Techniques for Curving Brick

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Brick can be used for walkways and other outdoor landscape needs and can look conventional or unique. Their patterns can be simple and straight, or complicated and curvy. Techniques and tools are available to assist homeowners with getting that brick walkway looking just right, even for landscapes with curves. However, some basics are required, based upon how curvy the walk will be and how much time you plan to spend shaping your brick walk.

Choose the Correct Pattern

  • Eliminate potential problems with your curved brick walk by choosing the right pattern before you lay your brick walk. Use the running bond pattern to minimize joint irregularity problems in a curved walk, which are accentuated by using basket-weave or herringbone brick patterns (see Reference 1). You can use herringbone for your formal walk, however, if there is only a slight curve, but it will require you to cut some bricks along the walk's perimeter. Forget the Spanish bond brick pattern altogether for curved walks, as it will require the brick be turned a 90-degree angle to work (see Reference 2).

Cut the Brick by Hand

  • Create a curving brick path by cutting perimeter bricks by hand when needed. Once a brick walk pattern has been chosen, you will have to cut some of the bricks to make the curve in the walk look right. Marking the perimeter bricks that need to be cut in order to have uniform joints can be done by hand or with a saw. A cold and broad-bladed chisel and a brick hammer are the only tools you will need in addition to safety goggles and earplugs if cutting by hand (see Reference 3).

Using a Hand-Saw

  • There are hand-held saws and stationary saws to assist you in curving your brick walk by cutting the perimeter bricks. Hand-held saws are great for small jobs, as you can take them on-site without a lot of hassle. According to the website "This Old House," choose a saw that has minimal flydust and helps guard against kickbacks from the bricks being cut (see Reference 4). They recommend the AS170 Brick and Mortar Saw, but other products are also available.

Table Saw Cutting

  • For large curved walkway jobs, the best technique for curving your bricks -- especially if you want to use a brick pattern that will result in a lot of perimeter brick cutting (basket-weave, Spanish bond or herringbone) -- is to cut them with a table saw. This technique enables you to use the brick pattern you want and to cut the bricks in record time. Table-saw options include gas-driven saws (but don't use these indoors, as they can adversely impact air quality and increase noise levels) as well as electric saws, which are not as convenient to take on job sites. For simple home jobs, choose a table saw with a horsepower between 1.5 and 2.0, according to Masonry Magazine, which is sufficient for most residential jobs (see Reference 5).

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