I have the opportunity to purchase some pallets of structural bricks, the cored ones with three holes in them. I want to use them to build a patio but I live in Ohio where the winters can get harsh. What, if any, would be the best route to take for this project? Ground is clay. Base of sand or gravel? How thick? Bricks laid with holes exposed or flat face? If exposed holes, would it be safe to sweep sand into the holes to fill them up or possibly dry concrete then water it? Thanks for taking the time to answer.

  • That's just the wrong product for the job. You'll have to orient them vertically (as designed) and fill the cores, leaving you with an uneven or unsightly surface, or you orient them sideways and risk broken ankles when the cores cave in after a few years. – isherwood Sep 26 '17 at 19:02
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    There are products called grass and turf pavers: i.stack.imgur.com/gMmIE.png. These are basically bricks with cavities that let you create a solid surface for something like a driveway while still having the general appearance of grass so the driveway blends in. So there's a precedent, but they generally have a cavity pattern that's a little more aesthetic. Just the bricks filled with concrete might look like a DIY project based on sale materials. (cont'd) – fixer1234 Sep 27 '17 at 21:48
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    It would at least look a little more artistic and purposeful if you filled the holes with something like decorative colored gravel. To seal it to keep out weeds, you can partially fill the hole with concrete and add the gravel on top, even add resin to seal the gravel surface. Or just fill the cavities with a dense grass, which will minimize weeds, and go for the "traditional" look. – fixer1234 Sep 27 '17 at 21:48
  • Fixer I have seen bricks with grass it looked ok but I like your idea of colored gravel with a resin to lock it in, ++ – Ed Beal Feb 14 '18 at 21:36
  • I have grass poking up all through my brick patio and I don't think it looks very good at all..... – Greg Nickoloff Aug 29 '19 at 20:51

As long as you have a sound base, packed crushed gravel and then sand, you could lay them either way. The process will be similar to laying flagstone/patio bricks. Be sure to stagger them so they can lock each other in place. Do a quick search on either. The base is key to a successful and long lasting patio in areas where freezing is common. 3-4 in of packed crushed gravel and a inch of sand would probably be fine. Also, you will want some kind of edging to keep the brick from moving. If you want to fill the holes you can do the sand but you'll get weeds coming up from them. If you want grass instead you could get grass plugs and stuff the holes with them. If you don't want anything growing in them either polymer sand or concrete will work fine. Concrete being the more economical choice. The way you described for the concrete is fine for the holes. For between the bricks polymer sand would be ideal choice. First do the concrete and then wait a few days for the sand. Be sure to read the instructions on polymer sand first. Stuff is a pain if it rains on you in the middle of the project so pick a day that is clear.


They work fine as a floor, laid with holes to the side. I made the floor for an 8' X 12' green house/shed using them. I swept sand into the edges. Two notes - no freezing, and good sand base. ( now 15 years old).

  • This would be a bad idea in Ohio. The blocks will certainly degrade after a few years due to frost cycles, and the core walls will collapse. I see twisted ankles (or worse) in the future. – isherwood Nov 21 '18 at 15:18

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