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When installing a brick patio, it is typically best to remove whatever structure already exists in the location. If you have a flat concrete slab that is still in perfect condition, however, you may be tempted to leave it in place. While this can sometimes keep you from achieving the best results, it is sometimes possible to place brick pavers on concrete. The procedure will typically involve laying down sand or fine gravel on the concrete, and then placing the pavers over the top of it.
When placing brick pavers on concrete, it is important to consider drainage. If breaking up the existing slab and starting from scratch isn't an option, the first thing you may want to do is to determine if the slab is level or not. If the slab is perfectly level, then water may pool on or under the pavers, while if it is sloped towards your home you may experience problems with indoor flooding. How much of an issue this is will generally depend on how much rain you get where you live.
After determining whether your slab is sloped, the next step in laying brick pavers on concrete is usually to lay down a layer of fine gravel or sand. Depending on how much vertical space you have to work with, you may use a layer of each to promote better drainage. If you need to alter the slope of the slab, you can simply place more sand or gravel on the end that needs to be higher. After you've placed the brick pavers on concrete, you may then brush sand over them to fill in the cracks. This can help prevent them from shifting when they are walked on.
If you live in a very arid environment, you may choose to simply lay the brick pavers on concrete and brush sand over them. This is because drainage will not be a concern. You will still need to prevent the pavers from moving around when they are walked on, however.
The best drainage is usually achieved by removing the slab and starting from scratch, but proper use of sand or gravel may result in a surface with adequate drainage. If water issues occur, and the sand washes away or the pavers shift, you will simply have to pick them up and repeat the procedure. This maintenance may be less work than breaking up a slab — and leaving the slab in place can allow you to simply remove the pavers, if you desire a change later on.
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