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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am basically a landscape contractor (retired from road construction) but have built some brick and cobblestone walls, layed mortarless brick patios etc. I have taken on a job of installing a 1200 sq ft brick patio using old brick over a poured slab. The brick are ALL different sizes width, length and thickness. (I can give dimensions if wanted) My first question is what will be the best brick pattern to use to accomodate the varying sizes of brick. They want a basketweave. Second, how do I lay it out. I suppose I will need to make fat mortar joints to make up for the length and width of the brick? I plan on using a grout bag to fill in the joints. Is this advisable. What sand/mortar mix ratio is used in laying brick pavers. ANY help with this will be greatly appreciated.
 

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I would say a basket weave pattern would be your best bet. Next to a normal bond you see on a wall. But that on a patio would be boring. You will need to put down thinset or full flex mortar for adhering the brick to the pavement. Let those set up for a day. After that you can walk on them and it will be alot easier to grout. I would use a type M for the joints. Its stronger, more durable, and is better resistant to water. I would say for that mixture use 1 bag mortar to about 20 good size shovels of sand. Or if you use bagged silica sand, get the 100lb bags and go 3 sand to 1 mortar.

edit:
Its going to be tough keeping your bond looking good with basketweave if the brick are as random in size as you say. Your best bet is to just snap lines on the patio and keep to the lines. If you have big joints you, oh well, some spots will have big joints. The only other option is doing a running bond like I already said. But that would be relatively boring. Or else you can start in the center with a pattern and do circles around it until you get to the edge. THAT would look sharp.
 

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Hmmmm...first off I would have talked them into pavers ;) , they are more durable and much easier to install. This sounds like quite a job. Do they specifically want to use the different sized bricks? If so, why?? I am wondering. It will look 10 times better with uniform-sized brick, and it will give you many less headaches.

6string, he mentioned that the bricks are all different thicknesses as well, and therefore, thin-setting them wouldn't be the best or easiest thing, bc then some would be higher than the others.

Best thing to do, in my opinion, is for the bed joints, mix 3 to 1 (sand/mortar), but DON'T make it too wet. You want to add just enough water to activate the cement...it should have that crumbly consistency. If it's too wet, the bricks you already laid will float up on you when you tap the surrounding bricks in place.

After letting the bricks set overnight, you can fill the joints in with a baker's bag. THIS MIX you should make fairly wet, so it flows easily out of the bag. I would add an acrylic fortifier milk to this mix as well, to prevent cracking down the road. Hope this helps!
 

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54roadmasters said:
I have taken on a job of installing a 1200 sq ft brick patio using old brick over a poured slab. The brick are ALL different sizes width, length and thickness.
How much are you charging for the job?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the suggestions TommyC and 6string. This couple has been collecting brick for like 15 years and the old brick truly are beautiful. I have also already set some steps for them out of some old granite curbing stone. 18"W X 4-7 ft L X 5" thk. Boy that was fun. They have some old cobblestone that they want to border the brick with. They want the brickwork to be very rustic and "irregular" and aren't concerned with straight perfect joint lines. I am now considering a half basket pattern. That way only one joint will need to be relatively straight because the other will be broken every fourth brick.TommyC you're right about the mortar pushing up the others if it is too wet. I experimented with laying a few today and found that if I just put down about a hotdog bun size mortar under each brick it wouldn't push it's neighbor up. Can you tell me more about the acrilyc fortifier. the concrete pad already has one shrinkage crack in it. Will that reflect up through the brick and mortar. Is there something I can lay on the crack before laying the mortar and brick. I was thinking about laying a piece of 12 " wide 1/4 in hardware cloth over it?? Also what Type cement should I use for the base mortar and the joint mortar? What about lime?
PipeGuy, I am just doing this job for $20 an hour.

Thanks guys, I'll try and post some pictures at some point.
 

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If your base has a crack in it you need to tear it out and start from scratch unless you know there is steel in the crete.
The type of mortar you use is going to depend on the brick you are using. Soft brick don't mix well with type M or S because the movement is limited with the high portland cement count.(disregard if not in a freeze/thaw region) There is a JLC article out there that will provide you with more info.. Also, make sure the mortar you use is not dry and crumbly as it will not bond to the brick or base like you need it to. Only use a bakers bag if someone is coming behind you with a tuckpointer and making sure the joints have no voids.
Ninety nine percent of the masons I know don't know the proper mortar to use in certain situations, and it is imperative that they know. There is a mason contractor in my area being sued because he decided to use type S mortar to tuckpoint a building that was built in 1929. Well, the brick were not manufactured to be compatable with portland cement and the faces are popping like crazy.
I would advise all masons to do a little research on this. There is a company out of Chicago that gives Seminars--U.S. Heritage.
 

