Jul 16, 2009

Brick Paver Repair Options

On many of my brick paver repair estimates, I am asked to give pricing options for the repairs of their brick paver patio, sidewalk, driveway, porches, steps, or retaining walls. Usually these pricing options include doing the paver repairs using the "band aid" approach or the total reinstalling of the interlocking brick paver or modular retaining wall project.

The dilemma for the homeowner is to decide whether to accept the "band aid" approach which is usually considerably cheaper, or biting the bullet and accepting the commitment to properly reinstall the paver project. Because of the price disparity of these approaches, their are considerable questions and angst by the customers.

The "band aid" approach is referred to as the "cosmetic" approach. The homeowner wants me to just "make it look better" at a minimal cost. I tell customers that the "band aid" approach is a short term repair method that will improve the appearance but not necessarily the long term performance of their brick paver installation. I usually have this request from people that are going to be selling their homes in the near future or if a pressing safety issue exists. Basically this approach is to "cosmetically" repair the paving stones or landscape walls without addressing the sub base below or the major issues that may result in future failures. I will only give a 90 day warranty on these type of repairs. I believe that this brick paver repair approach is more suited for minor settling or heaves from frost. The "band aid" approach should be used early on to correct any minor or small brick repairs that become visible. Too often customers let minor settling or heaving of pavers go unattended which results in major repairs & costs.

The other approach to brick paver repairs is to completely reinstall the brick pavers or modular retaining walls from the bottom up. This will require not only lifting up the paving stones or landscape blocks but completely removing and reinstalling the base & bedding course. Obviously the cost of this type of brick repair far exceeds the "band aid" approach. The customer does save the product costs which is the major advantage of interlocking brick pavers and modular retaining walls. I will usually warranty any total reinstallation project for 1-2years since I am completely reinstalling to my specifications which meet or exceed any brick paver manufacturer's, such as, Unilock or Belgard, recommended installation specs.

It is very disheartening to me for customer's to pay $1,000's of brick paver repairs after making a considerable investment in their paver patio, sidewalk, or driveway. Brick Pavers are NOT no maintenance. Paving stones & landscape blocks require some minor touch up maintenance to keep them beautiful and functional. It is much better to pay "band aid" prices of $100-$200 each couple of years with brick paver maintenance then to wait 5 years and let the pavers or walls collapse and cost $1000's to repair.