Using river rock as a patio stone

Old 02-26-22, 09:23 AM
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Using river rock as a patio stone

So Iíve had this vision for a patio behind my house for some time. Iíve collected several hundred recycled Brick and hundred or so sqft of river/creek rock. Ideally Iíd like the center of my patio to be made from the bricks. Itíll give me a solid, uniform, and level plane for a patio table and chairs. That part seems pretty straight forward. Then I intended to take the River rock and surround the Brick center to expand my square footage. The irregular sized/shaped river rock will require more sand underneath to allow for leveling and compensate for the variations in thickness of the rocks. And although I intend to try to fill in as much as possible with smaller rocks, the joints on the rock side will be a lot wider and vary in size. I guess thatís a long way of asking what type of base and sand/gap filler would you recommend for the Brick and the rock. Iíve included apicture of my rock so you can see the material in working with. Also appreciate all those trips out of the creek loading that rock! Haha
Old 02-26-22, 11:11 AM
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Although I installed a large patio with pavers, I never used rock as you plan on doing. I would think cement would be the medium to hold the river rock in place and provide minimum maintenance. But I'm no expert.
Old 02-26-22, 11:46 AM
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I've seen river rock patios a couple times (Realtor working in the area between the Delaware and Schuylkill Rivers.)
Usually, you dig out the future patio area down to subsoil (around me, on ridge tops, that's only 6" to 8")
and then put down a layer of 'grit' or 'chips' (as in oil and chip for road maintenance WITHOUT dust) and then layout the bricks / stones in the pattern you want.
Finally, you 'lock in' the pattern by spreading a dry mix of slaked lime and 'stone & dust" (grit WITH stone dust) over the pattern, use a broom to spread, then wet down with a hose and let it set overnight.
Grit, dust & lime sets up hard, can't scrape with a fingernail, can scrape with a screwdriver, and can be 'repacked" by tamping down if any specific stone comes loose.
Old 02-26-22, 12:21 PM
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Will there be a lot of water running through the patio?
Old 02-26-22, 04:22 PM
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So first thing, I don't see any "river rock" just a bunch of bricks (any idea if they are fired or clay?) and stone pieces in the picture!

Not sure of your location but patios require concrete products with sufficient drainage to remove water so that they don't heave and crack with winter freeze thaw. Trying to use improper materials is going to lead to a short life span.
Old 02-27-22, 06:12 AM
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[QUOTE​​​​​​=Marq1]So first thing, I don't see any "river rock" [/QUOTE]
Well, not cobbles, but rock from the creek or stream.
However, that MAY be an issue, because the 'river rock' is likely pore saturated, while the bricks are kiln fired & dry, they will react slightly differently, bricks will absorb moisture, rocks will lose moisture and may spall.
So, the thing to do is 'season' the material, set it out where it will be, so that it equilibrates with the local humidity- you want the rocks or bricks to swell / flake / spall BEFORE your set them.

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