In a warm climate, rigid brick paving--where the bricks are set in a bed of mortar on top of a concrete slab with fully mortared joints--is more durable than flexible paving--where the bricks are set dry in a layer of stone dust over a compacted aggregate base. But rigid paving can be unforgiving to movement, with any deformation in the slab showing up as a crack in the finished brick surface. Grouting the joints can also turn into an unholy mess if you’re not careful and patient.

In this recent JLC article, veteran North Carolina mason John Carroll explains the steps he takes to build durable brick walkways, starting with prepping and pouring the slab. There are tips on layout, a detailed look at how to lay the brickwork, and a neat approach to grouting and jointing the bricks that minimizes cleanup.

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