Brick Repair 101 | How Hard Can It Be?

Maybe you have an older home with a crumbling facade. Or it could be that the mason on your newly built dream home was looking forward to the weekend instead of paying attention. There’s a multitude of reasons why the mortar between your bricks will eventually need some TLC.
Generally, when the cemented joints of a brick wall begin popping out, crumbling or falling apart it’s time to look at repointing. This brick repair can be costly even for a small area. The mason will need to grind some of the existing cement out and apply new mortar to create a smooth, stable surface. It’s a somewhat tedious job, but someone’s gotta do it.
Why not, as we say, DIY?

DIY brick repair is not a thing to tackle lightly. For repointing projects you’ll need a few tools and, depending on the size of the wall, a lot of time.
For removing the broken mortar joints you’ll need:

  • 4 1/2″ angle grinder
  • Diamond blade
  • Face Mask
  • Dust Mask

Start at the top of the wall to stop cement dust from covering your newly applied mortar. Work with small, manageable sections and do the horizontal lines first, moving onto the vertical joints after. Wipe the area clean with a brush after grinding about 1/2 – 3/4″ of the cement away and wet with a fine mist. Try not to catch the bricks with the grinder, a sure sign of an amateur job.
To apply the new mortar you’ll need:

  • Pointing Trowel
  • Bucket, wheelbarrow, something to hold the mortar
  • Access to water
  • Mixing tools
  • Brick jointer

Mix the mortar to a thick, somewhat dry consistency. A lump on the trowel should stand up, not sag. If it’s too wet you’ll wind up smearing the mortar all over the brick (and yourself), making more of a mess than you started with. Push the mortar into the joints and finish with the brick jointer, leaving a concave finish to the brickwork. You can also finish the wall with flush mortar, but it can be harder to get a consistent look.
You’ll end up with a nicely finished, clean brick wall and bragging rights for months. Not everyone will tackle DIY brick repair. Are you up for it?
Photo courtesy of sxc/cbcs

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