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K custom home said:
Ninety nine percent of the masons I know don't know the proper mortar to use in certain situations, and it is imperative that they know.
Ouch...but true...and I am prob. one of them. Wonder if we could start a seperate thread to share the collective wisdom of this group concerning types of mortar and application so that us in the 99 percentile could graduate to the 1%. I don't have time or energy tonight but if somebody doesn't beat me too it I will try to start that thread tomorrow night.

Tim
 

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I would also like to learn more about the different types fo mortar. Where Im from and what I do its basically all type n. %99 of my work is vertical and not below grade. When I do do pavers I generally use thinset to adhere and just grout with bag after there set up.

Do you really need to tuckpoint after you grout? I let mine set up nice and hard and go through and tool them up very nice and put alot of pressure on the joints. I figured that would always get rid of the bubbles. So far Ive not had any problems with this method.
 

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Ok,

54Road, the acrylic fortifyer is a great product, and I don't think many masons use it. It comes in a bottle the size of a large bleach bottle, and the liquid looks just like milk. You put about 16 oz of the stuff in with a 5-gallon bucket of water, and stir, then add the milk-water solution to your dry mixed mortar. I would do this for filling in the joints...it A) makes the mortar more adhesive and B) literally "fortifies" it, so there is less likelyhood of shrinkage and cracks in the joints over the years.

If there is a hairline crack in the concrete base, it COULD come through, over time, through the brick. 6stringmason, that's where I would eliminate the idea of thinsetting the brick. If the brick were thinsetted to a concrete base, a hairline crack would ABSOLUTELY come through to the surface of the brick. It's actually TOO STRONG of a bond. I used to do all my paver jobs that way - pour 4" concrete, and thinset the pavers right to it...after a few callbacks, stopped doing it...a hairline crack comes through to the surface iof the brick, bc the thinset bonds it so srongly to the concrete, that it is almost like one w/ the slab.

54Road, what you COULD do to ensure that the crack doesnt grow and separate, and lift up - is w/ a diamond blade saw, cut a slot about 18 inches, 9 inches spanning each side of the crack, and about 2 inches deep...chip out the cavity, place in a length of re-bar, and patch over top with portland cement. If it's a big area, do this in a few spots. This "pins" the slab to the other part, and prevents any lifting from occurring. It works. However, if the slab has reinforcement wire in it, the slab will not raise. Use your judgement.

K Custom Home, no offense, but I can tell you're not a mason. A baker's bag is by FAR the easiest, fastest, and CLEANEST way to fill in the joints in this scenario. Of COURSE I tool the joints after I fill them in...once they start to get a little hard (ie, once the water disappears from surface of mortar). I never saw a mason that didnt strike up their joints. Once the joints get a little stiff, you joint them up, using pressure...if necessary, "shine" them up with a sponge, then re-strike them.

And K Custom, you mentioned that if the bed joints are dry and crumbly consistency, it won't bond to the base. Well reality is that you don't NEED the brick to bond per se, to that concrete base. Read what I wrote above in this post. The concrete slab base helps prevent the brick from sinking...there is NO need whatsoever for a "bond"...the joints that you fill in with the baker's bag take care of all the bonding.

Again, no offense...but I know masonry ;)
 

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Tommy, You have a lot to learn, and need to stop being so overconfident about your knowledge or its going to bite you big time.
I am a mason by trade, but now a GC.

First of all; your pinning method is laughable. A few peices of rerod cut into the surface of a slab and covered up with a little cement will do nothing.
The bond between the old and new cement will never hold once frost heaves that slab.

Second; The bond DOES MATTER--Why do you think you are adding that acrylic? In your own words "adhesion"

Third; If you use a mortar bag you must tuckpoint the joints solid soon after filling them. Joining them up with a striking tool does not insure the joint is solid, because by the time they are ready to be struck the mortar has already bonded to the side of the pavers and will not push down to fill voids. Also, I don't advise the use of mortar bags because the mortar must be to thin to run through them. Wet mortar is lower strength and shrinks too much. Just like tile grout; you want a nice workable mortar.

