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How to Make a Brick Road

By Meg Warren ; Updated September 21, 2017
Brick roads are often still found in older cities and towns.

In many old cities it is common to find one or two original brick roads still in use today, although over time most of these antique roads have been paved over with asphalt. If you would prefer a brick road to gravel, asphalt or concrete on your farm or large property, the process is the same as for building a brick driveway. It's just done on a larger scale, and it requires more materials, labor, time, and help.

Measure and mark the beginning location of the road with spray paint. This may be the entrance to the property. Most roads are on average 22 to 24 feet wide. This is plenty of space to accommodate two lanes of vehicles, one going in either direction. Continue outlining the entire path of the road.

Call 8-1-1 from any phone inside the United States. This number will connect you with local authorities who will come to your property and mark the locations of any buried utility lines. This step must be completed before you can do any digging. Failure to do this could result in damaged lines, fines, and even harm to you or a worker.

Dig 12 inches below ground level inside the marked area. Ensure that all tree roots and other debris are removed from inside the area. You can use a shovel, or rent a compact grader/excavator to accelerate this step. This step is imperative to ensure that the road will stay level for years after installation. Tree roots and other debris buried below the surface will eventually rot, causing the bricks to sink into the ground. Digging down to this depth will remove most if not all of the roots, preventing any major instability of the surface. Dig the area inside, with the sides of the road lower than the center. This will allow water to drain off the sides of the road instead of pooling in the center.

Fill the area with 8 inches of masonry gravel. This will leave 4 inches of space from ground level to the top of the gravel. After the bricks have been installed, they should be flush with ground level. This type of gravel is mixed with sand and will provide a softer surface for the brick to rest on. If pea gravel, or other types of cheaper gravel are substituted, the bricks will eventually break with the weight of vehicles driving over them.

Smooth out the gravel with the back of a steel garden rake. The straight bar on the back will push the rocks better than the teeth will.

Spray the gravel with water for approximately 20 minutes to ensure that the gravel and sand is wet. The compactor work in the next Step will cause the sand to fly around. Wetting it first will limit the amount of dust that is raised, and will help the gravel and sand mixture to compact faster and tighter. Do not soak the gravel to the point where puddles are formed.

Compact the gravel, using a plate compactor. This is a slow process that will require a few passes. Renting a few compactors to run simultaneously will accelerate this step.

Fill the area with sand, leaving only 4 inches of space between the top of the sand and ground level. When the gravel was compacted, it pushed all the rock deeper into the ground changing the height from the previous measurement. The sand will fill the empty space and provide a soft layer for the bricks to rest on. Spray with water and compact again as described in Steps 6 and 7. Check the measurements again to ensure the space between the height of the sand and ground level is still 4 inches. Repeat if necessary.

Place the bricks in the desired pattern. Do not cut the side bricks. Place them as desired. You will cut them later. Check each brick to ensure that it is sitting level. Push each one next to each other, polymeric sand will be placed later to lock everything together.

Mark the location where the bricks need to be cut along the side of the road. This cut will be made in one swift movement. Run a stone saw down the length of the road, cutting the bricks as needed. Cutting them in this process will ensure a smooth cut. It will also speed up the process and prevent repeated chiseling. Remove all extra pieces of brick from the area.

Place any decorative side stones or bricks along the sides where the cuts were made. Ensure that everything is level, flush, and secure. Ensure that the surface is completely dry before continuing.

Sweep the bricks, ensuring that any dust, dirt, and debris is removed from the surface.

Pour polymeric sand over the entire surface. Sweep it off of the bricks and into the joints between them. Ensure that every joint is filled with the polymeric sand. This sand when dry seems like ordinary sand. When mixed with water and allowed to dry, it will create a concrete-type bond. Do not allow the sand to cover any surfaces along the side of the road.

Mist the entire surface of the road. Do not let the water pool up, but ensure that every inch of the road has been watered. Allow the surface to dry for four hours before walking on it. Do not drive on the surface for one day.

 

Things You Will Need

  • Spray paint
  • Tape measure
  • Shovel or grader/excavator
  • Masonry gravel
  • Garden rake
  • Plate compactor
  • Sand
  • Bricks
  • Stone saw
  • Polymeric sand
  • Broom

Tip

  • Wear safety glasses, gloves, and a face mask when working with the compactor or saw.

About the Author

 

Meg Warren began writing how-to articles professionally in 2009. Born and raised in St. Louis, Miss., Warren has always been a creative person through art, writing and music. She is currently pursuing an associate degree at Patricia Stevens College for interior design.