This season’s This Old House project on PBS had a comeback story to tell – and as it turned out, Pine Hall Brick Company had both an acting and a speaking role in the telling. Above photo: This Old House/Zach Dilgard

The story centers on an 1887 Victorian in Glen Ridge, New Jersey, about 16 miles west of New York City. The home is that of Sunita and Shankar, who had lived there for 25 years, pursuing their careers and raising a family. With their children grown, the couple decided to renovate the 3400-square-foot home into a place where both they and their daughter Asha and her husband, Jason – who want to raise their own children in the house – could reside. At the same time, the couple wanted to restore some of its original architectural details, which were lost during several renovations over the years.

Early on in the project, the homeowners referenced the pavers – Pine Hall Brick Company’s English Edge Accent Gray – as a factor in choosing exterior colors, including wallboard, trim and roofing.

Top photo: This Old House/Raquel Langworthy Photography. Bottom photo: This Old House.

Timeless benefits of clay pavers

The day of the paver installation, Jason’s parents, Judy and Jack, who themselves have owned a design-build landscaping business in Ohio, described to This Old House landscape contractor Jenn Nawada how they laid and compacted gravel underlayment and screeded sand in place, before measuring carefully and creating a grid with squares and masonry lines. Because the sidewalk was laid in a herringbone pattern, pavers at the edges had to be cut using a wet saw.

Doug Rose, Pine Hall Brick Company paver sales manager, got to perform on camera to describe to Nawada how the clay pavers had beveled edges and built in spacers for ease in installation in a sand joint. More importantly, the pavers are dense, which means they do not absorb moisture from the ground. Thus, they provide good protection against breaking down under the freeze-thaw cycles that occur in northern New Jersey, and are immune to damage from de-icing salt.

Photo: This Old House/Raquel Langworthy Photography

More brick options

Nawada then asked Rose whether bricks taken from the chimney could be reused as pavers.

“It’s really about the purpose of the brick, using the right material for the right application,” said Rose. “This was in the chimney and had mortar applied to it. Unfortunately, it has a high-water absorption rate and it would probably not survive well on the ground.”

Nawada suggested that reclaimed chimney bricks could be used instead for fire pits or short walls or anything that is vertical. Rose agreed and mentioned that reclaimed brick could even be used in interior applications, such as a rustic wine cellar.

Just past the front walkway, visitors to the completed project are finding that the front porch and entryway are both updated with Pine Hall Brick Old School 8’s Thin Brick to cover the concrete piers that are holding up the porch.

Above, Pine Hall Brick Company paver sales manager is on the set with Jenn Nawada. Below, the multi-generational family with their newly finished old house. Photo: This Old House

Top photo: This Old House/Zach Dilgard. Bottom photo: This Old House/Raquel Langworthy Photography

Pine Hall Brick and This Old House

The 1887 Glen Ridge home marks the fifth time that Pine Hall Brick pavers have appeared on This Old House. The first – the New York City House – was the installation of a paver patio behind a Brooklyn Brownstone in the 2009 season.

It’s remembered for two reasons. The pavers were delivered and then had to be carried, by hand, in five-gallon plastic buckets from the delivery truck out front, through the front hall and out the back door. And it was the time that former landscaper Roger Cook, and others had to rush to get the installation done because of a snowstorm.

The others were:
This Old House Dorchester
This Old House 1894 Victorian
Ask This Old House Rebuilding Together Boston

Here’s thanks to the This Old House crew – we’re proud to work with you. And we’ve got a promise to homeowners everywhere: We’d be proud to be a part of your house, too.

Old or not.

Photo: This Old House/Raquel Langworthy Photography