So you have a brick patio. Great! But its old and needs to be leveled out? Well, with these instructions you will be able to do just that.
The first step in any construction job is to first understand what materials go into your project. So, lets take a look and see exactly what is underneath those bricks so that you can understand why you are having problems, and know what your looking at when you remove the bricks.
At the very base of your brick patio is a black landscaping fabric. This fabric creates a barrier between the materials underneath the bricks and the soil.
Over the landscaping fabric is generally 4" to 6" of compacted gravel. This gravel gives the bricks a steady surface on which to lay on, as well as allow the flow of water through so that you won't have standing water on the surface of your patio. Because the gravel is compacted prior to the next step, it should not be responsible for an unlevel patio.
On top of the compacted gravel and just under the bricks is roughly 1" of sand. The sand gives the bricks a level surface to lay on if done right. If you are having trouble with your patio being level, then it is probably due to the sand being unequally distributed over the gravel.
Now that you know where there problems can occur, you will be able to determine upon inspection what steps to follow in order to fix it.
The amount of time required can vary greatly depending on the size of your patio. It is a good rule of thumb however to expect it to be an all day activity if you have the help of a few people, and you have a small brick patio. Otherwise expect it to take a few weekends if you have a large patio or if you do it by yourself.
(1) Rubber hammer
(2) 3/4" steel pipes (needs to be shorter than the width of your patio)
(1) Straight 2" x 4" piece of lumber
A few bags of sand
Step 1: Find an Area to Stage Sand and Bricks
The first order of business, before taking bricks off, is to figure out where you will put all your materials and tools. Pick a spot close to your patio so that you are not hauling things long distances, but far away enough so that not everything is in your way.
Step 2: Removing Bricks
After you have figured out where you will put everything and have your equipment ready its time to start removing bricks. Remove the bricks starting from a corner or edge and work your way out till all of the bricks have been moved to your staging area.
Note: The first brick is the hardest, so if your having trouble use the screwdriver and hammer to create a gap between that stubborn brick and the soil next to it.
Step 3: Adding Sand
After you remove the bricks it is time to add sand. You DO NOT want to add all the sand at once. Instead add a little sand in the problem areas. You may need to add sand later on while leveling the sand.
Step 4: Leveling Sand
After you have added sand in the problem areas, take your two 3/4" pipes and place them in the sand so they have a slight angle downwards towards the edge for drainage. From here, take your 2" x 4" and start leveling out the sand, while using the 3/4" pipes as guides and adding more sand as required. Also use the trowel to level out those nooks and crannies that you were not able to get with the 2" x 4".
Step 5: Place Brick
Now that the sand is level its time to place the brick. When placing the bricks you will again want to start from a corner and work your way out. Make sure that when you are placing the bricks, that they are right up against each other.
Step 6: Filling in the Cracks
After you have placed all the brick it is time for the finishing touches. Take some more of the sand and spread it out over the bricks, and use the broom to sweep the sand over the cracks. This will fill in the cracks between the bricks and will leave your patio looking nice and level. Then after the next heavy rain repeat this step and enjoy your now level patio.