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Brick Pavers Crumbling

paving bricks

Crumbling Brick Pavers | Here's a concrete paving brick that's crumbling. It must have not had enough Portland cement in the mix to offset the freezing water that blasts apart the concrete. LOOK BELOW at the photograph showing the new paving brick that replaced the crumbling one. You'll then see why you don't want to use precast paving brick on your patio, driveway, or sidewalk. I have a better alternative below. Copyright 2022 Tim Carter

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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Get FREE & FAST BIDS from local patio contractors that can install traditional clay paving brick.

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:

whitewash brick pigments colors

Here are just a few of the many many pigments available. You can blend different pigments to get different shades that you don't see here! CLICK HERE or THE IMAGE TO BUY ANY WHITEWASH or CONCRETE PIGMENT YOU WANT.

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.

brick pavers

Here's a great example of faded concrete paving brick next to brand new ones that have not yet lost the colored cement paste off the sand and gravel. Copyright 2022 Tim Carter

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.

paving brick cracked in half - comparing aggregate color

I cracked the new precast CONCRETE paving brick in half. Look at how light-colored the aggregate is! Over time when the red cement paste wears off, the pavers will look different. My traditional clay paving brick patio just under the cracked brick will stay red forever, because the red clay is the same color throughout the entire brick. © 2022 Tim Carter


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