Brick pavers are precious to me. I love the aged feel they give to a space and how connected to history I feel when I walk down a row of them. So much that before I began building the greenhouse when I found a few pallets of gray concrete pavers on Facebook Marketplace for a steal of a price I knew I needed to buy them. And until now they have been sitting in a pile collecting leaves and dirt, minus the few here and there that I pulled for garden bed edging.
Now they have a forever home right here in my greenhouse. But they didn’t get this far without a little TLC. And the process made so many people (including myself) doubt and question everything the moment I started staining the pavers pink. But there are no regrets.
Here’s how I did it.
- Cushion sand
- concrete pavers
- Valspar Concrete Stain (solid) in Red Sandstone and Garnet
- White (S) Mortar
- Hydrated Lime
First, begin by leveling your cushion sand. To me, this is one of the most difficult parts and I did not do it perfectly (I’m totally okay with that). We used a laser level to run string line grids and then leveled the sand to the same-ish height from the string line.
Lay your brick pavers in whatever pattern you choose. I did a 2×2 “woven” pattern. I used extra sand to level individual bricks as I laid each one. You will want to wear some form of gloves or you can kiss your fingertips goodbye.
Once your pavers are laid, here is where you start staining. I used my two colors to mix a middle shade for variation, but you can do as little or as many colors as your heart desires. I found that using a paint roller is quicker, but you will still have to go in and touch up edges/add your variation colors by hand brushing.
When your stain is dry and you are satisfied with the color placement, simply pour your mortar on top of the pavers and use a broom to push the dry mortar into the spaces between your pavers. Lightly add water after you have swept the mortar into the cracks and use your broom to push the “sludge” into the cracks. Here, if you want a clean brick look, take a sponge and clean each individual brick. If you want a messy mortar look, leave it alone to dry.
Add another layer of mortar in the same method as before if needed to fill any extra gaps.
Once your mortar is dry, use a brush or large broom to scrub your bricks and rinse off the excess mortar remnants.
You may choose to leave your bricks as is, or if you want a more delicate look, you can apply a limewash treatment. Limewashing will give your bricks a “chalky” finish. I did not use limewash paint on my bricks, but a traditional wash composed of 15-20% hydrated lime to 80% water ratio to make a slurry that was then rolled over my bricks and allowed to dry. Becasue lime is a mineral (calcium hydroxide) the limewash will flake off in time and will need to be reapplied if a sealant is not put on top. I chose to not apply a sealant as I want my brick look to “weather” over time.
Apply in thin coats, and let it fully dry in between to see how light it gets. If it is too dark you can always scrub or power-wash the excess off.
So what did this cost?
Overall, the total project (160 sq ft) cost me:
- Cushion sand (1 yard) $20
- Valspar Solid Concrete Stain (2 gal)-$50
- Concrete pavers (facebook find)-$100
- Mortar (3-50 pound bags)- $35
- Hydrate Lime (80lb bag) $12
- Misc brushes and tools-$30
Total: approx. $247
Finding the pavers on Facebook Marketplace was a huge cost saver here, and I have so many leftover from buying several pallets (used for garden bed edging). But if you cannot find any on Facebook, concrete pavers typically run about $0.60 per brick ad are about 4″x8″ in size. To buy pre-colored red ones, you are looking at about $0.75 per brick (buying them pre colored takes away from customizing your color).
You can use this calculator to help determine the number of bricks you will need for your specific project size!
My greenhouse is now ready for all those final touches (filling missing window panes, potting benches, lighting, shelving..etc) and I’m so excited to watch the full character of this greenhouse come to life! But most importantly… PLANTS! Spring is in the air and aI cannot wait to fill this space with all my little plant babies.