Reclaimed thin pavers for a patio?

kazan_noDecember 29, 2011

Hello everyone! I live in an old house on a small city lot and I am hoping to brick the whole backyard/courtyard (with patches of gravel, raised beds, etc.) but there are a few obstacles. The current surface is extremely hard and near impossible to dig. Because of this and the fact that I'll have to use a bucket to remove the dirt (the side alleys are too narrow for a wheelbarrow), excavation seems near impossible. In searching for ways to build the patio, I came across used St. Louis brick pavers that have been sliced to roughly 3/4" thick. I got excited because I realized I could reduce the total thickness of the patio by half, which would minimize the 'step' up or even make the excavation doable. But the more I think about it, the more worried I am about the durability of a patio made of such thin used pavers and sand. Does anyone have experience with this? Do you think using sliced used bricks and sand for a patio is ok? Any thoughts or concerns would be greatly appreciated!

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Personally, I would not use thin pavers as my patio. I suspect they are intended for attachment to concrete, either covering an existing patio or for stairs. More than likely they will crack on gravel when put into use.

You don't mention your location/climate but a paver patio requires a base. This is to permit drainage, allow for seasonal shifting and for leveling.

It sounds like you have a difficult space. How large is the area and what size patio do you wish? If you generously water the space does the soil soften and permit you to dig (or use a pick ax)? Can you raise it overall? Do you have standing water following rain? Are you in a frost zone? Where I reside (upper midwest) my paver patio required a 6" gravel base. Good luck.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2011 at 7:45AM
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Thanks fnmroberts! I live in New Orleans so I'm not too concerned about freezing but I do wonder about drainage. All the houses around me are raised and, as is, the yard doesn't flood when we get heavy rain. The total area of the space is roughly 30' x 40' but there's a shed and a few raised beds so I won't be covering the whole space. I'm going to try the watering idea and see if that helps soften the dirt for removal. The more I think about it, the more I'm realizing I'm going to have to stick to regular bricks and I'm either going to have to dig up the yard somehow or have a raised patio. Should be interesting. Thanks again!

    Bookmark   December 30, 2011 at 9:28AM
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You must have been spared the personal misfortunes of Katrina. Love New Orleans!

Interesting that you don't get water when your neighbors are elevated and your ground is hard. Pavers will absorb nothing and unless a base is provided permitting water between the pavers to go through it must run somewhere - potentially causing a problem. Consider a French Drain.

When I built our patio, it extended into a graded run off making it necessary that I build a retaining wall. To prevent water being held, I installed a French Drain below the patio that daylights to the side lawn. Any standing water against the patio disappears in less than an hour.

The linked photos can hopefully give you an idea of what I mean but don't show the drainage itself.

Here is a link that might be useful: Patio

    Bookmark   December 30, 2011 at 12:55PM
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