I did this brick paver repair call today in Ann Arbor. When I came around to the back to see their paver patio, I was shocked at the extreme need for paver repairs. After consulting with the homeowner on the history of this paver patio, it became evident why this brick patio was in such dispair. This brick paver installation makes me upset because it does not give interlocking pavers or modular retaining wall the credit it deserves.
The homeowner informed me that she had a local landscaper in Ann Arbor install the brick paver patio about 4 years ago. This was her first mistake. Back in the 80's thru about year 2000, most brick pavers were installed by brick paver specialists, companies who's main business was installing interlocking pavers and modular retaining walls. This trend quickly changed when landscapers, even lawn service companies, began to advertise that they install paving stones and block retaining walls. Often they would add "brick pavers" to there list of services on their company vehicles or advertising adds. Without any formal training or experience, these landscapers began installing paver patios, walkways, & driveways.
I'm sorry but after a landscape expert designs a landscape plan, anyone can dig a hole or put down mulch. But paving stones and landscape blocks require an added expertise, skill set, and experience to properly install pavers or retaining walls for long term success. I will admit that brick pavers are considered an unskilled labor project, but not for the foreman or supervisor handling the detail layout, cuts, compaction, or foresight to meet specifications. It is true that interlocking pavers and modular retaining wall projects are 70% grunt work or sweat equity, but that 30% expertise will determine the long-term performance and appearance of your paver projects.
The second mistake the homeowner made with their paver patio was not doing any seasonal paver maintenance like paver joint sand sweeping. Because they hired an uneducated landscaper in Ann Arbor, they were not educated on the maintenance requirements or brick pavers. Simple Spring paving stone joint sand could have prevented at least half of the paver repairs they face today. The homeowner informed me that the landscaper did not finish sweep with any joint sand at the completion of the job. When asked by the homeowner if there was any maintenance to do to their paver patio, the foreman replied with "NO, brick pavers have no maintenance!".
Though this homeowner has some responsibility for the extreme brick paver repairs of this paver patio, it is the responsibility of landscapers who advertise they install brick paver patios to have trained, experienced, and educated paver installers before performing this work. At the very least, they need to educate their clients of the yearly brick paver maintenance requirements needed to maintain the homeowners investment.