Brick pavers in a driveway are arguably one of the most durable and beautiful materials that truly adds solidness and high curb appeal. The use of bricks in roadways, buildings, and residential structures, as well as in patios and driveways has been around for thousands of years. The fact that it has not lost its appeal yet is a manifestation of what it can do.
In this post we turn to brick driveways and all the essential information that you must know about this material. Ideas, costs, benefits, and disadvantages of brick driveways are also discussed for you to make a sound decision if this one is good for you or not.
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In this article:
- Types of bricks
- Brick driveway pros and cons
- Brick driveway cost
- Brick driveway ideas
- How to install a brick driveway
- Brick paver driveway repair and maintenance
- How to remove oil stain from brick driveway
- Brick driveway vs other driveways (asphalt, cement, grass, gravel, concrete)
Types of bricks
When we talk about bricks, our minds would automatically imagine the solid brick type not knowing that it comes in types with specific uses in construction. This one is an important knowledge to take note of for us to know which type of brick must be used for driveways.
Burnt clay bricks
It is one of the oldest building materials in the world, made solid by hardened clay. They are the classic red colored bricks used mainly for building foundations, masonry walls, and columns. They can also be used for driveways, but they must be rendered using mortar.
Sand lime bricks
This one comes in various color pigments but the most popular one would be gray. They are specifically made to bear greater load making them a perfect choice for driveways and for other construction purposes. They also feature more edged and precise cuts plus they require less mortar for rendering.
This is the most durable type of bricks and are used in constructing manholes, tunnels, sewers, and retaining walls, among others. They are extremely durable to different weather conditions and are usually mixed with other materials. With their notable resilience, they can also be used for driveways.
This is the common type used for driveways as they are made basically of concrete and then poured in brick molds. They come in different pigments and are used for exterior constructions such as fences and facades.
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Fly ash clay bricks
This is a fire-resistant brick type but it expands when exposed to too much moisture. It is mainly used in constructing pillars, wall foundations, as well as structural walls.
Brick driveway pros and cons
Like all other constructions, brick driveways also have their share of pros and cons. These should help you in coming up with the decision to go for a brick driveway or not. As such, let us break down the pros and cons of brick driveways.
- Environment friendly: The good thing about brick driveways is that they usually come from reclaimed pavers or just concrete. It is considered as one of the most environmentally friendly materials in construction in general.
- Sturdy and flexible: The main enemy of other concrete materials is cracking under heavy load and unsettled surface. Because bricks are usually interlocking and are solid slabs, they have greater structural integrity compared to other concrete counterparts.
- Slip resistant: Because of their abrasive and rough surface, brick driveways have an edge over other concrete driveway. They are very stable even in rainy and frosty locations.
- Stain resistant: Fluid and oil leaks damage often stain the driveway, but bricks are not vulnerable to that. And if the oil and fluid does stain it, you can use a power washer or easily change the stained brick.
- Low maintenance: The problem with concrete driveways is that they can chip, become dented or break. When this happens, you usually need to change everything. But because bricks are installed individually, you can also change them individually which is very cost efficient compared to other concrete materials.
- Design: Aside from limited colors, you can only have a limited pattern options to choose from. If you are more into the decorative side of driveway paving, bricks might not be the best one for you.
- Upfront cost: It is not the most economic choice upfront because it is more labor intensive compared to say concrete or even asphalt. In terms of costs, you can peg a 10ft driveway to $5000 overall.
- Weed growth: This is a problem for interlocking slabs like bricks. If not controlled, they become an eyesore even for the most polished brick driveway. For this, you must lay hardware cloth and reseal the driveway every three years.
Brick driveway cost
You might say it is just all bricks but depending on the size of the driveway and the pattern to be used for the surface, brick driveway costs could differ.
At an average, an estimate of $5000-18000 should be prepared for a 10ft x 20ft driveway. For the same size, add at least $3000 for a herringbone pattern and at least $5000 more for more elaborate brick driveway patterns and more colorful designs.
Brick driveway ideas
To give you an idea about what you are preparing yourself for aesthetically and visually speaking, you need to have some pointers about what ideas and designs you can go for. Hence, here are some of the best and simplest brick driveway ideas that you can have for your home.
Mix and match
For a rustic, English cottage look, brick is a versatile material to mix and match with stone and grass. To prevent water puddling and mud, set up the bricks on the lane where the car would be driven on like this one here.
Here is another clean mix and match of classic red bricks rendered in mortar and concrete slabs. Just by the look of it, you would already see how durable and easy to maintain this brick driveway is. Plus, its color matches with the brick home too.
