1/2 DIY 30' Brick Path Installation

Old 03-17-09, 09:18 AM
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Question 1/2 DIY 30' Brick Path Installation

Installing approx 4' wide x 30' long brick path. Elongated "S" curve. Went to mason yard to price gravel, sand, brick, edging, compactor rental, etc. Shop owner said why bother? They can pour a concrete base (essentially a sidewalk with wire, expansion joints etc) to the proper depth and slope and I can rent a brick saw and install the brick on top myself. Seems like I can avoid a boatload of work for not much more cost.
Is this a good idea? What problems/future concerns am I not considering?
I plan on laying a few short pieces of sprinkler hose before the pour for that next project. Thanks in advance for your replies.
Old 03-17-09, 10:29 AM
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Cleveland, OH USA
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too solid of a base

I am no expert but I would think that the typical sand and gravel base used for brick/stone walks is better than concrete since it allows each brick to settle and be supported. If the slab of concrete were to heave or settle, a large number of bricks would be unsettled and uneven. If the same area were affected with a sand/gravel base, only a couple of bricks would be affected - if any. The solution to uneven concrete is either expensive or heavy labor. For a sand base, I would think you may not experience any uneveness since the sand and gravel might not be disturbed by the same cicumstances that a solid concrete walk might.

Another consideration is that about the same work is invovled in digging for the concrete base or for a sand gravel base. A deeper cut may be needed for the concrete since you need its depth plus a stone base below that (at least that is how I see most sidewalks poured). Is setting a sand/gravel base more or less labor and cost than concrete? I imagine they might be pretty similar - especially if you are doing the work yourself.

One last thought is that I can see the concrete base being used for a brick or paving stone covered driveway which might benefit from a very solid base due to the weight it needs to support. For a long winding walk, I think you are asking for trouble with it.

- Peter
Old 03-17-09, 10:41 AM
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It depends upon your expectations (and climate). If you want a perfectly flat and level walkway, then put a concrete base under it. If you are OK with a slightly rolling surface, don't.

Climate permitting of course.
Old 03-17-09, 11:40 AM
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Details left out

I am located in southern NY on a barrier island. Soil is shallow on the front lawn 8"-12". Below is sand. Lawn drainage appears to be good. No tree roots involved. Current sidewalk displays no sign of shifting.
The reason I am interested in the concrete sidewalk-like slab beneath the brick is because included in the price of the concrete pour they will form out the "S" (as defined by me) as well as remove/discard the existing sod up to a boundary larger than the path itself that will I will later plant and install lighting.
What remains for me regarding the path itself is setting and cutting the brick. I am most concerned now with the notion of the slab heaving.
In my given area should I be concerned?
Should I be expecting a gravel base beneath the slab?
Should I be avoiding this methodology altogether?

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