How to Lay Brick on a Sand and Gravel Base to Build a Patio

There are a few different ways to create a patio and the material you use is up to you. This article will explain how to use brick for a patio on a sand and gravel base. Bricks make a good patio surface and is relatively easy to do. Once you have the edging done on a brick surface the rest is easy.

Start laying the bricks from one corner, spacing them 1/8 inch apart or less. If you are working on a large tan tilt umbrellas, run a mason’s line across the patio to mark the edge of the bricks. Use a rubber mallet to tap the bricks into place on the sand bed. You don’t have to hit the bricks too hard, just enough to let them settle into the sand. Check with a level to make sure the bricks are the same height as the edging. It is important to make the bricks level or you will have issues down the road. If a brick is too high simply remove it and take some sand out of the area to make it level. Just the opposite, if a brick seems too low simply add some sand to raise the level. Again, the level of the bricks is important so they stay consistent throughout the patio.

Start the second row with a half brick, this will create a stagger and a better look for the overall patio. If you use a full brick every time to start, it will leave all the seams of the bricks the same and it looks funny. To cut the half brick, score it by lightly tapping a brick chisel placed along the line to be cut. You don’t need to hit it too hard or it will shatter the brick. Break the brick by placing it on sand and striking with one final blow of a rubber mallet or small sledge hammer. Lay the half brick to start the second row and then finish the row with full bricks. This takes a little more time but it creates a much better look for the overall patio. Once the second row is done lay the third as you did the first and continue rotating until the patio is complete.

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As you lay rows of brick, make sure you continually check for level. Once you get off level and don’t realize it, it’s very hard to correct it. It’s much easier to check often than find out half way through that you need to go back and make adjustments. An easy way to check level is to put a straight 2×4 or a level across the bricks. Keep laying bricks and checking for level as you move along.

When all the bricks are laid, pour fine sand which is usually called mason’s sand or silica, across the patio. With a stiff brush or broom, brush the patio surface until the joints between the bricks are filled. You don’t want to overfill but about 1/8 inch below the brick line is good. If you get too much sand between the joints you will just have sand everywhere after you are done with your project.

The last step is to seat your bricks, or in other words set them so they don’t move. To seat the bricks firmly in place, pass over the patio with a power tamper. A power tamper is available at any rental store and can be rented by the hour. A tamper is basically a power vibrator that compacts the bricks into the sand to create a solid pack. Once the tampering is finished you should mist the patio with water to help the sand settle. The sand may settle a little more than expected and you may need to add more as it settles. Just make sure all the joints are filled evenly and the bricks are secure in their spots.

You are done with your patio, if you choose to use bricks you will be very pleased once it is done. It does take some time and patience but the end result will be well worth it. It will seem difficult at first but once you get the hang of it you will become a professional patio builder before you know it.

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