Monday, March 3, 2008

She's a brick.. layer

It's finally brick time!!

I started off Saturday by sorting all the bricks into stacks by color and size - there are a ton of different shapes and colors. Most of the people who know what they're doing told us we'd be much better off buying pavers, because a driveway made of varying size bricks was likely not to last long. Aside from being stubborn, I just can't conceive of the waste of having a chimney-full of bricks at home, and buying brand-new ones for a driveway. But I did decide to lay them in sand instead of mortar. In general, you want the mortar to be softer than the bricks so that if anything breaks (because of settling, uneven loads, or just bad installation) it's the mortar and not the bricks. Since we have old, soft bricks, and I've never laid bricks before, I decided using sand instead of mortar was the way to go.

The concrete was poured low enough to have an inch of mortar and a standard size brick, which would be flush with the sidewalk. After I swept out the driveway, we snapped a chalk line an inch up, which would be the surface of the sand.

The woman at the store told me a 100lb bag of sand would cover an area of 100 square feet, at 1" deep. With a 135 square foot driveway, plus filling in the spaces, I figured 3 bags would be way more than enough.

I planned to pour and screed about a third of the area, lay the bricks, then do the next area..

well.. it turns out a 100lb bag of sand covers an area of 10 square feet at 1" deep. That's quite a difference!!

Back in the truck, back to the hardware store, and back home to unload 20 50lb bags of sand .. by about 4pm I was finally ready to start laying bricks!


I went with a standard basket weave pattern, and it worked out that I only needed one cut brick every other row.

I leveled the rows from side to side, and tried to make sure that the slop toward the house was even.. Since the bricks were so different in shape and size, having an even bed of sand to lay them on didn't really save much time. I still had to pour extra sand on, or scrape some out of the way for each brick

By the time it was too dark to see on Saturday night I think I had 2 and a half rows done.


Sunday morning, I got out there early and progress was slow, but steady.

I was joking about it with neighbors, but I really did need to re-estimate how long it would take because so many people stopped by to chat! It was a sunny, nice weekend and everyone was out, and everyone is so friendly here.. let's just say by about 4 o'clock on Sunday I was seriously regretting my little motivational plan of parking my motorcycle in the garage to be sure I'd be done with the driveway by Monday morning..






I brought some lights out and worked as long as I could, but it got to the point that I could barely move. My knees were actually bleeding and there was no way I was going to get done anyway. So I threw a piece of thick plywood down, took a long hot shower, and sat down to write a post.

1 comment:

Jennifer said...

That' sgoing to look nice! I would reuse the bricks, too.

We laid a back patio of limestone pavers in sand... it's held up great so far!