Fourth and most important; Get yourself a book on basic masonry construction. Sit down every night for an hour reading and understanding the book. Then get another and do the same. ect...... If you don't start understanding your materials and understanding construction methods you will never get where you want to be.


"literally 'fortifies' it"--- :Thumbs:
 

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Not to get in the middle of this, but I have done many patios with the below described method and no callbacks to date. To me it seems to be the easiest way I can think of.

1. Pour concrete footer to exact grade using plenty of rebar to prevent longterm cracking and rough finish.
2. Strike lines for layout of pavers.
3. Layout soldier course around patio and glue down with the cheapest construction glue you can find at your neigborhood lumber store. Glue is strictly to hold it in place until mortaring and doesn't cover your lines for layout.
4. Inside the soldier course glue down whatever pattern the homeowner desires. Recently it has been the 45 degree herringbone.
6. Mix either type n or type s Mortar real thin and start doing your whole project in sections much like you would tile.
a. Float in mortar making sure that it flows to the concrete filling all the joints.
b. Scrape of excess to prepare for sponging
c. Take heavy duty tile sponge and with a circular motio clean until surface of all mortared brick are clean. If you do it right the circular motion provides a real nice joint that doesn't nec. need to be struck.
 

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Not to get in the middle of this, but I have done many patios with the below described method and no callbacks to date. To me it seems to be the easiest way I can think of.

1. Pour concrete footer to exact grade using plenty of rebar to prevent longterm cracking and rough finish.
2. Strike lines for layout of pavers.
3. Layout soldier course around patio and glue down with the cheapest construction glue you can find at your neigborhood lumber store. Glue is strictly to hold it in place until mortaring and doesn't cover your lines for layout.
4. Inside the soldier course glue down whatever pattern the homeowner desires. Recently it has been the 45 degree herringbone.
6. Mix either type n or type s Mortar real thin and start doing your whole project in sections much like you would tile.
a. Float in mortar making sure that it flows to the concrete filling all the joints.
b. Scrape of excess to prepare for sponging
c. Take heavy duty tile sponge and with a circular motio clean until surface of all mortared brick are clean. If you do it right the circular motion provides a real nice joint that doesn't nec. need to be struck.
d. Move on to next section until done.
7. Come back next day and use muratic solution to remove film.

After 7 years of doing this I have had 0 problems.

Attached are some recent pictures that might help the visual learners. This particular project I raised a patio 5 feet into the air and poured a concrete pad on a 4" treated lumber web supported by numeious pillars. After all of that I went through the above process to install the pavers. It looks better now with the wrought iron but I don't have a picture of that yet.

I open myself up to critcism here but that is all right. This is the first time I have poured concrete on steel decking so I learned alot but I have done the glued paver on concrete process many many times. The guy in the picture is my main man Henry. This was the first time he had done anything like this and he had been a mason for over 20 years.


Tim Newcome
Aiken Brick Creations
 

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a few more pics....


By the way thanks to those of you who gave me the idea of using stabilized sand for filling steps. It is a HUGE timesaver and makes a rock solid step. Since
I have done a couple of huge steps using and perfecting this method and it really does rock.

Tim
 

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K custom home said:
Tommy, You have a lot to learn, and need to stop being so overconfident about your knowledge or its going to bite you big time.
I am a mason by trade, but now a GC.

First of all; your pinning method is laughable. A few peices of rerod cut into the surface of a slab and covered up with a little cement will do nothing.
The bond between the old and new cement will never hold once frost heaves that slab.

Second; The bond DOES MATTER--Why do you think you are adding that acrylic? In your own words "adhesion"

Third; If you use a mortar bag you must tuckpoint the joints solid soon after filling them. Joining them up with a striking tool does not insure the joint is solid, because by the time they are ready to be struck the mortar has already bonded to the side of the pavers and will not push down to fill voids. Also, I don't advise the use of mortar bags because the mortar must be to thin to run through them. Wet mortar is lower strength and shrinks too much. Just like tile grout; you want a nice workable mortar.

Fourth and most important; Get yourself a book on basic masonry construction. Sit down every night for an hour reading and understanding the book. Then get another and do the same. ect...... If you don't start understanding your materials and understanding construction methods you will never get where you want to be.


"literally 'fortifies' it"--- :Thumbs:
Ok K Custom, I'm not about to get in a pissing match on a message board. But there are a few things that need to be mentioned, because some of the things you misunderstood me on, and some of the things we plain disagree on.

