by Dwayne Regehr
If properly built, a concrete paver patio can last for many years with minimal maintenance. I have seen old unistone patios built in the 1960s that are still in great shape.
But the clay sub-soil found in the Winnipeg area can be challenging. It expands dramatically when wet, and if July is hot and dry, the ground will shrivel up, often producing large cracks in your yard. This expansion and contraction can be hard on patios. The stone base under the patio helps to isolate the surface from the movement of the sub-soil, but over time you may see cracks developing or portions of your patio may start to sink.
The good news is that concrete paver patios are easily repaired. Assuming that the crushed stone base is still sound, it is a process of removing the pavers, re-leveling the base with additional crushed stone and then re-setting the pavers with new polymeric sand in the joints to lock everything together and to seal out dirt and weeds.
Only in rare cases will it be necessary to replace the old stone base.
So, what does it cost to do these types of repairs?
As with the construction of a new concrete paver patio, repair costs can vary widely depending on the location of the patio, the size of the area needing repair, and its condition. Costs could be anywhere from $10.00 to $25.00 per square foot. Since there is no fixed, per-square-foot price for patio repair, it is best if I offer a few examples.
A new-ish home with a large 20' by 30' patio in your back yard.
This patio was built about 10 years ago by a reputable company that did everything right, and the majority of the patio is rock solid. Unfortunately though, there is a 3 foot wide strip of the patio close to the house that has settled and is starting to slope towards the house. This is not uncommon.
There is a 3 to 4 foot wide area around the foundation of your home that was excavated to put in the foundation. This will continue to settle for many years to come. Because your patio begins at about 2 feet from the house, that edge is settling along with the ground around the foundation, and will likely have to be re-levelled every 10 years or so.
For best results we would remove about 120 square feet of pavers, roughly 4' by 30', level the area and then re-set the pavers. Ideally, we would add a little extra slope to the repair to ensure that future settling will not be an immediate problem. Repair costs would be around $15.00 to $16.00 per square foot for a total of $1800.00 to $2000.00.
A 60' long by 3' wide walkway connecting your front driveway to a patio in the back yard.
The repair is very similar to Example #1, but it is a slightly larger area, with easier access. The area is about 180 square feet at $13.00 to $14.00 per square foot for a total of $2300.00 to $2500.00.
A large unistone patio, 16' by 25', built roughly 30 years ago in your back yard.
It was built well, and has not required a lot of maintenance. But last year we had a wet spring, followed by a hot dry summer that caused the sub-soil to first expand, and then contract quite dramatically. Now you see that one corner of the patio is sinking slightly and there is also a network of cracks developing in the center of the patio.
This 400 square foot patio would likely cost $12.00 to 13.00 per square foot to repair. The size of the patio helps to reduce the per square foot price, but the older pavers are quite dirty, and there is a lot of dirt in the spaces between bricks requiring a little extra effort to get them cleaned up.
The total cost would be around $4000.00.
A 4-car driveway, roughly 20' wide and 40' long.
It was built to support the weight of regular passenger cars, and has served you well for over 10 years.
In the course of a major house renovation, the contractor parked a large dumpster in your driveway, and also drove across the corner of the driveway with a loaded tandem dump truck. The ruts and depressions in your driveway aren't the end of the world, but the unevenness makes it difficult to shovel snow off the driveway.
We could do spot repairs, fixing only the most damaged areas for about $2000.00, but redoing the full driveway will produce a much better result, and will allow us to raise the pavers along the garage and front steps that have sunken a couple of inches over the years. At $10.00 to $11.00 per square foot this 800 square foot driveway will cost $8000.00 to $9000.00 to repair.
All of these examples assume that there are no major problems with the base stone that supports the concrete pavers. The majority of paving stone contractors in Winnipeg do good work, and if your patio has been relatively stable over the last 10 years, we can usually assume that with minor repairs or re-leveling it will last for many more years. But if your patio is very uneven, or if it has developed large cracks, we would need to look a little deeper.
We may need to remove a few pavers and do some exploratory digging to determine the depth and condition of the stone base. If we discover bigger problems, and need to replace the base stone, it becomes a much bigger job. In those situations, the repair costs could be very close to the cost of a new patio or walkway.
All repair options and potential costs would be included in your estimate, allowing you to make a well-informed decision on your patio repairs.
We'd love to help you out with your patio or driveway repair. Send us an email at email@example.com.
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