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How to Repair a Brick Walkway

Resurrecting a sunken brick path with This Old House landscape contractor Roger Cook.

In this video, This Old House landscape contractor Roger Cook resurrects a sunken brick path.

Steps for Repairing a Brick Walkway:

  1. Pull up all the bricks from the existing walkway and neatly stack them off to the side.
  2. Excavate all the sand from the walkway using a pointed shovel. Dump sand into wheelbarrow and carry it away.
  3. Stretch a taut mason's line between metal stakes to represent the edges of the new walkway.
  4. Dig out 6 inches of dirt beyond the layout lines at each edge of the walkway.
  5. Stretch a second mason's line between the stakes, pitching it down from the house ¼ inch per foot of distance.
  6. Thoroughly tamp down the ground using a gas-powered plate compactor.
  7. Spread 2 inches of ¾-inch crushed stone mixed with stone dust over the tamped-down soil, and compact the area again.
  8. Use a hand tamper to flatten any areas not reached by the plate compactor.
  9. Dig a narrow trench along each edge of the walkway and install a wooden form. Secure the form with wooden stakes.
  10. Fasten the form boards to the stakes with 2-inch screws. Take down the mason's lines.
  11. Use a rubber mallet to tap vertical edge bricks, called sailors, flush with the form.
  12. Rake a ¾-inch-deep setting bed of stone dust over the compacted stone base.
  13. Use a screed to level the setting bed, then tamp down the setting bed with the plate compactor.
  14. Starting at the house, begin laying bricks in a running bond pattern onto the setting bed. Tap the bricks flush with the sailors using the rubber mallet.
  15. Use shorter half bricks to negotiate around curves in the walkway.
  16. After setting all the bricks, cover the walkway with a thick layer of stone dust.
  17. Sweep the stone dust into the cracks between the bricks using a push broom.
  18. Unscrew and remove the form boards and stakes.
  19. Mix concrete in a wheelbarrow and then shovel concrete into the trench behind each row of sailors.
  20. Smooth the concrete curbs with a pointed trowel, angling the concrete away from the bricks.
  21. After the concrete cures, backfill alongside the walkway with topsoil. Cover the soil with mulch or grass seed.

Tools: