Pavers are a pretty addition to outdoor areas but when you need to make changes, it's not a completely easy process. It's worth it to learn how to replace walkway pavers the right way and create outdoor spaces you can be proud of.
Types of Walkway Pavers
Walkway pavers are a popular choice for outdoor landscaping projects of all kinds. They look good and you have a lot of options when it comes to using them.
You can place walkway pavers in any pattern to create unique, photo-ready outdoor spaces that require little maintenance. Replacing pavers is the most you’ll have to do to repair walkway areas, and this is not a difficult DIY to pull off.
There are three main types of walkway pavers. There are different sizes and colors of pavers available for whichever material you choose.
Brick pavers are actually not brick. They are made of clay or concrete and then dyed to look like brick.
However, it's almost impossible to tell the difference between brick pavers and real brick. These pavers have the look of brick but they are not as thick as real bricks, which is what makes them pavers and makes them much easier to work with than full-sized bricks.
Brick pavers look beautiful and they are incredibly durable, resisting stains and standing up well to wear. Sealants can help prevent weather damage and keep the color from fading.
This paver type is available in a huge variety of color shades and you can find brick pavers everywhere.
Concrete pavers look like stone but they are made with clean edges in uniform shapes and sizes. These pavers are made from molded concrete and can be dyed in any color shade.
Concrete is a very strong material and highly affordable when compared to other outdoor materials. Concrete can be dyed to look like stone or brick.
This is a go-to choice for lots of outdoor areas because concrete is incredibly durable and it stands up well to wear and tear, even in heavy traffic conditions.
One big benefit of concrete is its popularity. Concrete pavers often come in sets that contain pavers of different shapes.
These pavers are made to interlock and fit together so that you can create all sorts of different designs.
Natural stone pavers are not uniform in size. Rather, they have different shapes and sizes and edges that are not neat and clean to keep the natural look and silhouette of stone intact.
Flagstone and limestone are popular stone pavers. All types of stone pavers are highly durable and they're available in a huge variety of color shades.
Natural stone pavers do not need a lot of cleaning and they are durable. However, they are not the most durable option for outdoor areas.
Stone can break and crack, which looks unsightly. These pavers may not be the best option for high-traffic, high-use areas.
Other Paver Options
While stone, cement, and brick are the most popular paver options and the highest in quality in terms of looks and longevity, you do have other options when it comes to pavers.
Rubber pavers are also used by some homeowners. These are extremely easy to install.
All you really need to do to install a rubber paver is to place it directly on the grass or dirt. That's the entire process.
Rubber pavers, however, do not last a long time. If you've ever let a car sit in a driveway without driving it for a while, you probably noticed the tires rotting away.
That's what happens to rubber. Over time, it breaks down and gets worn out by moisture and weather.
Rubber pavers will crack and fade much more quickly than your other options.
How to Replace Walkway Pavers
Walkway pavers might crack or break. They could become discolored or damaged.
When even one paver is off, the entire walkway area looks bad. Cracks will also worsen over time, becoming bigger and uglier as time goes by.
Weeds and grass will begin to grow in the paver crack, which looks even worse. It’s worth it to go ahead and replace pavers to keep your outdoor areas looking well-maintained.
Buying a single paver, or a few at a time, is not a big expense. Try to keep a few pavers on hand so they can be replaced as needed, and the project becomes even easier.
Remove the Paver
Start by removing the paver. You will need to pry it up with either a paver puller or two putty knives.
The idea is to work the puller or the putty knives into the soil on either side of the paver, getting slightly under it and then pulling it up to get it loose. Once the paver has been pried up, it can be removed by hand.
Check to see if the paver hole is at the right height. Use a standard ruler or measuring tape, placing one end directly on the soil, and make sure the hole is as deep as the paver is thick.
If the hole is deeper than the thickness of the paver, you must fill the hole to get it to the right depth.
Add the Base
Use a base material, which is usually ground rocks, to fill the hole. Leave enough room to add one inch of sand and place this next over the top of the rocks.
You can always add a little more base or sand as needed to get the hole to the right height, and you should. Get this right before you place the paver or you’ll end up having problems with it later on.
Set the Paver
Set the paver in place and tamp it down with a rubber mallet. Use a level to make sure this paver is at the same height as the others.
