Brick patios are beautiful additions to many homes – but like all brick walls, they can have some maintenance needs. There are a few common issues that brick walls have, even those that are on the ground. Those issues include bricks sinking, bricks getting damaged, and mortar disintegrating. These three issues can be easily remedied with a little bit of DIY knowledge. Here’s what you need to know to get started with each of these repairs:
Replacing Sinking Bricks
If you have bricks that are sinking, making your patio uneven, then you’ll need to replace the brick that has fallen below the level surface of the rest of the patio. First, remove the brick with a chisel, and then decide how you want to proceed. If your brick patio does not have the bricks set into mortar, your best bet may be to simply fill the space with concrete or gravel, and level it out carefully. If your patio does have bricks set into mortar, you’ll want to replace the bricks and apply new mortar.
This process will require that you wash the brick patio, so that you can make sure that your new mortar matches the actual color of the old mortar. Do this with a pressure washer, and then replace the bricks and mortar. You’ll then need to allow the patio a few days to dry and set before you disturb that area again.
Repairing Damaged Bricks
One common problem that brick patios have is that bricks will get a chip or get completely broken due to furniture, barbecue grills, or other heavy items being set down on the patio. This can leave you with a pothole that trips you every time you walk on your patio, or an unsightly hole in the patio floor. The first thing to do is to remove the broken or damaged brick. If it is loose enough to simply pull or pry out in one piece, always choose that route first. If not, don’t try to break it up into pieces to remove it. Instead, make holes in the surrounding mortar with a drill and loosen the brick till it comes out in one piece. This ensures that the surrounding bricks don’t get damaged along the way.
From there, you’ll need to install a new brick in the hole. It may take some time to match the color of the new brick to the old bricks, so be sure to power wash the surrounding bricks first. Weather makes bricks change color easily, and you don’t want to realize that your new one stands out like a sore thumb when rain cleans off your patio.
Repairing Disintegrating Mortar
Mortar that has started to disintegrate and crumble around bricks is another common problem on brick patios. This will eventually lead to the bricks becoming loose, which can lead to breakage, so you’ll want to take care of this problem right away. This is a very easy fix, and can be done quickly by anyone who is handy around the house.
First, remove the old mortar with a flat blade screwdriver, ice pick, or something similar. Be sure to get all the dust and loose mortar out of the area. Then combine your mortar according to the package instructions with water and sand, and any mortar coloring you plan to use. Spray the brick area with some water to get it wet, and apply the new mortar. Level it out and let it dry overnight.
Other Issues Brick Patios May Present
A brick patio can also be susceptible to mold, something common on bricks where moisture is frequently allowed to sit for too long. You will need to clean bricks to remove mold on a regular basis if you live in an area where the weather gets wet often. If it snows heavily in your area, you may want to cover your brick patio before the winter arrives to prevent this issues. Other problems that can affect brick structures include settling in the underlying soil or shifting foundations, both of which can cause bricks to crack and break very easily. Be sure that your brick patio is built on a very solid foundation and that you routinely check for settling issues to prevent your patio from being damaged.
With the proper care, brick patios can be a beautiful addition to a home. They make a fantastic place to gather outside for a meal, a party, or your morning coffee – and they only take a little bit of TLC to keep them looking great for the most part. Keep an eye out for the state of the mortar, the bricks themselves, and the level of the entire patio as a whole, to stop problems before they start to affect surrounding bricks.