How to Repair a Stone Walkway

A stone walkway in the yard of someone's home is often as rare as it is expensive and time consuming to install. And, for the homeowner who has enjoyed his stone walkway, he will typically want to keep it looking as attractive as possible. He may find maintaining his walkway requiring more work to maintain if he lives in a harsher climate. Here's how you can repair your stone walkway with minimum effort and maximum results.

Things you'll need:

  • Pressure washer
  • Pry bars

Step 1 – Assess Damage

If you live in a harsh climate and winter may have caused some damage to your walkway, spring is the time to examine your stones for cracks, or stones that are broken, tipped, or heaved out of place. Stones whose surfaces have become uneven can present hazards to family or guests who will be using them. For those stones that are so severely cracked that they have broken apart, you may want to re-space them. Furthermore, you'll need to re-set those stones that have been heaved or removed from their places. While examining your stones, look also at the soil on which the stones are laid. Determine if it might need re-grading. If you see low spots along the path that can collect pools of rain water or melting snow, you may want to fill them in before arranging your walkway stones.

Step 2 – Prepare Your Walkway for Repairs

Before replacing or repairing stones in your walkway, identify those you may wish to dispose of such as those that are broken, heavily chipped, or discolored by weather, moss, or molds. Remove these stones rather than spending unnecessary time cleaning and repositioning them. For those stones that have survived and are still in place, give them a good cleaning with a high pressure washer. Next, pull up any grass you don't want between your stones. You may wish to keep the more slow-growing, fine blade grass while disposing of the orchard grasses and less attractive species such as Bermuda grass.

Step 3 – Choosing Replacement Stones

In replacing those stones you want to discard, try to acquire stones that are similar in appearance and quality with the older stones that are still in place. You'll not only want them to be the same in appearance as to size, color, shape, and type, but you'll want them to last through future, tough winters. Although it may be tempting to purchase less expensive stones, such as flagstones for replacement, consider their durability and the likelihood of their remaining in place over the next few years. Heavier and more durable stones will be less likely to be moved and broken.

 Step 4 – Replacing Stones

Remove stones that are broken or discolored by using a pry bar. Force the end of the bar beneath the stone, then pry the stones upward to allow a helper to get his hands beneath the stones. It may take more than two people to lift them out of place, depending on how large they are and how much they've settled into place in the walkway. Put new stones of similar color, size and shape in the place of the stones you've removed.