Gently pour sand on and around the paver and sweep it off the paver. The sand will settle in the cracks all around the paver.
This is a good time to re-sand the entire area and add new sand all around all the pavers. This will keep the pavers from shifting out of place, which could lead to future damage.
Use a water hose to spray off the excess sand and get the walkway smooth and clean. The hose will knock any debris or dirt off the pavers.
Seal the Pavers
Use a roller to apply sealant over all the pavers and the entire walkway. A standard paint roller and paint tray work perfectly for this task.
How to Fix Sunken Pavers
Sometimes, pavers will sink. It can happen to several pavers or even just one paver but no matter how many pavers are affected, it looks bad.
Tree roots, drainage problems, and animals, among other factors, can cause pavers to sink and ruin the look of your outdoor spaces. Not only is it unattractive when one or more pavers have sunken into the ground, but this is also a walking hazard that can lead to serious injury.
Dig the sunken paver out with putty knives to pry it up and a shovel or your hand to scoop it out. Remove loose soil and tamp down the area.
Fill the area with a paver base and then tamp that down before adding paver sand. You want to cover the base with about one inch of sand.
Tamp down the sand before placing the paver back in this spot.
Replacing an Entire Walkway
Individual pavers get damaged due to various circumstances. Some sink into the ground.
But what if you want to replace not just one paver, or a few pavers, but the entire walkway?
That's a whole new ball game. If you're going to replace an entire walkway, start by prying up every single paver.
If you intend to use some of the same pavers, place them off to the side where they can be saved. If not, simply trash these pavers.
Level out the ground where the walkway was and make any changes you want to make, such as widening or lengthening the walkway or adding a whole new section of walkway. Prep the ground exactly where the walkway will be.
Add the paver base, which is about 6 inches of crushed gravel. Cover this with about an inch of sand.
Once all the old pavers are gone and the prop work is completed, you can now place your pavers and build your walkway to look exactly as you want it to.
Prevent Paver Damage
Regular maintenance will help your pavers look better longer and prevent moisture damage that can cause pavers to crack and fade over time. Know how to take care of your pavers to prevent cracks that could force you to replace areas of your walkway.
Concrete pavers should be sealed every two years to keep them resistant to wear and weather. Clay pavers only need to be sealed if they are exposed to grease and oil, which includes grilling and eating areas, as well as areas where vehicles are parked.
Pavers of all kinds can be pressure washed to remove dirt and freshen up the way they look. This should be done at least once a year to keep your walkway areas looking as nice as possible.
Designing with Pavers
Pavers can be placed just about anywhere. They can be purchased easily from home improvement stores and they are available in a huge variety of designs and sizes and shades.
Pavers and incredibly versatile and that's exactly why they're such a useful material for you all your outdoor spaces.
You don't have to use pavers only in walkway areas. They look beautiful around BBQ areas, swimming pools, gathering spaces, and garden areas.
Since pavers can be placed in any pattern or look, including curving and circular lines, you can always get super creative and design something really unique.
Replacing Walkway Pavers
Replacing walkway pavers is sometimes necessary as walkways become damaged and used over time. Once you know how to get this done the right way, you can keep your paved areas looking beautiful for many years to come.
Walkway Pavers FAQs
How much do walkway pavers cost?
Pavers range in price from less than $1 per paver to over $50 for one paver, depending on the material. Real stone pavers are the most expensive, while concrete is the most affordable option.
How long does it take to replace walkway pavers?
Replacing a single walkway paver is not a time-consuming DIY task. The whole project can be done in 30 minutes or less.
If you have multiple pavers to replace, this will extend the job. Spending on how many pavers you need to replace, you could spend several hours getting this done.
If you are replacing pavers for an entire walkway, this project could take you a few days, depending on how long the walkway is.
When is the best time to replace walkway pavers?
You don't want the weather working against you when you're working on your walkway. Wait for a day with no rain with a relatively average temperature, not too hot and not too cold.
Can you repair cracks in pavers without replacing them?
Small cracks and chips can sometimes be repaired, which saves you the trouble of replacing the entire paver. Fill these damaged areas with polyurethane filler or epoxy and smooth this out with a putty knife.
You may need to use more filler material after the first application dries and settles. Sometimes, these little fixes can save you a lot of time and trouble when it comes to pavers because they won’t have to be replaced.
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