My pinning method - It's not laughable. If I've done something before, and it's done the trick for me, why wouldn't I recommend it? Is it a band-aid, absolutely! But I don't get the impression that 54roadmaster is about to rip out this slab, which is what I would have done from the start. The pinning method will prevent significant lifting, and sure the patch will crack, but it is under your finished brick surface, you will never see it. Never. Again, I would have priced the job including a rip out.

No, the base bond doesn't matter! And you misread my original post, I recommended adding acrylic fortifyer to the mix that is to be filled in with a baker's bag! NOT the bed joints. The concrete slab is a base, nothing more. If he wanted to he could lay the brick in sand over the concrete slab. There is no need for strong adhesion to the slab. For what? In fact, you want just the OPPOSITE considering the cracks in the slab! With a strong bond, those cracks will come through to the surface, as I've said, it's happened to me years ago.

When I use a baker's bag, I always push the cement tight into the joints. No voids. And I don't make the mix for baker's bag like piss, I just make it slightly more loose than for layin brick. I cut the hole in the baker's bag a little bigger so it flows out nice. What other method would you suggest filling in 1200 sq ft of joints cleanly and efficiently!!??

About your last bit of advice - to be perfectly honest with you, any book on masonry techniques would teach me very, very little, if anything. As a matter of fact, I can write a book myself if I wanted to. That's not overconfidence, it's confidence. My ears and eyes are always open to new things, but I repeat - I know the business. I was on the scaffold since I was 3 feet tall. Please, please don't insult me sir. I will try to post some pics at some point of my work, and you will be impressed. Again, no pissing match, I am a real nice guy, a hard worker, and I'm sure you are too. But i DID take offense to you telling me I have a lot to learn.
 

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K custom home said:
Hope you are in the south Luka

yep South Carolina...no freeze thaw cycle to speak of. Where is the weakness if I was doing this in upstate NY? Out of curiosity :cheesygri

Tim
 

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Luka, You would be much better off using a mortar bed under those brick. They need to be fully bonded to the base with no voids. I still wouldn't trust any adhesive on an exterior eposed surface. Eventually all adhesives breakdown after prolonged exposure to moisture (especially the "cheapest one you can find")

In a freeze/thaw zone the spring would be very hard on that paver job. During a thaw period the moisture could puddle in the voids below your brick and when a deep evening freeze happens the ice will push the brick loose from its bond. This is the reason you won't see too many deep raked joints up here. Ice collects in the joint and pops brick faces off.
 

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K custom home said:
Luka, You would be much better off using a mortar bed under those brick. They need to be fully bonded to the base with no voids. I still wouldn't trust any adhesive on an exterior eposed surface. Eventually all adhesives breakdown after prolonged exposure to moisture (especially the "cheapest one you can find")
I guess my thoughts concerning this issue would be.

1. From experience (ie taking apart some of my own patios) there really are'nt voids. The mortar goes in thin enough that all voids are filled right down to the concrete where there is adhesion.
2. I don't trust the glue to do anything but hold the brick still for me to walk on which allows me to float the mortar into the joints. After the mortar has all dried it ties all the brick together making one solid masonry mass, so I am not worried about movement. I am also not worried about comprpressive strength as the glue really don't hold the brick up off of the concrete they just bond it a little bit plus again if there is a void between the brick and the concrete the mortar fill s it up.
3. The only places i put a mortar bed under the brick are on the corners of driveway entry "aprons" as it does solidify the vulnerable edging and prevents a big 'ol tire from popping that particular brick out. The rest of the apron I just do the glue technique.
4. The only water that could freeze and start popping up brick would be water absorbed through the brick and mortar into the masonry mass. With the sponging technique there aren't the voids associated with the normaol mortar bag and striking.

It would be interesting (or disturbing maybe :eek: )to see exactly what would happen in a thaw freeze cycle.

Thanks for your input.

Tim
 

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Just a notation; I was chipping mortar off of old brick as a child, this would be in the 50's. Dad and I installed patios and walkways in Indiana and Virginia during the summer. To the best of my knowledge,all survive today.

This was before all of the fancy stuff, they were never sealed. I do remember piles of sand, mortar boats and hoes, mixing mud. Sorry that I don't remember the ratios. Mom went North a few years ago and said that everything that Dad built was still there and in original condition.

Sweet tribute to Dad. To date, we have had one house trashed due to high incomes and they saved some of that one. All of the Bahamas homes are still standing, take a licking and keep on ticking.
 
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