And speaking of brick through and through, this one features a brick house with a brick driveway which uses the same style and color as the exterior of this house. It looks very regal, classic, and neat which is perfect for this three-sectional Victorian home.
We have mentioned concrete bricks and their benefits as a driveway material in the types of bricks for the driveway.
Aside from being water absorbent and very durable, they are also go-to driveway materials to give you a clean, modern industrial look like this one.
Sealed brick driveway
To give off all the warm tones to any home, you can always go for a sealed brick driveway.
You can line it off with raised, unsealed brick edges along with green turf and well curated shrubs up to the porch or main door. It gives you a polished look and an upscale vibe. Just check out this warm brick contrast.
Multi Colored brick driveway
As we have also mentioned, bricks can be painted with paver paint to pop in more colors than just red or gray tones. It is beneficial in making a standout brick driveway and is also helpful in guiding leaks or oil.
A lined style like this one is also beneficial in keeping the weeds out of the brick driveway. And with a circular shape, you are giving your driveway a more dynamic look.
To give your driveway a more modern and angled look, you can set the bricks in an interlocking pattern. It could be in a classic red and gray contrast like this one,
Or a somewhat herringbone, interlocking pattern like this one, for a more dynamic driveway appeal. The low-key linear brick edges in a backdrop of lush greens just give off all the right manor feels for the home.
Circular brick driveway pattern
And just as you thought that lines and herringbone patterns are all that you can get from brick driveways, here is a circular brick driveway pattern that shows off not only in shape but also in well laid color contrasts.
And it is not just the overall shape that is circular. Everything is just well coordinated with those small circles embedded in between.
And speaking of a circular pattern, you should also consider having one in irregular shapes like this one here. It gives a lot of layers and accent to your driveway.
Here is another layered brick driveway design that would well complement a long, winding driveway. Sticking with the classic red tone of bricks just can transport one into a royal feel or even a medieval vibe if you may. Just look at how this one looks overall.
Personalized brick driveway
And if you want to etch your identity on stone, literally, you can find ways to make your brick driveway more personalized. This one here made red brick accents to form a B initial.
Another wave of personalized brick driveway would be coming up with a geometric style brick driveway. This bachelor’s pad here features a geometric black and maroon brick driveway which offer a bold contrast to the bright white color of the home. It is very masculine looking which vibe well to it being a male pad.
One of the more popular brick patterns for a modern style brick driveway would be the herringbone style, specifically the diagonal herringbone style. You can go for the multicolored and sealed option like this one,
Or more neutral tones like white and gray for an industrial flair like this one,
Or go bold and modern with dark gray tones such as this.
How to install a brick driveway
Believe it or not but you can install brick driveways on your own. If you wish to embark on a DIY route, here are the steps in installing a brick driveway.
- Layout the space for the driveway. Measure the space and mark it with stakes or using nylon strings.
- Next, excavate the area to a depth of 12-14-inches. Make sure that you compact the raw subgrade soil after excavation.
- After compacting the soil, lay down the pea gravel layer to help in supporting the brick structure and for drainage purposes as well. Even the gravel base using rake.
- To make sure that the gravel base is compact, you can also use a plate vibrator to lift the gravel into the base.
- After compacting the gravel base, leave at least 2-inches of space on top for the layer of sand. At this rate, use the nylon strings as your measuring guide.
- Now, cover the entire area with landscape fabric to keep everything in place and to discourage weed growth.
- Pour 2-inches of sand over the landscape fabric and then install the plastic brick edge retainer. To do this, just follow the instructions from the manual.
- For the most challenging part, start laying bricks one after the other. Begin at the driveway’s center and then outwards until you reach the edge.
- To bind the bricks in place, use a 2×4 wood of at least 3ft in length. Tap it using a rubber mallet for every 2-ft of placed bricks. At this stage, you can already set it in a different pattern like herringbone pattern, etc.
- To fill the joints in between, add masonry sand. Using a spray hose, dash water to make the sand settle.
Brick paver driveway repair and maintenance
Doing the right steps to maintain your brick driveway extends its life for another 25-40 years. It can still experience wear and tear due to extended exposure to the elements. For that, here are some maintenance tips that you should employ for your brick driveway:
- Regular cleaning: It is recommended that you power wash your brick driveway every two weeks to maintain its pristine look. Sweep them with a broom daily, if possible. This helps in preventing soil, dust, debris, and leaf buildup in the driveway. Scrubbing with a good bristle brush along with your preferred cleaning solution is also a regular maintenance drill to carry out.
- Sealing: As per rule of thumb, brick driveways should be resealed every two years. The process of sealing does not just ensure a polished look but also helps the brick driveway be more resilient from outdoor elements and to make cleaning easier.
