Congratulations on your upcoming project! If you’re here to learn about how to lay a brick walkway with mortar, we’ve got some tips and suggestions to get you on your way.
There’s a lot to go into making your project a success. With mortar work, details matter. Rushing your job will make things look sloppy and you don’t want to be stuck with that reminder every day.
Take your time to plan out your project to get things right. With some patience and slow execution, you’ll finish with a beautiful walkway you can be proud of. Here’s what you need to get started.
how to lay brick walkway with mortar
The Walkway Planning Phase
Before you even think about laying a brick down on your pathway, there’s a lot to think about. Perhaps the first thing to consider is what type of brick or stone you want to use.
There are tons of different shapes, shades, and qualities of brick and stone to choose from. Each comes with benefits and other differences like cost and required maintenance. Once you have a vision for what you want your walkway to look like, you can set about procuring your brick or stone.
Next, you’re going to want to think about where your pathway is going to start. This may sound simple, but you may want a certain pattern in your brickwork. That means where you start and end will determine what kind of pattern you end up with.
The Tools You’re Going to Need
Masonry work requires specialized tools that make laying brick and using mortar easier. Here’s a basic list of what you’ll need:
- A mixing tub for the mortar
- Mason’s trowel
- Mortar bags
- Striking tool
- Mason’s line to keep things straight and level
- Measuring tools
- Rubber mallet to hit bricks and stones into place and flush with mortar
- A circular saw and masonry blade to cut bricks
- Wood beams for edging
Remember, this is just a basic masonry list. The complexity of your walkway may require different tools.
Thinking about Joint Width
How much mortar you want to use on your walkway should be a big factor in your project. Depending on the size of your brick, the thickness of your mortar joints will affect how things look cosmetically.
It will also affect how much mortar you’re going to need. Consider thinner mortar joints. If you go too thick, the bricks look too spread apart and it won’t look uniform.
Generally, it’s a good idea to make half-inch joints for your walkway. A good rule of thumb is to mirror the difference between the nominal size of your brick and its actual size. If the difference is greater or smaller than half an inch, adjust accordingly.
Spread the Mortar layer
Begin your walkway installation by setting edges with your wood beams. Typically, a masonry walkway has a base layer of gravel. On top of the gravel sits a concrete slab.
When you’re ready to start laying bricks on the concrete slab, first use the trowel to spread a layer of mortar across the entire area of slab you’re working on. A half-inch layer of mortar is all you’ll need.
To help keep things level and in line, take a piece of mason’s line to two bricks you’re not using. Set them parallel to the line of bricks you’re laying to help guide you and keep a straight line.
Then begin laying the bricks onto the mortar in your desired pattern. When you place a brick, use a slight twisting motion as you set it into the mortar to help it grip. Every so often, use the rubber mallet or a wooden beam to set the bricks into the mortar firmly. The wooden beam is great because it makes sure all of the bricks are flush.
When you do use the rubber mallet, as a precaution, it’s a good idea to use a piece of the wood beam and lay it on the brick. That helps reduce the chance you’ll crack or break a brick when you strike it.
Inserting the Mortar Joints
After you’re done with a piece of the walkway, you’re going to need to let it sit for a while, so it cures in place. After you’ve waited a bit, grab a mortar bag filled with mortar and start filling the joints between the bricks with mortar.
Make sure you are squeezing the joints full. Sometimes people leave air spaces or gaps in mortar joints that will lead to problems down the road. You want to ensure that no water or debris can get in between your bricks.
If you don’t have a mortar bag, it’s possible to use a trowel to fill in the joints. However, you’re probably going to end up with a lot of mortar on the brick walkway surface, so have a water bucket and rag ready to clean off any excess mortar. Whenever you have excess, use the trowel to scrape it away so your joints are uniform and even with your brick surface.
Let the Mortar Cure
Mortar can take weeks to cure, depending on the weather and the climate you’re living in. Don’t let anyone walk on the walkway for a week just to be safe. Make it longer if it rains or is particularly humid.
Once you think it’s had enough time to set, test it out by putting some weight on it in a small area. Go over the walkway to check for any loose bricks on poor joints you need to address.
After you’ve done all these steps, it’s time to enjoy your beautiful new brick or stone walkway. Brick walkways to your house, in your backyard, or at your place of business look elegant and timeless.
This type of project is a great DIY idea you can complete on a weekend or a few evenings. It can be fun and you’ll feel fantastic knowing you built a walkway you can be proud of.