Replace Cracked or Flaking Patio Bricks
LESLIE: Torry in New Mexico needs some help with some bricks. What’s going on?
TORRY: Hello. I’ve got a lot of brick patio work and walkways and this winter, after all the snows have started to thaw and then refreeze on top of them, I’ve got – not a lot but probably 20 out of a couple thousand of them are starting to flake and …
TORRY: … break apart.
TOM: Mm-hmm. Yeah, it’s called spalling and when the water gets in there and freezes, it will expand and break those bricks apart. Now, this is just on a walkway?
TORRY: Yeah, it’s on a patio out back and…
TORRY: … a couple bricks on the walkway out front but – main difference is I’ve been keeping the out front pretty clear of snow and out back, I let it build up and do its thing. (Leslie chuckles)
TOM: Yeah, well – and it has done its thing, hasn’t it? Unfortunately …
TORRY: Yeah, yeah, yeah it has.
TOM: … there’s no way to stop this from happening. You know, if it was vertical brick – if it was on a wall or a chimney, we could talk about adding a breathable sealer to that, which will slow the amount of moisture that gets in there.
But if you’re going to have simply a flat patio, you’re going to get a lot of water there no matter what you do. The key is that the water can drain out. It might be – for whatever reason – the way this patio was built, the water doesn’t drain past it. I wonder what the base is. If you have a base that’s not like crushed gravel or something of that nature, the water will just sit in the brick when it does melt and it’ll stay there.
So, in this case, what I would simply do is just pull out those bricks as they deteriorate and replace them.
TOM: Torry, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.