How to Remove a Paver Patio

What You'll Need
Paver extractor tool
Clothes hanger wire
2 flat head screwdrivers

A paver patio is easy to install and easy to maintain, but during the installation, some of the pavers crack and thus require replacement. These stones, bricks or concrete blocks, can also crack after prolonged exposure to external elements and heavy traffic. Because these blocks are bonded together with sand or stone powder, the pavers can be easily extracted, using home-made or commercial paver extractors, during repair or patio replacement.

Step 1 – Determine Loose or Cracked Pavers

When repairing or removing a certain portion of the paver patio, it is important not to damage pavers that are still in good condition. Therefore, inspect the entire patio, to check for specific blocks which are cracked or damaged. Mark them with a chalk or any other type of marker.

Step 2 – Determine which Extracting Method to Use

If there are only a few blocks to be removed, you can use 2 flat head screwdrivers to pull them out. However, it is recommended to use a paver extractor tool, to ensure that the surrounding blocks are not damaged. An improvised extractor can also be used as an alternative. To build one, get 2 straight pieces of clothes hanger wires about 8 inches long. Bend 1 inch on 1 end, to a complete 90-degree angle. On the other end, bend 3 inches of it to a 90-degree angle, facing the opposite direction of the first bend. This will serve as the handle. Do the same with the other wire.

Step 3 – Prepare the Blocks

Before extracting the blocks from the patio, pour some water all around the edges of the paver, to loosen the sand or grout. Tap the surrounding pavers with a rubber mallet to loosen the joints. Do not put too much force on each tap, to avoid breaking the blocks.

Step 4 – Remove the Blocks

Insert 2 screwdrivers on opposite edges of the first paver, and scoop it out from the patio surface. Wiggle it a bit, until it comes loose, then lift it up. When using the improvised extractor, insert the 1-inch ends into opposite joints, until they reach the base of the block. Turn the bent portions inward at a 90-degree angle, so that they come right on the underside of the block. Pull the paver upwards.

When using an extractor tool, insert both metal teeth into the joints. Grip both handles and squeeze them tightly, to get a firm hold on the brick, stone or concrete block. Wiggle the tool a bit, to loosen the paver from the patio. Gently pull the block out of the cavity.

Remove every damaged piece of paver, and replace it with a new one. Remove them all, when you are replacing the entire patio structure. Once 1 block is removed, it will be easier to remove the others from their cavities. As soon as several blocks are removed, the others can be removed by hand.