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I'm looking to put in a brick patio and have been really wanting to do it with reclaimed road bricks. The problem here is sourcing enough to do an entire 18x18 patio and not spending a months salary on just the bricks. So the thought is to just use standard bricks, you know the ones with holes in them. These normally would be for the side of a house and not really exposed to the full force of a Michigan winter with 12"+ of snow on the ground.

Would these bricks hold up? Would grouting them into place help? Also might a sealer help?

Edit:
The base will be made of crushed rock. I am not sure if a layer of sand is needed or not at this point. But Will be added if needed.

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The holes would not be facing up. I would be using the very flat facing of the bricks. –  Tim Meers Apr 11 '11 at 16:11
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A layer of compacted sand over the crushed rock will provide a smooth, stable base so that your bricks don't shift or wobble. –  Jay Bazuzi Apr 11 '11 at 18:01
    
The bricks are unlickly to rename undamaged from frost for 60 years, however do you mind one or two bricks getting damaged each year? –  Walker Jan 13 '12 at 15:20

2 Answers 2

up vote 5 down vote accepted

My wife and I collected an assortment of old house wall bricks from various sources on craigs list and put them down in a patio in the mid-Atlantic a couple years ago. They're on packed gravel and sand with no mortar, laid flat in a herring bone pattern. We've had only one issue which is that some of the bricks were of the softer, less dense variety (light orange and easy to cut). These didn't make it through the first winter. They seemed to have trapped moisture, froze, then exploded into very small pieces. We'll be pulling these out and replacing them.

Other than that we found the old bricks to be great. Patina and slight variation in size make the patio look older than it is. Lots of character and other than a few exploding bricks, little maintenance.

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Also old bricks were about half the price of new bricks from Home Depot. –  jlpp Apr 11 '11 at 18:15
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Craig's lits is king for the DIY type. Found bricks (new ones) for $.25 each. White, brown, and a couple other colors. Going to be laying them in the same pattern as you too. Just trying to get a feel for anyone in freezing areas if they have had good luck. Sounds like you have. –  Tim Meers Apr 11 '11 at 18:22
    
Yea, we're happy. One other relevant thing to point out is that our patio is really a patio plus parking pad. In other words, we park our car on the same bricks and they still hold up. –  jlpp Apr 12 '11 at 3:09

I've used standard house bricks on several projects for the exact same reason. The oldest project was about 8 years ago, and it still looks great today! The most important thing, in my opinion, is to get a good base down underneath the brick. I didn't worry about sealing or grouting my patio, but I also don't get the extreme winter's in Texas that you probably get in Michigan.

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