A brick walkway is a beautiful addition to your home, and can add a traditional look that concrete walkways can't provide. However, brick sidewalks can wear out unevenly, become disrupted by frost heave and damaged by tree roots. Fortunately, replacing a few bricks is a relatively simple job. You can do it with just a few basic tools and a little time.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
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Things you need
- Chisel or margin trowel
- Rubber mallet
- Level or straight edge
Remove damaged or uneven bricks. Place a chisel or margin trowel into the joint along the short side of the brick. Work the point of the tool between the bricks and lift up to remove individual bricks. Move the trowel or chisel to the other end of the brick and repeat the process until you can remove the first brick. Additional bricks should be easier to remove after the first one is out. Get rid of all broken bricks, bricks over roots, depressions or areas affected by frost heave.
Level the area. If you are repairing an uneven sidewalk, remove any roots, excess dirt, or other obstructions under the walkway. If there is a depression under the walkway, add dirt or sand to build it up.
Smooth the sand bed. Most brick sidewalks are set in a bed of sand, instead of being mortared. The sand reduces movement and cracking. Add more sand if required, and use the side of a brick to smooth and compact the surface. Strike the sand with the side of the brick to compact it further and prevent future settling.
Replace bricks one at a time. This may be more difficult than it seems. If you have trouble placing the last brick in a row, strike the end of the row with a rubber mallet to tighten it. You can also use the mallet to force the brick into place. If there is too much space at the end of a row, force the margin trowel between the joints of several bricks in the row. Open up the joints to 1/8 inch or less to even up the row.
Check to make sure that all the bricks are level using a ruler, yardstick or level. If a brick is low, remove it and place a little sand under it to raise the brick. If a brick is high, tap it with the mallet until it falls into place. If a brick refuses to settle, remove it, decrease the amount of sand under it, and replace the brick.
Fill joints. Sprinkle sand over the bricks, working it in by hand, or sweeping it into the joints with a broom. Sweep any loose and from the sidewalk, and allow the sand to settle. In a day or two, return and add more sand to the cracks.
Tips and warnings
- Wait until the temperature is above freezing to repair your brick walkway.
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