Why Are the Paver Bricks Sinking in the Ground?

Elton Dunn

Paver bricks and stones sink over time as the ground settles, but premature sinking can indicate a serious problem. All types of pavers can sink, from large natural stone slabs to bricks. Learn how to tell what you can fix on your own from what's best left to a pro.

Paver stones sink for a number of reasons.

Unstable Ground

Soil freezes over in the winter and thaws in the spring. The ground expands and contracts with the ice. Soil can settle in the spring upon thawing out at a lower level than it was before, leading to pavers stones and bricks that appear shrunken. This cannot be prevented. To fix this problem, lift out the shrunken bricks. Fill the gap in with builder's sand then replace the bricks.

Water Erosion

Paver bricks placed near a downspout, stream or other water source can sink as the soil around them erodes. The area will be wet and boggy if water erosion is a factor. Try to redirect the water if possible, by creating a drainage ditch to divert the water or setting up a rain barrel to capture it. To secure the bricks, dig them up and settle them on a base of sand or gravel.

Poor Preparation

The stones can also sink if the base was not properly prepared before laying the pavers. Paver stones should be laid on a bed of compacted gravel or coarse sand. You can get away with laying them directly on the earth if the ground consists of a perpetually firm surface, such as clay.

Large Problems

If paver bricks set with mortar are sinking, or if a large area of the patio pavers are sinking, consider seeking professional help. Chances are, something bigger is behind the paver brick sinking, such as a drainage problem. If your pavers have sunk and cracked, also consider hiring someone to help you.