A brick patio is a low-maintenance alternative to a wood deck that offers space for relaxation all year round. If you're new to the idea of using bricks as part of your landscaping designs, you may think that all bricks offer the same benefits for patio building. However, most bricks sold for any other purpose aren't a great choice for this kind of in-ground use. Here are four types of bricks you can use for patios and the restrictions that come along with each type.
The best bricks to choose for any patio or walking path are paving bricks designed for this purpose. These bricks may still be made of fired clay like any other, but they're denser, harder to crack, and usually thicker than other bricks. The term can also be used for concrete pavers designed to look like bricks, so check the actual material before purchasing. Clay paver bricks will last longer and look better than those made of concrete and dyed to look like clay.
Recycled or Reclaimed Bricks
Some recycled and reclaimed bricks from old buildings will work well for an in-ground installation like a backyard patio. These bricks have already withstood the test of time, so it's safe to assume they will last for a reasonable amount of time after being transformed into your patio. Most reclaimed bricks are thick, well-fired, and already have their edges rubbed off. This will create a distinctive look, especially considering the color variations available, and require more filling sand than new bricks. Make sure to buy common and not face bricks since even reclaimed face bricks aren't tough enough for this kind of use.
Thin bricks, also known as brick veneers, might be the last material you think of as suitable for a patio. Yet these bricks can quickly transform an existing concrete or asphalt slab into an attractive patio since the surface below lends them strength. While even thin paver bricks aren't designed for use on their own, they're a great way to reduce unnecessary weight and save money during a remodel. If there's already a smooth, load-bearing surface in good shape for the patio base, thin bricks are a good option for covering it.
If you absolutely want the look of standard clay bricks for your patio, you can use common building bricks in a pinch. They won't last as long as paver bricks, especially in a cold climate where frost heave is a problem, but an extra thick coursing layer of gravel and sand can help. Common bricks are named after their structural use, in contrast to face bricks used for the outside of building exteriors. Face bricks are too weak for in-ground use like a patio.
For assistance, you can always contact a local stone work or brick work service.