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How to Mortar Brick Pavers

By Scott Wolfenden
Fine sand or sand with chemical binders is generally used as mortar for paving stones in home projects.

Installing brick pavers are a simple way to provide a stylish look to a walkway, driveway, garden or patio. It provides a decorative accent that adds value to your home. Brick pavers come in a variety of styles and colors and can be laid in a multitude of patterns.

Pavers should be laid over stone and sand, and the mortar used to fill in the joints between pavers in most home applications is generally one of two types of sand, a fine sand or polymeric sand, which is sand with a chemical binder.

Design and Prepare Your Paving Stone Project

Design, lay out and prepare your project. A well-designed patio or walkway will make the job much easier in the long run. You should compact the dirt by hand or with a mechanical dirt-compactor before laying down crushed stone.

Carefully calculate your materials list. Use a depth of five inches of crushed stone for the entire underlayment. Install one-inch EMT conduit pipe along the edges for screed rails. Crushed stone should be leveled using your screed rails as a guide. Don't walk on that area until it is compacted.

Remove the screed guides and lay down your paving bricks. Once the guides are removed, fill in the voids with crushed stone and level them. Locate a center point, or use a chalk line as a guide for laying out your first row of stones, depending on the design that you have chosen.

Cut stones to fit around edges with enough room to allow sand mortar. Install a paver edge restraint after all the paving bricks are installed.

Sweep in your sand mortar. The traditional method uses fine sand with no added chemicals. The advantage of using a polymeric sand is that regular coarse sand can get swept away by the elements over time, whereas using chemical binding sand as mortar is more permanent and not as susceptible to the elements.

Shovel the sand onto the bricks and seed the sand into the joints between the pavers. Make sure that the joints are completely filled all the way to the top of the surface of the bricks. Sweep away excess sand and dispose it.

Protect the surface of the pavers with any type of soft pad, carpet, plywood or urethane pad, and compact the pavers with a mechanical compactor.

Repeat the process of sweeping in sand between the joints and compact the bricks and mortar a second time. Clean the surface of the stones of excess sand.

Water the surface of the paver bricks and mortar to activate the polymeric sand. This should be done several times to properly activate the chemical binder.

Seal the sand mortar and bricks and with a binding sealant if you did not use a chemically treated sand. This will ensure that the joint sand will not disappear and will prevent the growth of vegetation between the joints. You may wish to seal the paving bricks to maintain their color and appearance.


Things You Will Need

  • Excavation tools
  • Crushed stone --- four to six inches deep
  • Mechanical or hand dirt-compactor
  • One-inch EMT conduit pipe for screen rails
  • Paving stones
  • Stone saw
  • Levels
  • Chalk and chalk lines
  • Sand or polymeric sand


  • If you used chemically treated sand, make sure that all of the sand is completely removed from the brick face.

About the Author


Scott Wolfenden began writing in 2006 on the subject of mental health. He has written a book on ADHD, children's mental health, education and parenting partially based on experience teaching in public schools. He blogs for Learning Things, an educational products website. He graduated from Thomas Edison State College with a Bachelor of Arts in social science and additional coursework in psychology.