Brick In Concrete Slab/Walk Construction

Old 07-23-06, 08:24 AM
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Question Brick In Concrete Slab/Walk Construction

Believe it or not, I have searched in books on masonry construction and the internet, but nothing shows up specific to this particular challenge.
I currently have a concrete slab stoop at the front door. I would like to enlarge the stoop area by adding a second section, about 6' x 5', but do not want to make it all concrete. I would like this second slab to appear as concrete with about 3'x4' of brick pavers centered within the slab. The bricks are full size, and I would like to butt them next to each other with no mortar in a running bond pattern so they present a nice solid look. The top of the bricks would be flush with the surrounding concrete. Basically this slab would be a rectangular donut of concrete surrounding a slab of bricks. You'll usually see this look in municipal sidewalks and gardens. My questions concern the construction and order of tasks.
1) Should I lay the brick first, and then pour the concrete that would surround it? If so, how do I hold the bricks in place while pouring the concrete. I want the concrete to butt right up to the bricks. (No edging should show, and I don't plan on using an edging tool where the concrete and brick touch.) Or should I create a wood form that represents the center brick section, pour the surrounding concrete, and go back after the concrete has cured to fit the bricks within the center?
2) I am located in Michigan and am concerned on freeze thaw cycles. Should the bricks be set on a gravel/sand base which would probably be better for the F/thaw or concrete/mortar? G/sand is fine, but we do tend to get ants between cracks in brick in other areas. I thought the concrete/mortar might be better for the ant problem. Also, the slab will be next to the house and under a water faucet. It will be sloped.
3) "Break lines" vs. No breaklines. Esthetically, it would be nice if this rectangle donut of concrete didn't have any break lines edged in to it. Just a nice ring of concrete surrounding the square brick center. Do you think I'm tempting fate? Again, the entire section will only be about 6'x5'.
4) Finally, the bricks will be butted next to each other in a running bond pattern. There will no doubt be some naturally occuring gaps between bricks, would it be best to fill gaps with dry mortar? Sand? Or just leave mortar? Again, we're in Michigan.
If there is something I should be aware of, please don't hesitate to point it out. This project isn't large, but it will be one of the first things visitors see. If it goes as well as I hope, I'd like to duplicate the look in other areas. Thanks in advance for your suggestions.
Old 07-23-06, 11:10 AM
Join Date: Mar 2005
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Tempting fate

As you said in your 3rd point, you are definitely tempting fate, especially if you are thinking about a 4" or so slab surrounding a brick panel of brick with nothing under it. It seems to me you would have 12" wide "square donut" surrounding the brick. I may have missed something in your explanation.

What you see in typical municpal construction applications is often a slab with another slab poured over it. Often, thin paving brick are used and are set in the second concrete slab or just in a thicker base slab. There are many methods.

A couple of problems you face with your proposal:

1) If you pour a 12" wide slab around your 3' x 4' brick portion, you can expect cracks in the concrete radiating out from the corners of the brick section. You will have to use lengthwise and diagonal rebars (not wire mesh) and be lucky to avoid the cracks as the concrete shrinks.

2) Your brick will be bearing on the soil, so you will have to compact the soil so you have absolutely no settlement with time - lots of base and compaction effort.

Consider a different approach if you must have this appearance.

Setting thin paving brick into a thick slab makes more sense. Then you can worry about the joints. Any joints or cracks are an invitation for ants - that is why they make sprays and breed anteaters.


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