When redoing a walkway or a patio should I reuse old pavers or buy new ones?

Of course the argument can be made that we, as Americans, are consumers.  As a result there has become a large movement toward recycling and reusing anything we can to save the planet and, frankly, to save a buck.  If you’re in the market for redoing an existing walkway that currently has old pavers or bricks – you might find our take on reusing vs. buying new helpful.

First and foremost, it’s important to think about the scope of your project and how much you’ll be adding on to an existing patio or walkway already in place and it’s current condition.  Some questions to consider:  does it puddle when it rains?  Is it uneven or extremely worn down?  Is the sand coming out from between the pavers or bricks?

If it’s a small job and you are simply looking to readjust parts of an uneven walkway, by all means, reuse the bricks or pavers you have and replace cracked or overly eroded ones with new ones that are the closest match.

Image by Christopher Sessums via flickr.com

If, however, you are expanding, adding on, or find the surface of your current walkway totally unruly, you may be surprised by our suggestion to purchase all new materials.  Here are a few reasons why:

NPS photo by Brett Seymour via flickr.com

  1.  Inevitably you’ll want to match your current pavers with the same ones to do any expansion, but because mother nature isn’t always the nicest to outdoor elements they become harder to match.  Not to mention that the ones put in originally may not even be stocked or made anymore.
  2. Older pavers or bricks that are used (walked on, shoveled, etc.) more frequently tend to change thickness in varying locations making it hard to maintain a solid foundation for that patio or walkway underneath.
  3. If you’re updating decor in your backyard, often times, it means you’re updating lawn furniture and other items, too – which means you’re looking for a fresh look – which will be very hard to get with reusing existing materials.
  4. As with many things, pavers and bricks are manufactured differently today than they were event 5-10 years ago.  Some would argue that “they don’t make ’em like they used to” but we’ve found that many these days are sturdier and better quality than ones we so often replace.

At the end of the day, if you’ve hired a professional to do the job, leave it up to them to decide what might be best for your situation.  If you haven’t hired a professional yet but your project fits the “needs more work” category, it might not be a bad idea to have an estimate done and see what they might suggest.

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