DIY Home Improvements…How to Change a Damaged Brick

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by Tracey
(Hastings, UK)

Regardless of what type of brick you are going to be working with, you should understand that all bricks are exposed to extreme weather conditions.

Whether it is snow, hail or rain water, you will begin to see cracks and slips on the brick. In most cases, small chunks will come off the brick and it would leave openings in the brick itself.

As time progresses, not only will the other bricks need replacing but your home would also be letting in cold air from the outdoors. A perfectly constructed brick wall is an essential step in keeping yourhome warm during the winter. Apart from the winter cold air, you would also be inviting moisture, which would simply damage the overall construction of your home.

Changing a damaged brick may sound like a huge task for many, but it really does not take an expert to get done. Before you begin, you will need some tools to work with. Brick layering does require several specialized tools, as your regular hammer and wrench won’t get thejob done.

Tools You Need: Metal chisel, power drill, hammer, mortar mix, water, bucket and a mixing tool

Now, depending on how your brick is cracked, you may not even need to get it replaced. If your brick has a small crack, you have a very small task at hand. What you can do is remove the brick in question and turn it around so that the crack is facing the building. The side that was facing the building would be like brand new since it was not open to exposure.

Removing the brick from the wall may be a little tough, so you really need some patience. Using a power drill with a hard bit screw, drill holes into the mortar that is holding the brick together. When drilling the holes, make sure you are drilling them close together, without leaving any mortar in between.

The point in doing this is to have the brick detached from the mortar surrounding it. Using a metal chisel, insert it into the large openings you drilled and move the brick around. If the brick is very securely in place, you can hammer it out, as you are going to be replacing it.

If the brick you removed will be used for its good side, you need to leave it in some water. Whenever a brick is to be used in installation, it should always be soaked in some water. So this would apply for a new piece of brick you are installing as well. As mentioned before, if you are going to be replacing a new brick piece, you should find a new one that is the same color as the one you have. This may be difficult, but taking your old brick to the hardware store would be smart.

The area in which you are going to install the brick should be cleaned out completely. If you have any old mortar, it should be thoroughly scraped off using a metal chisel. Don’t spray down water into the hole, as it would loosen up the back of all the other bricks in the area. Take the bag of mortar mix and mix it accordingly as it has been described on the bag. The final color of the mortar will be different from the color of the mix, as there is a moisture issue.

You can use mortar coloring to see when it will match the color of the mortar you have now. Before applying the mortar, add some water to the surface where you will be adding the mortar. Take a lump of mortar and apply it on the bottom side where the brick will be laying. The mortar layer should be at least two inches thick when it is first applied.

Next, do the same to the brick that you will be installing. Add a thick layer of mortar to the top and both sides of the brick. Without letting it dry out, press the brick into the hole firmly. The mortar will definitely seep out of the sides, but that is normal. Make sure that the mortar gap on all four sides is even by moving the brick around with your hand. The mortar will take at least three or four days to completely dry and become hard, so in that time, you should be spraying some water to it, allowing it to dry slower.

Updated: November 9, 2012 — 1:45 am

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