere with the relaying process.

    Amazing Stamped Concrete Patio Design Ideas

    Building a Paver Patio

    About Remodeling Expense

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    Spread Landscape Fabric And Gravel

    Double-check your calculations for gravel and sand and arrange for deliveries. Then call the rental store and reserve a gas-powered plate compactor or tamper. This is a heavy beast; youll need a trailer or pickup truck and a couple of strong bodies to move it around.

    After compacting the soil with the tamper and before you start filling the hole, roll out the landscape fabric, allowing it to extend at least 6 in. beyond the patio all around. Use spikes to temporarily hold it in place. Then we spread a 2-in. layer of gravel over the top.

    Note: If your soil is soft or soggy, you might have to add more gravel fill to create a stable base. Ask your building inspector or a soil engineer to recommend the right base for you.

    How To Level The Ground For Pavers

    This article was co-authored by Scott Johnson. Scott Johnson is the Owner and Lead Design Consultant for Concrete Creations, Inc., an award-winning landscape and design company based in the San Diego, California metro area. He has over 30 years of experience in the pool and landscape construction industry and specializes in large estate outdoor environment construction projects. His work has been featured in San Diego Home & Garden Magazine and on Pool Kings TV Show. He earned a BS degree in Construction Management with an emphasis in Architecture and CAD design from Northern Arizona University.There are 7 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 222,941 times.

    Available at most home improvement and supply stores, pavers are small, specialty stones that can transform any yard or garden into a work of art. Like all outdoor decor, pavers require some preparation to install properly, especially when it comes to making sure your ground is level. Though it may seem daunting at first, knowing the ins-and-outs of the process will help you tackle your paver project with poise.

    Building Brick Walks And Patios

    Denny SchrockDepartment of Horticulture

    Bricks in sand make an attractive, durable and pleasant outdoor paving . They are easy to install the easiest to handle of all paving materials.

    Individually, bricks are small and lightweight. A brick walk or patio can be installed piecemeal at leisure. Do not attempt too much at one time.

    Bricks have other attractions: a non-glare surface, pleasant texture, mellow color and pleasing contrast.

    On the other hand, weeds and grass may grow up through the joints, freezing and thawing may cause heaving and bricks may need resetting. Bricks are absorbent and can hold stains. The general roughness of the surface makes it unsuitable for dancing and some games.

    Figure 1Brick patios and walkways provide a durable and attractive outdoor paving. 

    How To Properly Level A Patio Or Walkway

    Dear James: I am going to build a brick patio adjacent to a small fish pond in my backyard. I plan to use a gravel and sand base for the bricks. What is the easiest way to get them properly leveled? Charlie R.

    Dear Charlie: A brick patio and surround for the fish pond can be a very attractive addition to your landscaping. You might want to consider using patio pavers instead of ordinary bricks because the pavers are usually more decorative and they are made to fit together perfectly.

    Whether you use bricks or patio pavers, laying the base and the leveling process are identical. “Leveling” is the proper term to use, but you do not want the patio to be level. A slight slope away from the pond will keep rainwater from carrying patio dirt into the pond. One-eighth-inch slope per foot length should be more than adequate.

    A two-inch layer of crushed gravel covered by another two-inch layer of sand should be a good base for the patio. Always use crushed gravel, not pea gravel which will roll around. The angular edges of crush gravel lock the pieces together for a much more stable base.

    First, determine the height for the top surface of the finished patio. Drive wooden grade stakes in the ground around the perimeter of the patio so the tops are at the finished height. Locate them seven feet apart to facilitate creating a smooth surface for the gravel and sand.

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    Brick Patio Step #1: Build A Retaining Wall

    This is the step that sets a raised brick patio apart from one flat to the ground as it provides the area in which you can add the fill materials that will create the patios base. Start by marking off the boundaries of your patio with stakes. Using a string, line level, and a tape measure, mark the stakes at the height at which you plan your finished wall to reach. 

    From there, determine how many rows of bricks you are going to need to reach your desired height. Bear in mind that you will end up completely burying the first row of bricks in order to give the retaining wall its stability. 

    Dig out a 12-inch wide, 6-inch deep trench for your first row and compact the ground firmly in the trench. Add 2 inches of finely crushed gravel and even out the surface. You should also have a string line that serves as a guide for the top of your first row. 

    Order The Base Materials And Stone

    It’s what’s underneath that counts. Stone and brick are what you see, but the landscape fabric, gravel and sand are what hold them together and make your patio last.

    Landscape fabric stabilizes the soil underneath the gravel base by keeping them apart while allowing water to drain through. We used 12-1/2 ft. wide, heavy, woven stabilization fabric purchased from our stone supplier. If this isn’t available, use the widest landscape fabric you can find.

    Class V limestone forms the foundation of our patio, but there may be different materials available in your region. Any granular fill will work as long as the size of the granules ranges from 3/4 in. down to a powder and they’re angular, not smooth and round. These qualities allow the fill to be tightly packed for a firm base that allows water to drain through. A mixture of recycled concrete and asphalt is widely available and is a good substitute for Class V.

