For our new extension we’re extending the patio, so we’re considering matching the old patio pavers with similar reclaimed ones – but is this a good idea?
Reclaimed patio pavers are more expensive than new ones, but if you want to create an instant old-world look that adds some history and character to your property, then investing in aged brick, natural stone, or concrete pavers can be a good move.
Let’s dive down into this topic in more detail, and discover what types of reclaimed pavers there are, what you can do with them, and how much they cost compared to new ones…
Can You Use Reclaimed Bricks For Paving?
Yes, you can use reclaimed bricks for paving. You’ll get an instant, old-world look, and your pavers will have that lovely, weathered patina that’s so attractive in older properties.
Reclaimed bricks are tough as well. Indeed, bricks were used for road surfaces before asphalt, easily withstanding the constant wear from hooves and cartwheels.
If you want your patio, path, or driveway to have a subtly multicolored finish, reclaimed bricks are an excellent way to achieve this. Older manufacturing methods result in non-uniform bricks with different nuances of color and pattern.
However, if you want a more minimalist, consistent finish, you may be better off buying new bricks for your paving project. Modern, mass-made bricks will give you a more uniform effect, which can look better in contemporary settings.
Can Flagstones Be Reused For Patios?
Flagstones can be reused for patios, usually pieced together as broken slabs. This can create a really original look and is great fun to design, a bit like a giant jigsaw puzzle. You can cut the edge pieces for a neat shape, and by filling the cracks with sand, you should get a uniformly smooth surface.
Like brisk, older flagstones have a pleasingly weathered finish. They’ve also stood the test of time: if they were going to crack or leach iron, they would have done by now. You should get a nice blend of colors and even patterning, giving you a charming, patchwork effect.
Used flagstones come from demolition projects, and you should be able to find a local used stone dealer by searching your area online. You can buy them by the pallet, and arrange to have them delivered to your home. Reusing flagstones is an environmentally friendly way to give your yard a facelift.
If you’re thinking of introducing some flagstones to your yard, take a look at this short film on YouTube from Gardenguy. He takes you through how to build a flagstone path, making the most of the fragments’ curves to create a meandering walkway through a garden.
Are Reclaimed Pavers More Expensive Than New Ones?
Reclaimed paving materials can be more expensive than new – or cheaper. Yes, it’s not a straightforward answer, as the costs of used pavers can vary.
Basically, it’s the difference between “antique” and ”used”. Expect to pay more for old pavers with a beautiful patina and hand-made finish than you would for a pallet of broken-up slabs that are being sold off by a contractor.
New bricks vary in price, but they’ll typically start at about 40 cents. Better quality ones can cost around a dollar each. Bear in mind that a cheaper brick may not be as tough or durable. A standard used brick costs a similar amount, maybe a bit more (because it’s tried-and-tested, and you’ll know it’s tough).
However, if a brick is designated as an “antique”, a single unit can cost upto $10. Think twice before paving your driveway with these… For a detailed breakdown of brick costs, take a look at this guide, which gives you costs per pallet or unit.
What Types of Reclaimed Pavers Are There?
You can divide pavers into three main types: brick, natural stone, and concrete. Natural stone is the most expensive new, and is best used for patios and footpaths as it isn’t as robust as the other two.
Bricks are strong and stain-resistant and come in a range of colors. You can also create interesting designs using brickwork. Concrete is a really strong option, and there’s always a good choice of colors and designs. All three types of paver can be bought used, as well as off the shelf from stores like Lowe’s.
So, if you decide to buy used rather than new, you should still have a great choice of pavers. Think about what strength and durability you need, as well as the aesthetic finish. You may even decide to have a combination: concrete for the driveway, but an attractive reclaimed stone path around the flower beds.
Also bear in mind your budget. Antique bricks with a weathered finish in lovely shades of russet and pink will look stunning, but they will cost you. Maybe reserve these for smaller jobs such as garden edging or for raised beds?
Are Reclaimed Bricks & Pavers Frost Resistant?
One of the biggest advantages of reclaimed bricks and pavers is that they have stood the test of time. They’ve probably survived more winters than you have, and if they were going to get cracked or damaged by frost, it would have happened by now.
We have heard that there could be a problem if you reuse old wall bricks on your path or driveway, as they haven’t been weathered on the ground, which is typically colder and wetter than a wall. You do have the option of sealing your brick pavers if you’re unsure about this, and always have a solid compacted base, made from something like shale.
What Are The Main Benefits of Reclaimed Pavers?
There are lots of great reasons to choose reclaimed pavers over new ones. Here are some of the main benefits of using old bricks or flagstones in your yard.
- They look great! The aesthetic appearance of your patio, path, or driveway is so important, especially if it takes up a large proportion of your yard. The weathered finish and hand-made looks of older paving material gives you a truly attractive effect
- Older bricks suit older houses. If you live in an old property, a shiny new driveway simply won’t look right. Choose a weathered material so it looks perfect from day one, and gives the impression that your patio or path has been there for years
- Reclaimed pavers are tried and tested. They’ve proven that they can survive frost, staining, and generally being exposed to the elements. As we said earlier, if they were going to crack in cold weather, it would probably have happened by now
- They can be a cost-effective option. As we said earlier, antique handcrafted bricks won’t be cheap, but a pallet of broken pavers will be. If you’re on a budget, there are definitely cheap options out there. If you’re friends with a contractor, you may even get hold of some broken up slabs for free
- It’s a green approach to gardening. It’s so important to reuse resources whenever we can. Old bricks and pavers have plenty of life left in them, and they really should never end up being dumped in landfill. By reusing building materials, you’re helping to keep the construction industry green and sustainable, and that’s always going to be a good thing
- They have many uses. There are plenty of construction projects in your yard that can benefit from reclaimed materials, from pretty paths between your flower beds to building your own fire pit
- Reclaimed bricks have a history. Isn’t it nice to look at your driveway, and think that these bricks have been around for tens of years? OK maybe that’s just us, but we love the idea that older materials have had long and interesting lives. You may even know where they came from, which makes them extra-interesting
Despite the extra cost, I think we will go for reclaimed pavers to match the existing old ones on our patio.
New ones are great in the right context, but our house has some history behind it so using aged pavers that reflect that is a good idea.
The cost is quite a lot more – but we think it will be worth it in the end (he says hopefully!). 🙂
Homeowner and property investor Larry James founded Take a Yard in 2020 to bring you the very best outdoor living content, based on his years of experience managing outside spaces. Read more >