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Installing a Brick Patio

If you're looking for a home-improvement project that will add both functionality and elegance to the outside of the house,, consider putting in a brick patio. This will provide a lovely place for family and friends to hang out in the warmer weather, it will give you a place to barbecue, and in the process, it will improve the home's re-sale value. If you think you'd like to install a brick patio, here are the steps you'll need to follow.

One of the simplest options for installing a brick patio is to put in a loose-brick patio. Although it sometimes takes more time than other patio options, most people find the installation process fairly simple. The first step is to measure the length and width of the space where you intend to install the patio so that you can figure out what materials you'll need to obtain. When measuring, get the length and width and multiply the numbers. This gives you the area in square feet. We're going to assume that your measurements are 10 feet by 10 feet, which means you'll need 100 square feet of material.

You next need to buy about four inches of gravel for your patio. Take your square footage (In our example, 100 square feet) and multiply it by .333. This gives you 33 cubic feet of gravel that you must buy. In addition, buy enough pure sand to fill the area about one inch high.

Now you need to buy bricks. To figure out how many, remember that most bricks are 4 inches wide and 8 inches long. In our example above, to cover 100 square feet, you'll need about 450 bricks (You need 45 times 1/10 of your square footage). It's a smart idea, though, to buy a few dozen extra bricks just to be safe. You'll probably need them, because inevitably bricks will get broken or will be found to be defective.

As you begin the actual process, you need to make an edging around the patio to keep plants and soil off the area. To do this, use some of your extra bricks and place them on a raised surface made of metal, plastic or boards.

Now measure about an inches outside of your patio's border on all sides. Put stakes on all sides to mark this spot. Get some mason's cord and run it from corner to corner until you've marked all corners. This will show you the patio's exact middle.

Next it's time to create your base. To do this, dig 6 or 7 inches down in the dirt. Now line the entire area with landscape fabric. Without it, you will inevitably find weeds growing up through the bricks.

After this, pour about four inches of gravel onto the fabric, across its entire area. If needed, use a rake to make it even throughout the fabric. Now pour an inch of sand on the travel, and pat it down firmly.

Finally, it's time to lay the bricks. It's a good idea to start in a corner, using a leveler and rubber mallet the entire time to be sure the bricks lay flat. After you've laid all bricks and gotten them level, pour about an inch of sand on top of them. Make sure you fill all the cracks between the bricks with sand.

To finish, use a special sealant from the hardware store to spray on top of the brick to seal the sand. If you don't know what it is, ask. This helps make future cleaning of the patio quick and simple

This process will probably take a couple days to complete--but you'll have years of enjoyment because of the investment of a little time and effort.

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