How to Lay a Mortar Base Brick Driveway

Brick patios, walks and brick driveways are among of the easiest-to-build home projects. Also, outdoor walkways and paths make your yard more inviting, increase your home’s value, and make large yards easier to navigate. Brick driveway paving stones can be obtained in a wide variety of shapes, colors, and textures. This material is usually very durable when a sealer is applied to the surface.

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There are two main types of installation methods for laying brick pavers.

1) “Dry” method – you use a bed of compacted gravel and sand rather than mortar.
2) The mortar-based method – gives you a more stable structure that can stand the test of time.

Clay paver colors and shapes can often be mixed together to form interesting designs and patterns. The texture of these pavers varies from smooth to rough, and the natural colors usually blend well with surrounding areas.

Like in any building project the secret to paving a driveway using bricks is in the preparation.

1/ Use a map of your property to plan out the path. Consider the patio, garden, driveway, or other area that needs a connecting walkway. Also, plan the brick pattern.

2/ Make sure no utility lines or pipes are in the excavation area. Although you probably won’t be digging very deep, these lines could be a problem.

3/ Excavate the area where you want to lay the pavers, approximately 6 inches deep into the ground, and 4 inches wider than the planned width.

4/ Build a border for the concrete by lining one 2-by-4 along each of the four inside walls of the excavation area. Attach the boards to each other with a hammer and nails.

5/ Place sheets of reinforcing steel mesh in the area were going to concrete, cutting it to fit if necessary.

6/ Mix the concrete according to the package instructions, and pour the concrete into the excavation area to a height of about 4 inches.

7/ Drag a 2-by-4 across the surface of the concrete to get a smooth, even layer.

8/ Allow the concrete to dry for 24 hours before proceeding.

9/ Mix up some mortar, usually in a cement mixer, using a ratio of 4 washed sand to 1 cement and water to suit. Mortar has to be nice and creamy.

10/ Start in a corner (usually the front door), and apply a 1-inch layer of mortar on top of the concrete,  so there’s enough mortar to lay no more than four pavers down at a time.

11/ Spread the mortar with a trowel, and set the pavers on top of the mortar, leaving around 1/8-inch of space between each of the bricks. Continue working in small sections and lay enough mortar for four pavers at a time until all pavers have been set.

12/ Let the brick path dry completely over night. If necessary, cover it with a tarp to keep out moisture.

13/ Mix the grout in a bucket according to the package instructions. Use one of the sponges to spread the grout in the spaces between each of the pavers.

14/ Use a bucket of water and a separate sponge, and wipe away any grout on the surface of the pavers. Allow 12 hours for the grout to dry completely, and your patio will be ready to use.

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