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How to Level Settled Brick Patios and Walkways

Although leveling and resetting a brick patio is slow, heavy work, it’s not a complex project — just one that takes time and effort to do right. If you are ready to break a sweat, gather your tools and then follow these steps:

  1. Use chalk to mark out the settled area.

    Chalk marks are easy to remove when you finish your project.

  2. Use a small pry bar to remove the whole bricks and stack them neatly nearby.

    Start in the middle of that area and work toward the edge.

  3. Number any partial, cut bricks using a light-colored crayon.

    Don’t use chalk — it’ll rub off and make resetting a nightmare.

  4. When all the settled area’s bricks are removed, explore what’s underneath.

    You should find sand. And under that you may find crushed limestone or compacted gravel. But it’s more likely that you’ll find dirt or clay underneath.

    If you find dirt or clay that’s wet or loose underneath the brick, dig it out until you find solid earth.

  5. Fill the now-low areas of the bed with crushed limestone and compact it thoroughly using a hand tamper.

    Your wrists and hands will never be the same!

  6. Use a level to see where the top of the reset bricks will be; then use more crushed limestone (tamp it down good!) to fill the bed until there are 3 inches between the bottom of the level and the top of the bed.

    Most patio bricks are 2 inches thick, and you want to leave room for 1 inch of sand underneath.

  7. Add 1 inch of sand.

    Double-check that you still have 2 inches for the bricks.

  8. Reset the bricks you removed earlier, working from the middle outward. Be careful to maintain the original pattern.

    Be sure to put them in straight down to avoid jamming sand between them and messing up the spacing. Whack each brick hard a couple of times with a rubber mallet to make sure they’re securely set.

  9. Sweep fine sand into the joints to fill the gaps and to lock the now-level bricks in place.

    Save some sand to sweep in after the next rain.

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