Can we install flagstone over existing brick pathway?

by Katie Zook Hegge
(Minneapolis, MN)

The walkway right after installation but now is sunken, broken and falling apart.

The walkway right after installation but now is sunken, broken and falling apart.


We have a problem. A few years ago, I decided to tear out the very old concrete sidewalk leading from the front gate to the garage in the back, stopping at the back door in the middle. It's about 75 feet long. We replaced it with bricks and also created a circular patio with the same bricks. After one winter season, the bricks took on water, froze and you can imagine the mess in the spring. Many of the bricks imploded, creating an uneven, crumbling mess of a walkway and throughout the spring and summer season we constantly have to sweep up bits of broken brick.

We also have drainage problems, so usually have a frozen lake of a yard in the winter and need to raise the level of the walkway. Our yard is a bit lower than the neighbors' yards so water pools in our yard. We already installed a raingarden to try to stop this from happening, but when the ground is frozen nothing absorbs the water.

We are are thinking about laying flagstone over the bricks. I have thought about this and wonder if it would really work, and if we can do it, should we put down pea gravel, sand or lime stone with fines. Maybe someone with more experience would have an idea about how we can manage this without tearing it all out again. I used to be excited about doing it myself but after having the big job fail, I'm not so thrilled about it anymore and want to make sure what we do this time works for good! Please help.


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by: David

Dear Katie,

You're going to have to put 4 to 5 inches over your brick of sand and then compact the ground really hard.

It seems like you're better off keeping that nice looking brick and not burying it. I know you don't want to tear it out.

Plus, from the picture, it looks like the walkway would be too high if you laid flagstone over the brick.

For cost reasons, you could take out the brick and hopefully use it somewhere else. Then get some sand, run your line from your house out to where you want the water to drain and fill it in with cheap sand or road base.

You might also consider someone putting in stamped concrete. With this economy, you might be able to get a good deal and then you wouldn't have to worry about doing any of the labor.

I hope that gives you some ideas.

Great luck!

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