DIY: Make Pathways From Used Brick

DIY–Basic steps to make attractive walkways from reclaimed brick:

Start by raking to remove all weeds and debris.

Level the area at the depth of the bricks. If you have expansive soil, you may want to put down a couple of inches of sand.

Place bricks around the border, and then start a pattern with some random curves.

Fill in the pattern, using a 5/8″ to 3/4″ gap around the brick on all sides. Don’t be afraid of using half bricks and broken pieces–it comes out looking better that way. I use a hammer to break the brick when I need angle pieces (you can score the back with a tile saw if you are having a hard time breaking them)–use safety glasses.

Next, mix dry sand and portland cement 50/50, and spread it over the brick, pushing it down into the cracks. (UPDATE 11/03/12 — I have been using ready-to-use “Quikrete” instead of the portland/sand mixture, and it works just as well. Just be sure that you have at least 5/8″ – 3/4″ gap between the bricks because this mixture has little rocks (agrregate) in it.)

Pack the sand/portland mixture down into the cracks. I use a narrow stick or just my gloved fingers.

When all the cracks are filled, gently sweep away the extra dry cement mixture. Don’t get too aggressive with the broom, you want to leave the cracks full of the mixture, and the dust that you see on top is not a problem.

Finally, use a hose to gently spray the pathway, cleaning the tops of the bricks and moistening the cement mixture. Don’t go overboard with the hose or you’ll wash away your cement. Just spray off the dust on top of the bricks. After it sets over night, go ahead and spray it again. Spray it down once a day for the next two days. Enjoy your new path!

Other projects from benriddering.com:

Reclaimed brick driveway

Rustic modern kitchen

Hanging beds

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21 thoughts on “DIY: Make Pathways From Used Brick

    • Gary, This is a mix of your bricks and some others I found along the way….I like to mix up the colors. Thanks again for the brick!

  1. Followed ur instructions, i had never attempted anything like this. Ur steps made me realize this was something i could do. And i did, my path/walk way made from my brick collection turned out really nice. Thanks so much. U both rock!

  2. Did any of the bricks have mortar on them? If so, did you remove the mortar or just fill in around it? I have a brick chimney that needs to come down and am looking for projects to use the salvaged bricks.

  3. Hello!

    My husband and I are wanting to put down a small patio with salvaged bricks too. How did you calculate the amount of concrete and sand you needed? We don’t have much money to spend on this project so I want to have a good estimate of how much it’ll cost us before we start.

    Thank your for your answer, in advanced; and thank you so much for your page. We didn’t know what to do with all the bricks. We brought them home because they were free but couldn’t figure out what to do with them.

    • Hi Perla, It is very hard to calculate the amount of dry concrete mixture to buy because the gaps between the brick, and the number of gaps (more partial bricks = more gaps = more concrete), etc. I have been using Sakrete or Quickrete lately. Both are premixed and you just pour it over the top and brush it down into the gaps with a broom. This type of concrete mix is very affordable. I recommend buying plenty and then just returning whatever you don’t use.

  4. Your projects amaze me. I intend to reuse every found and acquired brick left in my yard. My problem is they vary in width. Please tell me this won’t be a problem. Every brick seemed to be to be of the same dimension. I cannot tell if it matters. I’d like not to fail again. Many thanks!

    • If you are talking about the bricks varying in height, it could be a tripping hazard, but we found that you can tap the taller ones down with a mallet (it’s just packed dirt underneath). If the bricks are within 1/4″ in height you should be ok.

  5. What kind of quickrete did you use? I’m planning on extending my driveway so I don’t step on the grass. I bought some quickrete fast setting concrete. Thanks!

  6. We have had brick used as border around our flower beds but found that grasses kept creeping over them and I had to use an edger a couple of times a year to keep it under control. We are in the process of using cement curbing around the beds now and dear hubby wants to get rid of all the brick. NO WAY I say. A few years ago a friend used a process like yours and that’s why I want to save them. Now I know how to do it thanks to you. Can’t wait to get it started.

  7. Hi. I’m wondering how the pathway is holding up a few years later? I’m thinking to do the same but wondering if a more substantial sub base than just sand will be better for the long term.

    • Yes, I definitely recommend a better base! After a couple of years the path started to crack along the joints. The cracks added to the rustic look, but the weeds that begin to grow up through are a pain.

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