How To Level Sunken Patio Pavers

Although a patio consisting of individual pavers provides a great look, the layout can begin to lose its luster over time. When considering a patio of concrete versus bricks, the individual bricks or pavers can settle after a while, leading to an uneven surface that could create a tripping hazard or create gaps that allow weeds to grow. The upheaval of individual stones typically occurs because the ground underneath is no longer supporting them, causing them to shift. The best way to level sunken patio pavers requires a bit of elbow grease, because you'll have to remove the pieces that are uneven and rebuild the supporting ground underneath before replacing the pavers.

Typically, these problems occur because the pavers were not properly installed in the first place. Before installing patio pavers, it's vital to take time to create the proper foundation. This is a common area where contractors may take shortcuts to try to shorten the time required to do the job, leading to problems within a few months as the foundation underneath begins to settle. Another cause of sunken stones is because of water draining underneath the individual stones, eroding the foundational ground. During installation, you can properly seal your backyard patio pavers to prevent water from penetrating the space between the stones. You should also create the proper slope and grade on the surface of the pavers so that water drains away, rather than pooling on the surface and penetrating into the gaps.

Preparing to fix your sunken patio pavers

Start by collecting the tools and materials you need to fix this problem. You'll need a hammer, a rubber mallet, a flat head screwdriver, a stiff putty knife, a thin pry bar, a shovel, and a trowel. For materials, paver sand and pea gravel are necessary to have. You also will want a level and a 2x4 piece of wood, and consider using knee pads for comfort.

The first step to fix sunken pavers in your patio is to pull out the individual pieces that are no longer flat on the surface. Stick a screwdriver or a pry bar into the gap next to the low spot. Use a hammer or a rubber mallet to carefully wedge the flat tool into the gap so that you can pry the individual brick out of the layout. If you're struggling to pull the first stone out of place, use a rubber mallet to strike the pieces around it to help loosen everything. Take your time, as you don't want to crack one of the pavers by using too much force to pop it out of place. Once you have a single paver out of the way, the others are easy to pry loose and pop out. Pull any stones that are clearly sinking or rising out of place, and pull nearby stones too, for a complete repair job.

Fixing the foundation for your patio pavers

With multiple stones out of the way, use your shovel to loosen and dig away a few inches of soil in the area where the sunken pavers were most noticeable. Then use the pea gravel to create a drainage layer that also provides support for the bricks. Walk on the gravel or use a tamper to make sure it's tight and fully compacted. You'll want this gravel layer to be almost even with the existing hardscape under the bricks that you did not remove.

Next, add your sand to the area in small increments. Use the 2x4 or the edge of the level to spread the sand across the opening in the patio pavers. As you drag the wood or level across the opening, ensure the bottom of it is level with the hardscape underneath the remaining paver stones. As you drag and spread out the sand, you may notice gaps and holes where the sand sunk too far. Fill these areas with a little more sand before dragging the tools across the surface of the sand again. If you have excessive sand at the edges after dragging it, use the trowel to remove it. Once everything is level, start replacing the patio pavers. Then pour some more sand over the top of the entire layout and use a push broom to force sand into the gaps between the pavers.