How To Recycle Used Bricks To Create A Walkway

Bricks are truly a multipurpose building materials and can be used for any number of projects beyond construction. Their versatility and reusable nature means that even old bricks still possess value through brick salvage. As such, recycled bricks from demolition projects are an ideal choice for lots of building projects, one of which is described below. Recycled bricks can often be purchased for less money than new, and the wide variety of colors and textures adds to the unique nature of your project. Here is how you can use old bricks to construct an exterior walkway that will be both beautiful and unique:

What You Will Need

  • Bricks

  • Spade and/or sod cutter

  • Rake

  • Tamping tool

  • Broom

  • Carpenter's level

  • Wooden stakes

  • String

  • Construction sand

  • Measuring tape

Step-by-Step Procedure

1. Determine the layout of the walkway - Deciding where to place the walkway is the first step, and you will want to be sure you are careful about its layout before beginning construction. For example, make note of nearby trees and the potential for roots to push up bricks. You will want to avoid routing the path too close to these areas, or you may be faced with major reconstruction within a few years. In addition, be sure to consider other issues such as slopes and flooding, as these problems can interfere with the usability of the walkway.

Once you have made a decision about the layout of the walkway, use string and wooden stakes to mark boundaries along each side of the walkway. A tape measure will help ensure you keep the width of the walkway consistent along its entire course.

2. Remove the sod - Once the path has been marked, the next step is to remove the sod that covers the bare soil beneath. A spade can be used to remove the sod, but a sod cutter makes for easier work and will finish the job faster. Remove approximately 4 inches of sod and rake the surface to flatten and smooth it. In addition, be sure to take out any large rocks or other objects that might interfere with the bricks.

3. Prepare the base of the walkway - After the sod has been removed and the soil has been smoothed and flattened, you will need to carefully prepare the base to provide a firm foundation for the walkway. Otherwise, the walkway is likely to shift and lose its integrity as it comes under siege by the rain and elements. In addition, heavy loads or high use can disturb a poorly laid foundation and brick walkway, so it is important to get this step right.

To prepare the base, pour about one inch of construction sand on top of the bare soil and pack it down with a tamping tool. If necessary, use a carpenter's level to help keep the sandy surface flat as you work. Make sure the sand is firm and even before moving on to the final step of placing the bricks.

4. Lay the bricks - Once the base has been prepared with sand, you can begin laying bricks on top of the sand. Feel free to use your imagination and lay the bricks in any pattern that you desire. However, be sure not to leave substantial gaps between bricks as you work, or the bricks may shift due to a lack of support on all four sides. In addition, as you work, try not to disrupt the packed sand base, and tamp the sand again should you step on it or otherwise mar its smooth surface.

After all the bricks are in place, sprinkle construction sand all over the surface of the bricks. Vigorously sweep the sand to push it into the crevices and cracks between the bricks; this will help "lock" the bricks into position and prevent shifting.