    Depending on your soil, you’ll need a4- to 10-in. thick layer of gravel. Sandy soils require less gravel than soils with organic matter or clay. Gravel is sold by the ton or cubic yard. One cubic yard covers about 50 sq. ft. at a 6-in. depth by the time it’s compacted and weighs 1-1/2 tons. We used 12 tons of gravel.

    Coarse washed sand is spread over the gravel in a 1-in. layer to form a setting bed for the stone and brick, and later to fill the cracks between the bricks and stone. We used 5 tons of sand.

    Lay Bricks Along Layout Lines

    Lay a row of bricks along the baseline, aligning the end of the first brick with the perpendicular layout line. Butt them tightly together. Lay another row, aligning the end of the first brick with the second line. Continue laying bricks until one section is complete. Then work out from this section to complete the patio.

    How The Layers Go Together

    Raising and Leveling Sunken Patio Pavers

    When youve found a suitable spot, make a rough sketch showing trees, shrubs and gardens, then take measurements. Transfer these measurements to graph paper, letting each square equal 1 ft. Lay tracing paper over your plan and sketch in the stone border and bricks. Experiment with different designs, and when you come up with a plan you like, use it to calculate the quantities of materials and help you place the patio stones. Remember that this is a casual, free-form patio. Have fun and let the plan evolve as you work.

    Note: You can download Figure A and enlarge it from the additional information below.

    Establish A Slight Slope

    Set up a string line across the center of the patio in the direction you want the water to drain. Tie the stringline to stakes driven at each end of the patio so it stretches in the best drainage direction. Use a line level to adjust the string until it’s level. Then lower one end of the string 1 in. for every 10 ft. of length to establish a sloped reference line. Youll use this string to gauge the depth of the hole as you dig, and to set the slope of the compacted base.

    You Have Poor Drainage

    Water should easily move across or by your patio, but when it doesnt, youll have problems. Runoff and drainage issues can affect a variety of things on your landscape, including your patio.

    You dont want water pooling up on your pavers, possibly causing problems with the foundation. To keep that from happening, make sure your pavers are slightly higher than the ground surface all of the way around.

    Changing the grade around the patio orinstalling a nearby retaining wall can also help redirect the water, keeping it off of the pavers.

    How To Lift And Relay Block Paving

    It is always best to choose a dry day to lift and relay block paving.

    First you need to decide which areas of paving are going be taken up and re-laid. To help you decide which areas are uneven and need to taken up and relaid, you need to use something solid and straight. You could use a straight piece of timber or a spirit level. Place it on the paving and look at the area underneath the straight edge to determine which area is to be laid again. You could also pay particular attention to your paving when it rains for a period of time. Mark out the puddled areas when its wet. Or maybe take a photo of the area with standing water when the paving is wet. Use the photo to give you a visual aide when your ready to relay your block paving.

    Diy Vs Hiring A Professional For Your Patio

    Theres one question every homeowner has asked himself at some point: Can I do it myself, or is it worth hiring a professional?

    Cost shouldnt be the only deciding factor. Properly installing a patio isnt a one-day project: It takes time, money, supplies, experience and patience if you want it done right.

    Dont jump into doing the project yourself unless youre ready to invest all of those things. It takes an expert to know how to level patio pavers the right way. 

    If you decide to hire a landscape contractor toinstall your dream paver patio, make sure they have the right experience. Most will provide some sort of warranty for their work, giving you peace of mind.

    At Outback Landscape, before we ever break ground so you know exactly what your patio will look like. Our experienced team knows how to ensure a stunning patio. Check out ourhardscape project photos to get ideas for your patio project.

    Contact Outback Landscape at 208-656-3220 to start enjoying a well-construction paver patio.

    Read The Can And Follow The Directions

    Every manufacturers product can be little different so always read the directions. It only takes a few minutes but it will ensure that you have all the right information before you get started. It will give you valuable information such as how many coats of sealer to apply, how long to wait between coats, how to properly apply the product, and how to clean it up. There are a number of variations to these questions so read the label first and youll be likely to get it right the first time.

    Brick Patio Step #2: Lay The Bricks

    Youll want to lay landscaping fabric in the trench giving the bricks a material that they can lie on top of. Then lay the bricks level and side by side on the material, following along the string line guide. Continue this process as you continue to add more rows in the same manner. As you lay the rows, add gravel between the fabric and the back of the wall to prevent soil from washing through the cracks in the wall. 

    Clean Clean And Clean Some More

    In regards to the prep work, sealing pavers isnt much different than staining your deck or painting your house. Much of the quality of the job comes down to how well you prepare the surface.

    Patios that have weathered will often have mildew, moss, and algae growing on the stones and in the sand between the joints. Weeds and any other foreign debris need to be removed; and for a patio, that means a good cleaning. The easiest way to clean your brick patio is with a power washer.

    Make certain that you select a washer with enough power to do the job. I try to never use anything rated less than 2400 p.s.i. Select a tip that will fan the water out slightly, 15°- 25° or so, and always work in sections.

    Patios should be constructed so that water runs away from the home. So begin working near the house or the high side of the slope of the patio, rinsing debris down the patios natural flow, away from the house. Youll loose some of the sand between the joints during the cleaning process and thats okay. Well replace the sand once the patio is cleaned up. Just be careful not to blow out more sand than is necessary while youre doing your cleaning.


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