- Repairing chipped and broken bricks: Note that chipped and broken bricks collect more debris, soil, and dirt in the process so if you see one, might as well replace it immediately. For repair, you need to buy a replacement brick, filler sand, and just follow the process of installation. You will find these steps in the next section.
How to remove oil stain from brick driveway
The stain of oil and fluid leaks are just unsightly for any driveway. To remove oil stains from your brick driveway, here are the things that you can do.
- Absorbent sheet: If the stain has just been made or it is too small, you can soak up all excess oils by using an absorbent sheet. You can also consider using clay kitty litter to absorb more oil.
- Degreaser: For lighter oil stains, you can use an old-fashioned household degreaser. This can be used for oils that have not penetrated the brick pavers yet. Making a combo out of the degreaser and hot water can do the trick more efficiently.
- Professional products: For greater stains, a professional degreaser should be used. These products are specifically made to clean stains for all clay and concrete pavers. They are found in any local hardware or online too.
Note that power washing the stains cannot help you at all. As a matter of fact, it might even add to the spread of oil stains in the brick driveway surface.
Brick driveway vs other driveways (asphalt, cement, grass, gravel, concrete)
Because there are so many concrete materials out there, it is important to know the differences between them. In this section, we narrow down the main differences of brick driveways in contrast with other driveways.
Brick vs asphalt
The main difference between brick and asphalt would be upfront cost since brick pavers are more expensive. But when it comes to designs and ideas, you can have more versatility from brick compared to asphalt.
Maintenance-wise, asphalt is easier to clean because it only needs a broom and power washer. In terms of durability, you can count on brick driveways to be more stable and durable for years. Brick is also easier to repair.
Brick vs cement and concrete
Poured concrete or cement is more economical than brick and they also come in more patterns and colors.
Maintenance wise, cement and concrete are also easier to clean and maintain. But when it comes to durability and repair, brick is on top compared to cement and concrete. As for costs and installment, they are not very different, although stamped concrete can be more high-end compared to bricks.
Bricks vs grass and gravel
When it comes to cost, there really is a great divide between brick driveways compared to grass and gravel types. But if you are in a location where wind, rain, and frost are more common, brick is more beneficial as you would not worry that they get eroded or displaced.
They also have different maintenance and repair drills. Fortunately, these three are not that hard to maintain and repair.
Other than what we have already covered, there are also other important questions that must be narrowed down to help you in maintaining your brick driveway in the long run. As such, here are some brick driveway FAQs that you should be aware of.
Can you paint a brick driveway?
Yes. As we have mentioned, bricks can also wear and tear in the long run. One of the best methods to rejuvenate your brick driveway would be to paint it with acrylic paver paint. First, you must clean it with a push broom before applying the paver paint.
How much weight can a brick driveway take?
Being a durable material, a brick driveway can take a 15000 psi of load. In general, one vehicle is at just 5000-7000 psi. Stone driveways in comparison can take more than 19000 psi. But the point is, brick driveways are very durable.
How many bricks do I need for a driveway?
The standard rule is that you would need 48.5 of bricks for every square meter of driveway or walls and columns. As such, you must compute for the area of the driveway and then multiply it to 48.5. If you are not sure with your computation skills, you can always check for an online calculator.
How to remove weeds from brick driveway
Of course, the easiest way to remove weeds from a brick driveway would be spraying herbicides. But if you do not want to go down this route, you can do the following:
- Uprooting the weeds by hand.
- Pouring boiling water on the weeds.
- Dousing it with vinegar and water solution.
- Use table or Epsom salt.
- Pour neem oil or baking soda.
How long do brick driveways last?
With regular maintenance (which includes cleaning and sealing) and upkeep, your brick driveway can last for 25 years without having to repair anything. Keep it pristine and you can have it for 50-75 years.
Which states still use brick streets?
You would be surprised to know that some US states still use a lot of brick pavers not just for their driveways but also for roadworks in general. The following are the states that still use brick streets, each for different reasons.
- Brick streets for flood control: Atlanta, Portland, Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia
- Brick streets for speed control and aesthetic value: Washington, Louisiana, New Orleans
This should not come as a surprise since brick roads have been around the US since the late 1800s. Fun fact, the first brick road was laid in Charleston, West Virginia in 1873.
To conclude, brick driveways are commendable in many aspects. For one, it is very durable, low maintenance, and easy to repair. It might cost you a lot on the upfront, but it is a practical investment down the long haul.
You just need to be prepped the best way you can for a brick driveway. But overall, it is worth the shot for a dependable driveway that could last for years.