• RepurposedReno

Repairing Brick Pavers

One of the most rewarding, albeit labor intensive, DIY projects I have done is regrouting brick pavers. I remember watching an episode of Fixer Upper where they repaved or smeared the brick exterior of a home using only mortar mix. Since I had a very sad brick patio expanding my backyard I got the confidence I needed by watching the show (and reading This Bob Vila article) to give it a go. I am now a huge fan of this project, because even though it is an intense workout, the results bring instant gratification for under $40.

Before: Our patio pavers had lost most of their mortar

To begin you'll want to wet the brick and sweep off any loose debris. If you have weeds between the bricks try to get rid of them or at least pull out as much of the weed as you can. The bricks don't need to be pressure washed because the lime and sand in the mortar will scrub them clean during this process. The brick needs to stay wet during most this process so the mortar doesn't dry too fast, so having the hose nearby is a must.

Before: Our brick walkway was full of weeds and needed repaving

You will also need a bag of mortar mix, and because there are many kinds to chose from you might want to get a small bag to test an area before you commit to a large bag. You will also want a couple tile sponges, a couple 5 gallon buckets, a set of dish gloves (to keep the hands and arms protected from the abrasive mortar) and a large stir stick.

Apply the mortar in circular motions to ensure it is applied evenly

As you mix up your mortar pay close attention to the consistency. If the mortar is too thick it might dry too quickly before you spread it out, so I stay on the side of it being a little too runny. Again, doing a test area is a great idea to help you find the right mixture and method to apply the mortar. Since I have done this a couple times now I typically just dump a pile of mortar and use the tile sponge to get it evenly in the groves. Whenever the mixture gets too dry I just add more water with the hose to allow myself time to continue working on an area before it sets. Some mortar only takes a few minutes to set, especially if you are working in direct sunlight.

To apply the mortar just keep moving your tile sponge in a circular motion. This is the intense workout I was discussing, and if you are repaving a large area plan to do it over a couple days because your arms will be very tired. As the mortar begins drying this is a great time to mist the bricks and continue wiping with a wet tile sponge. Rinse sponges as needed in a 5 gallon buck of water or with the hose.

The goal is for the grout to be level with the brick, and have no extra grout spilling onto the brick because grout mounds are permanent. What is not permanent is the light color your brick will first be because of the abrasive scrubbing it just received. The brick will dry very light at first, but will return back to its true color once it has been rained on for a season or two.

After: The brick will dry very light and return back to a more red color after it is rained on for a season or two

After: this brick walkway is no longer a weed haven

After: the brick patio is much more inviting

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