Installing bricks on your patio is one of the best ways to liven up your outdoors. Though you can lay other materials on your patio - such as stone, stone veneer, plain or colored concrete and tiles - most Do-It-Yourself enthusiasts prefer bricks because they are relatively easy to install. Do know, however, that bricks are quite costly compared to other paving materials; but your initial investment will be compensated by bricks' natural durability. To get the most value for your money, it all starts with knowing how to choose patio bricks. Here are some handy tips for you to remember:
- Consider the color. One of the most obvious considerations is the color of the patio bricks that you will buy. Common color tones include brown, tan, birch, and dark yellow, but the most popular are reddish bricks, which give a natural, earthy vibe to a home's exterior. When considering the color of the bricks that you will buy, you have to make sure that it conforms to the overall color design and theme of your house exteriors. Another consideration is the degree of expected traffic in the area that you want your bricks installed: the general rule is that areas of high traffic are better off with darker-colored bricks.
- Consider the type. There are two general makes of paving bricks: the first is clay, and the second is concrete. Clay bricks are the more traditional material, while concrete have gained popularity in the last 30 years. Concrete is known to be more durable.
- Consider the pattern.There are many ways that you could lay out the bricks in your patio because of the bricks' uniform shape and size. Some popular examples include simple rectangular design patterns, checkerboard patterns and basket weave patterns, to more complex geometric shapes or curved shapes (with these curved shapes, however, do know that you would have to cut some bricks to proper size). Once you have a pattern in mind, you will be able to calculate how many bricks you will need to cover the patio's surface area.
- Remember: it's better that you over calculate the number of bricks that you will purchase rather than to underestimate it. That's because obtaining the exact same shade and color of bricks might prove to be a difficult task, so the best way is to obtain everything you need all in one trip.
- Know its grade and rating.Do know that different types of bricks have varying strength and resistance, so make sure that you buy quality bricks that have been determined suitable as paving material. In the US, the standard for paving bricks is the ASTM C902, or the Standard Specification for Pedestrian and Light Traffic Paving Brick. The brand of bricks that you purchase should conform to these standards; ask for the accompanying documentation from the store attendant. One way of knowing if the brick that you buy is suitable as paving material is to tap one brick with a hammer. If it lets out a high, metallic sound, then it's indeed of strong, durable quality; if it thuds similar to a block of wood, then it's less durable and is designed to be an ornamental brick.
- Consider buying rubber bricks. If you're looking for an alternative to hard bricks, why not opt for rubber bricks? Rubber bricks are made of 100% recycled tire rubber, and they retail for about $12.95 each (making them more costly than regular bricks). They are more comfortable and are recommended for use over a small surface area.
Remember, buying quality bricks will require a bit of research and comparison shopping on your part. But making sure that you buy the best for your patio will ensure that you'd have a great-looking home exterior for years to come!