Jul 31, 2010

Major Brick Paver Step Repair for Paver Patio & Porch

Step Repair and Reconstruction

We spent alot of time & effort tearing down and rebuilding some major brick paver steps for a paver patio and porch this past week in Saline. This was another example of a reputable local landscape contractor installing interlocking pavers and modular retaining wall steps well above their capabilities.  The design was good but the execution of these paver patios, walks, & paver steps was poor. Appearance & safety became the urgency for the paver repairs to these brick steps. It did take some time and expertise to solve this step problem.

Most contractors can install flatwork of brick pavers but the truly experienced brick paver contractor is needed for the proper design, layout, and execution of intricate paver steps, raised or multi-level paver patio walls, or elevation changes.  For the amount of money that customers pay for this premium landscape upgrade of paving stones, they deserve the best installation possible.

From the "before" pictures of these brick paver steps, you can easily notice the amount of gaps through out the blocks & caps. The landscape contractor did not take the time & effort to properly install these paver steps.  Base material behind & below the retaining wall blocks easily eroded and settled and therefore allowed the paver steps & paving stones to shift, slide, and fall.  With a family of 3 young children, this customer needed to address this safety issue quickly and did not have time to haggle with the landscape contractor anymore.

 We tore these brick paver steps completely down and rebuilt them from the ground up. We needed additional retaining wall blocks to help with a stronger redesign and structure.  Aside from the gaps throughout the structure, the paver step structures where installed on top of paving stones instead of anchored below grade for stability. These massive paver step structures were just sliding out over the paving stones. The rises were also way off and inconsistent.  The paver patio step landing had a 11" rise going into the doorwall!

We just performed the simple installation techniques that should have been done originally for these brick paver steps.  We began by using a transit to shoot heights we could set the wall blocks properly to insure safe & consistent rises. It was necessary to add another bottom paver step in the paver patio to eliminate the 11" rise into the house.  We also reset the paving stone areas around this step structure to make sure the water pitched away and into the yard.

We also set the retaining wall blocks below grade on proper compacted base, and though tedious with this particular product, we saw cut each block to close any & all gaps that would allow base material to filter out.  Compaction under, behind, and next to all brick paver step structures is crucial and usually ignored by inexperienced installers. Brick paver specialists pay attention to these details!
As you can see from these "after" pictures of the brick paver patio steps & porch steps that we reinstalled properly, the appearance & safety has been greatly enhanced. The homeowner was so happy that their brick step ordeal was resolved.
I always preach that the more intricate brick pavers & retaining wall projects are best installed by the pavers expert. Please do not be a victim of this kind of work by an inexperienced landscape contractor selling you a package.

We are currently on another brick paver patio steps & porch step repair that will be my next post this coming week. The house calls keep coming and we keep getting pavers healthy.