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Many homeowners ask this question. Concrete driveways last forever, but they’re not necessarily the most attractive option. Concrete sometimes stains and cracks, and homeowners find laying brick pavers over existing concrete the perfect option to enhance the look of the sidewalk, patio, or driveway. Before contacting a paver contractor for such a brick installation, there are a few things he should know.

The stability of any brick installation depends on several things. There are three forces at play, vertical, horizontal, and rotational. All directions must be stable and secure for a brick installation to last. A reputable paver contractor will be aware of this and will take it into account with any new installation projects he undertakes.

The difficulty with laying a one-inch brick paver over an existing concrete area is that the stability of the subfloor cannot be guaranteed. A crack in the concrete, a slight sloping area, and the fact that the concrete does not have the resilience of the normal base used by a paver contractor are all scenarios for failure of the finished surface. It will only be a matter of time before the cobblestones break.

The correct way to install brick pavers is to remove the existing concrete before installing the new brick surface. You may think you’re finding a less expensive option by laying brick over concrete, but the results are likely to be more expensive. The expense of buying the brick pavers and brick installation will be completely lost when they begin to crack and the driveway or sidewalk begins to disintegrate.

The result will then be costly brick and driveway removal. Although removing the concrete may be more expensive initially than laying the brick pavers on top, you’ll save money in the end if you do the job right the first time.

When discussing this option with a paver contractor, a reputable contractor will advise you that laying one-inch brick pavers over an existing concrete surface is not recommended. The Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute (www.ICPI.org) recommends that concrete be removed and a rock base be established before concrete pavers are placed. You can find more information on their website.

There are less reputable brick paver contractors who will tell you otherwise. If they do, you may want to report them to ICPI as they are misleading the public regarding the proper installation of brick pavers. Consumers often rely on professional contractors to make decisions regarding their home improvement projects, assuming they are experts. Not all of them are. Being warned is being prepared when it comes to any construction contractor.

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