Brick Pavers Crumbling
Crumbling Brick Pavers
Why Do Paving Brick Crumble?
The concrete paving brick crumble because the Portland cement used to hold together the sand and gravel loses its ability to hold together the sand and gravel used to create each brick. This happens most frequently in cold climates.
Water soaks into the concrete paving brick. When this water freezes, it expands in volume by 9 percent.
The ice crystals can blast apart the cement crystals. When this happens, the brick crumble.
The crumbling can also be caused by an inferior base and heavy concentrated loads on the brick. This is rare, but it's possible.
How Old Are Concrete Brick Pavers?
Colored brick pavers have been around since the late 1970s.
I remember when these interlocking colored concrete bricks were introduced. Homeowners were attracted to them like flies to picnic food.
When I first saw them, I knew there would be problems with them.
First, they were made from regular concrete. Small pieces of stone were used, but it's just concrete.
Traditional paving brick are made from clay and fired in a kiln. If the kiln temperature is hot and the brick are left in for a long time, the brick that come out are more like solid rock. The color of real paving brick is solid through the entire brick.
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Why Do Paving Brick Fade?
The biggest issue with the paving brick is they start to fade and lose their original color.
When they're made, dry pigments that are the consistency of flour are added to the Portland cement. This slurry paste puts an ultra-thin colored coating on all the pieces of sand and gravel used in the brick pavers.
But weather, pressure washers, foot and car traffic rapidly wear this thin paste off.
What Creates the Color in Concrete Paving Brick?
Dry pigments are blended with the concrete used to make the paving brick. The issue, as stated earlier, is this cement paste is very thin and wears off over time only to expose the dull color of the sand and gravel used to make the brick. Here are some standard dry pigment colors:
Do Pressure Washers Harm Paving Brick?
Pressure washing concrete brick pavers causes great harm. The high-pressure water stream accelerates this color fade. It should come as no surprise that a 2,400 PSI stream of water will BLAST away the fine colored cement paste that gives the brick its original pleasant appearance.
Just be aware that the color is going to fade unless you live in a mild climate and the patio is in the shade.
Color-Safe Paving Brick
If you want paving brick whose color will never fade, purchase traditional clay paving brick. The color of the clay is solid throughout each brick. Even if you chip one, the color is the same. Be sure to get brick rated SW - severe weathering.