It is common practice to put a brick ribbon around a newly poured concrete walkway. Is it possible to put decorative designs, using bricks, in the middle of a concrete slab as it's poured? How do I put elements like paver bricks, or regular bricks, or blocks in the middle of concrete? Is this advisable, or does it cause cracks to develop?
We use “blockouts” to create a space for bricks or blocks to be mortared into after the concrete sets. (We use wood boards that are tapered slightly for easy removal out of the concrete.)
Anytime you thicken or reduce concrete you’re liable to get a crack. Therefore, we add rebar in the concrete perpendicular to where the blockouts are added.
When pouring my monolith foundation for our shed, we ran a couple bags short and couldn't send the concrete driver out for more. So our concrete finishers took some old brick and concrete blocks we had lying around and used it for filler. Not exactly the same situation as what you're asking, but it does answer:
- Yes, it is something you can do
- Yes, it is semi-common practice
Now, when I poured my walkway, I put flagstone, broken marble and other quary, and broken, colored glass as I was pouring it. The trick is to keep as close to the surface as you can, so when the brushed(?) finish happens, you can easily scrub off the concrete residue left on the top of your decorative pieces. If it's a smooth finish, it's a little more challenging to do during the pour. If you're doing it your self, you need to account for the volume your objects will consume so you do not over pour. If you have a contractor doing it, then just let them know before they begin that you want these pieces included into the pour. You should already decided the finish with them and they can decide when to place them.
Hope that helps!