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Brick Pavers Crumbling

Crumbling 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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Color Loss

The biggest issue with the paving brick is they start to fade and lose their original color.

When they're made, the pigments added to the Portland cement coat all the pieces of sand and gravel used in the brick pavers. But weather wears this off.

Pressure washing concrete brick pavers greatly accelerates this color fade and the wearing away of the fine colored cement paste that gives the brick their 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 2017 Tim Carter

Crumbling Issues

The concrete paving brick crumble because the Portland cement used to hold together the sand and gravel looses it's ability to hold on. 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.

paving bricks

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. Copyright 2017 Tim Carter


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2 Responses to Brick Pavers Crumbling

  1. Tim;

    This is something I noticed early on with these types of pavers. I avoided them just because I was suspicious when they came out and living in Minnesota (like New Hampshire) I was concerned about them breaking up and saw plenty of that happening within a couple years of their installation in various venues. Thanks for this article!

  2. great article! somehow with technology we are all wowed with the new imitation products with out thinking about the future and or the integrity of the new materials, while doing some research on paving options I learned that Concrete Pavers not only fade in time but are very vulnerable to salts used as deicers in cold climates, but then there was also the price, I always thought it was a lot cheaper than a true clay paver and its non necessarily true some concrete pavers become very pricey if they are tumbled or have a special color so at that point is cheaper to do true clay pavers that will last forever and will never loose the color. anyway is all about taste but I try to stay away from anything that is trying to imitate something else; true clay pavers and natural stone is the best way to go and not always for more money!

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