clock menu more-arrow no yes

How to Redo a Brick Path

In this video, This Old House Mason Mark McCullough helps a homeowner redo his brick walkway that was originally a rush job. He explains that walkways need a sturdy, consistent base so it is not a project to be rushed.

Mark and the homeowner tear up the old bricks and save as many as they can to reuse later on. Mark explains that every good walkway uses three ingredients: crusher run, stone dust, and a good edging. Not compacting the base enough can also cause bumps in a walkway, and a simple plastic edging to both sides of the walkway will ensure that the walkway is held in place.

Steps for Redoing a Brick Path:

  1. Remove old bricks and save any bricks in good condition to use for the new path.
  2. Use a rake to loosen up any crushed stone and stone dust that was sitting under the brick. You’ll want to get to the very base of the pathway. Use a shovel to put the excess to the side. In general, Mark likes to dig a 6-8” trench.
  3. Compact the soil to make sure it’s even and firm. Compacting can be the most time-consuming part of the job, renting a compactor from any home center can make it easier. When the layers are not compacted enough, it can result in an uneven walkway.
  4. Shovel the old crushed stone back in and/or add new crusher run if needed. Mark likes to use 3” of crushed stone, which allows for water drainage and helps mitigate any freeze/thaw conditions that will move the walkway.
  5. Compact.
  6. Add in the stone dust. This top layer will smooth out the crushed stone and gives a flat surface to place the bricks on.
  7. Compact. Spraying water right before compacting can keep the dust down.
  8. Lay the bricks down. Mark chose to install the bricks end-to-end instead of side-to-side as the homeowner had. Mark’s way is usually more pleasing to the eye and there are fewer cuts to make this way.
  9. Install the plastic edging. Line it up against the brick and nail it down.
  10. Sweep the stone dust into the joints. This will solidify the brick walkway and keep the weeds away.
  11. Rinse the stone dust on top of the pavers using the lightest possible setting on the hose.
  12. The rinse will sink the stone dust deeper into the cracks, so there will be gaps visible again. After the walkway dries, spread another coat of stone dust and sweep it into the cracks and the walkway should now be tight and solid.

To finish it off, Mark and the homeowner brush stone dust in between each joint to solidify the brick walkway and keep the weeds away.


Resources:

To repair the walkway, Mark reused as much existing material as possible.

For the base, Mark recommends a layer of crushed stone and stone dust. These can be found in most landscape supply stores and nurseries. To compact everything, Mark used a plate compactor, which can be rented from most home centers.

The homeowner’s original bricks were McAvoy Pavers, which can be found at brickyards. Mark reused as many of the homeowner’s bricks and mixed in the new ones along the walkway so they would blend in.

To keep the walkway together and help prevent weeds, Mark also installed No-Dig Landscape Edging, which is manufactured by Vigoro and available at most home centers.


Materials:


Tools: