Damaged bricks are a fact of life. Although brick is strong, a wall is faced with a wide array of weathers, from hot sun to freezing winds, rain, and even hail. Over time this will have an effect on the joints and the bricks. Bricks can crack or start to erode and you may start to be concerned about the strength of your wall.
The good news is that you can replace any brick and mortar between them. While you may wish to tackle replacing a brick yourself if your wall needs repointing it is often better to use a specialist in brick repointing. It’s a time-consuming and tedious task.
Locate The Bricks
The first step is to look at your wall. If you have noticed one brick is starting to show damage then there may be others. Take a few moments to look at all the bricks. Any that are damaged should be replaced at the same time.
It’s a good idea to mark them with an ‘x’. A permanent marker usually works well.
Find New Bricks
The next step is to find yourself some replacement bricks. The closer they are to the original the better. After all, you need the size to match and you would probably like the colour to be close.
You may find bricks in your local store or you may prefer to look for second-hand ones that have never been used.
Once you have the bricks, water them. They won’t grow but it will make them stronger.
Removing Damaged Bricks
You will need to use a chisel to scrape the joint around the brick. Once you have removed any loose stuff gently hammer the chisel into the joint to dislodge, and then remove, the mortar around the brick.
Take your time with this, you want to remove the mortar without damaging any of the good bricks.
Once the mortar is gone you should be able to slide the brick out of the wall and put it to one side. Make sure you remove all traces of mortar from the hole. It’s a good idea to brush it out and then spray it with a little water.
Inserting The Brick
The next step is to mix some mortar. You will need to choose the mortar mix that matches the one your wall already has. This can be sand and cement, lime and sand, or a ready-to-use mortar packet.
Once you have followed the instructions and prepared the mortar, dampen the hole in the wall and the brick again. Then, add a layer of mortar to the base and the sides of the hole. You also need to add mortar to the top side of the brick.
Gently slide the brick into the wall and tap it to make sure it is lined up correctly with the other bricks. You can then match the joint to the other joint lines, the handle of your trowel is usually good for this.
Remove excess mortar and spray the brick regularly with water for the next couple of days. That’s it!