How to Install a Sandset Brick Patio Part 1 of 3

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Brick pavers set in sand create a classic patio surface that’s more casual than mortared pavers. The inherent flexibility of the sandset finish allows for easy repair and maintenance or changes in the design over time. It also creates good drainage.

 

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Continue to Step 1

Overview

Traditional clay brick pavers set in sand make for one of the simplest yet most rewarding patio projects. The installation process is straightforward and, because there’s no mortar involved, you can complete the work at your own pace. The overall installation time depends on the patio’s design.
Square-edged patios require fewer cuts and thus less time than curved designs. But if you want something out of the ordinary, sandset brick is a good material to work with—the small units are perfect for making curves and custom features; even if you have a lot of cuts, you can make them quickly and accurately with a rented masonry saw.
To pave with any of the classic patterns, such as running bond or herringbone, you’ll start at one corner of your patio border or edging. To ensure accurate layout, check that the sides of the edging form a 90-degree angle at the starting corner. If you’re not using edging or any kind of formal border, set up mason’s strings to guide the brick placement.
If you go with clay brick without spacing lugs, use spacers cut from a sheet of 1⁄8"-thick hardboard to help set accurate sand-joint gaps as you lay the units.

What You'll Need

Tools:

Tape measure
Circular saw
Drill
Excavation tools
Mason’s string
Stakes
Line level
Plate compactor (available for rent)
Hand tamp
4-ft. level
Rubber mallet
Push broom
Brick paver units
Lumber (2 x 2, 2 x 4)
21⁄2" drywall screws
Compactable gravel
Work gloves
Professional-grade landscape fabric
U-shaped wire stakes (optional)
Rigid paver edging
1"-dia. pipe
Coarse sand
Straight 2 x4
1⁄8" hardboard
Plywood scrap
Paver joint sand
Rake
Trowel
Masonry saw
Eye and ear protection
Maul
Galvanized spikes (for edging)

Materials:

Tape measure
Circular saw
Drill
Excavation tools
Mason’s string
Stakes
Line level
Plate compactor (available for rent)
Hand tamp
4-ft. level
Rubber mallet
Push broom
Brick paver units
Lumber (2 x 2, 2 x 4)
21⁄2" drywall screws
Compactable gravel
Work gloves
Professional-grade landscape fabric
U-shaped wire stakes (optional)
Rigid paver edging
1"-dia. pipe
Coarse sand
Straight 2 x4
1⁄8" hardboard
Plywood scrap
Paver joint sand
Rake
Trowel
Masonry saw
Eye and ear protection
Maul
Galvanized spikes (for edging)

 

Step 1

How to Install a Sandset Brick Patio - Step 1

Set up batterboards and layout strings in a square or rectangle that’s about 1 ft. larger than the excavation area. Measure to make sure the string layout is square, and set the strings to follow a 1⁄8" per foot downward slope in the desired direction using a line level for guidance. Mark the excavation corners with stakes. The edges of the excavation should extend about 6" beyond the finished patio footprint.


Step 2

How to Install a Sandset Brick Patio - Step 2

Remove all sod and vegetation inside the area, reserving healthy sod for patching in around the finished patio.


Step 3

How to Install a Sandset Brick Patio - Step 3

Excavate the area to a depth that allows for a 6"-thick gravel subbase, a 1"-layer of sand, and the paver thickness; account for the desired height of the finished surface above the surrounding ground. Use cross strings and a story pole to check the depth as you work.


Step 4

How to Install a Sandset Brick Patio - Step 4

Add an even 3"-layer of compactable gravel over the entire site, and then tamp with a plate compactor. Repeat with another 3"-layer. The completed 6" gravel base prior to compacting must be smooth and flat, and it must follow the slope of the layout strings.


Step 5

How to Install a Sandset Brick Patio - Step 5

Install a layer of high-quality landscape fabric. Overlap rows of fabric by at least 6". If desired, pin the fabric in place with U-shaped wire stakes.


Step 6

How to Install a Sandset Brick Patio - Step 6

Install rigid paver edging along two adjacent sides of the patio area, creating a perfect 90° corner. Option: If you’ve laid out the pavers and taken precise measurements, you can install edging along three or four sides of the patio, as desired. Trim the fabric along the back of the edging. Lay down lengths of 1"-dia. pipe in parallel lines about 3 to 6 ft. apart.


Step 7

How to Install a Sandset Brick Patio - Step 7

Add a 1"-thick layer of coarse sand. Smooth it out with a rake so it just covers the pipes. Dampen the sand with water, then pack it down lightly with a hand tamp.


Step 8

How to Install a Sandset Brick Patio - Step 8

Screed the sand perfectly flat using a straight, long 2 x 4: rest the board on top of the pipes, and pull it backward with a side-to-side sawing motion. Fill in low spots with sand as you work. Dampen, tamp, and screed the sand again until the surface is smooth and flat and firmly packed. Remove the pipe(s) in the area where you will begin the paving.


Step 9

How to Install a Sandset Brick Patio - Step 9

Fill the depression left by the pipe with sand, and then smooth it out with a short board or a trowel. Tamp the area with the hand tamp, and smooth again as needed so the filled-in area is perfectly flat. Note: Repeat this step as needed during the paving process.


Step 10

How to Install a Sandset Brick Patio - Step 10

Begin setting the border bricks, starting at the right-angle corner of the patio edging, using 1⁄8" hardboard spacers if necessary. Complete the border row that will be parallel to the first course of field brick, and continue several feet up the perpendicular side edge. For gentle curves, use full bricks set with slightly angled (wedge-shaped) sand joints; tighter curves require cut bricks for a good fit.


 
 

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