Sep 18, 2011

Should you wait until Spring to have your Brick Pavers Repaired?

The decision to wait to have your Brick Paver Patio or Walkway repaired can be more costly

This time of year I have alot of potential clients who decide to wait until Spring to have their brick paver patios, walkways, driveways, porches, etc.. repaired or restored.  In many ways, this decision can be much more costly.  It is important to heed the advice of a reputable and honest brick pavers contractor who will explain the pros & cons of when you should have these paver repair services performed.

I am a consumer too so I always believe that a good qualified contractor should not always be trying to get the work or job today. A good brick paver contractor will present you with the best economical & timing options that best meet your needs and budget.

This all came to light recently when we performed some major repair & design change work to a large raised paver patio installation in Plymouth, MI.  The homeowner was in dire straights with a paver patio that was collasping quickly.  An unqualified landscape contractor did the original work only 4 years ago. This patio installation was unsafe and close to collapsing into the back yard.

This raised brick paver patio needed approx. 50-60% rebuild and the customer did not have the budget for this work at this time.  The homeowner was considering waiting until Spring and using next years tax return to fund the repairs.  The issue became that by waiting through another Winter, this raised paver patio will suffer more damage & settling which will effect the remaining 40-50% of installation.  This of course will greatly increase the cost needed to repair & restore this paver patio.

I spelled out a 2 phase plan that would be more economically feasible for the homeowner at this time while protecting the rest of the raised paver patio from further damage. The first phase was to rebuild & redesign the outer retaining wall foundation of this raised paver patio to keep it from collapsing into the yard and protecting the upper level from further damage.  Much like a house, you must secure the foundation first, then address the rest of the structure in the future.

The second phase will be to return in the Spring and redesign & repair the paver steps leading into the house,  relay the ground level patio & walkway, and rebuild the sitting walls & pillars.  When we complete this total restoration of these multil-level paver patios & walk, the homeowner will deservedly enjoy their paver installation as originally expected.

The extent of repairs for this brick paver installation is an embarrassment to my profession. The lack of attention to construction detail & execution from this landscape contractor has resulted in a "scar" for the appearance, performance, and industry of paving stones and modular retaining wall blocks & caps.

The point made here is that by waiting to repair or restore the settling of brick pavers or wall blocks will result in additional areas settling, leaning, or gapping at an exponential rate. Winter frost will be the most damaging force on compromised paving stones and wall blocks.

The biggest concern I see on a daily basis is the settling of the paving stones directly behind the wall caps.  Instead of rain water flowing over the top of the the caps and off the patio or steps, it runs down behind the wall blocks & caps and slowly erode the base. The hydro static pressure on the walls, especially when frozen during the Winter, will certainly push on the retaining wall system and result in extreme leaning and/or collapsing.

Sometimes the simple cost of repairing or resetting pavings stones will protect the extensive & expensive cost of repairing wall blocks. I have mentioned several times in earlier posts that sweeping of paver joint sand seasonally is the most important factor of brick pavers, but making sure your paver installation is in optimal condition leading into the Winter is the next.

If your brick pavers patio or walkway will require complete reconstruction, it usually does not matter whether you have it done in the Fall or Spring.  The main concern would be safety or risk of water getting into the home during Fall or Winter.  Once the ground is frozen, proper paver repair services can not be performed.

The other factor to keep in mind about whether to have your pavers repaired in Fall or Spring is the cost.  Most brick paver contractors like myself will give a better price to perform these restoration services in the Fall over the high demand of our services in the Spring.  Typically, my prices are 10-15% less in the Fall because we will have gaps in our schedule to fill due to lower demand & leads.  In contrast, Spring prices reflect new higher costs of products, labor, insurances, etc.. that need to be covered to meet minimum margins. 

I know it is easy to put off your paver patio or walkway repair for the Spring, but for those that are cost conscious, it will behoove you to consider doing these repairs this Fall to save costs and/or added future repairs. Remember that "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!"