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Pros and Cons of a Brick Paver Driveway

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brick paver driveway
Photo courtesy Gregs Landscaping @ flickr/Creative Commons
Like other types of pavers, clay brick pavers have been used as a surfacing material for centuries. Though bricks are somewhat fragile compared to cobblestone and concrete pavers, with a good base and regular maintenance, they can easily stand up to normal driveway usage.

Although standard bricks are clay-colored and rectangular, many shapes and colors of brick are now available. Depending on your choice, you can create a driveway that looks like it's been around for 100 years or one that fits right in with modern house and landscape designs.

What Are Brick Pavers?

Brick pavers are a manufactured product made of clay that is heat cured, usually in the shape of a rectangle.

How To Maintain Brick Pavers

A brick paver driveway should be washed once or twice a year. To ensure a long life, the bricks should be sealed after each washing.

How Long Will a Brick Paver Driveway Last?

A properly installed brick paver driveway should last at least 25 years.

What Does a Brick Paver Driveway Cost?

You should be able to buy the materials needed for a brick paver driveway for about $5 per square foot. If you plan to do the job yourself, the labor will be free. A professional installation will probably start at about $10 per square foot, although fancier designs and pricier bricks can drive that price even higher.

How Is a Cobblestone Paver Driveway Installed?

Brick pavers can be set in either sand or mortar. This article will address a sand installation.

As with any driveway material, the key to a good brick paver driveway is a well-prepared base. Remove the soil (or the existing driveway) to a depth of at least 12 in. Make sure the surface is graded to encourage water running away from the garage. Compact the soil, then add 8 to 12 in. of gravel. Compact the gravel, then add 1-1/2 in. of sand. Level the sand with a long 2x4 or the back edge of a rake.

When the base is ready, start laying bricks in a pattern you like. Bricks can be cut individually, but it can be much quicker to trim the edges all at once with a handheld cut-off saw. When that's done, plan to set the perimeter bricks in concrete, even if the rest of the driveway is set only in sand. This will help keep the driveway bricks from falling away along the edges. You might also want to use some other material, such as stones or concrete pavers, on the edges to provide contrast. Another option is to set bricks on their sides rather than flat to clearly outline the driveway.

Finally, begin sweeping sand into the joints between bricks. Compact the surface, add more sand, and compact again.

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