Reusing brick for addition?


Old 01-12-07, 11:24 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
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Reusing brick for addition?

We are planning a small addition to our brick ranch to extend the master bedroom.

Is reusing the brick the most cost-effective solution?

Any suggestions for reusing the brick, or how to get the new brick and mortar to match the existing brick?
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Old 01-12-07, 01:10 PM
Join Date: Mar 2005
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Reusing brick for addition

Do you have the used brick?

How old is the original construction?

How many more new brick do you need for the addition?

Have you looked to see if the same brick are available now?

Depending on the addition, you might want to consider the purchase of all new if there is a convenient break between the old and new construction.

If you do not have colored mortar, you should be able to come up with a mortar that is very close once it finished curing and is exposed to the elements.

Please fill us in!!

Old 01-12-07, 08:43 PM
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More info

- we have the brick from the existing exterior wall that will be taken down for the addition. The house is about 40 years old. I don't know how to check to find if the same brick exists.

Unfortunately, the addition will be to the front of the house so it will be seen, but it's a small ranch so it won't be compared to large expanses of brick.

Do brick subcontractors do this as a normal course of work. Or do I need to look for a sub who specializes in reusing/matching brick?
Old 01-13-07, 06:02 AM
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Check with your local brick dealer. Sometimes they will come to your house and see if they can match the brick. Brick are made from clay, and all clay is not the same; therefore you will never get a perfect match, but maybe, real close.

Has the mortar been cleaned from the brick you may re-use? Removing the old mortar is very labor intensive.

Last edited by Wirepuller38; 01-13-07 at 06:05 AM. Reason: Added last paragraph.
Old 01-13-07, 10:59 PM
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That's really what I'm wondering since no work has been done yet.

Is it cost effective to reuse existing brick, or does the extra demo/clean up labor make it prohibitively expensive.
Old 01-13-07, 11:33 PM
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Reusing the brick may be a moot point if you can not find someone who is willing to clean the brick. As indicated, it is very labor intensive to remove old mortar from brick. If brick is not properly cleaned, a poor bond may result and the opportunity for water penetration. Most who have cleaned mortar from used brick report that it is slow going and hard on the knuckles as well as damage to brick. Some reports tend to better with the use of a masonry saw to remove the mortar. Bricks from historic buildings are often recycled, but the mortar used was a softer mortar than is used today.
Old 01-14-07, 03:27 AM
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That's an age old problem that I have to deal with a lot. Sometimes the answers aren't easy.

First off, very seldom is it even close to cost effective to salvage brick from the same job. Generally we do this only when we have a small amount of infill. As others have said, the place to start is with the local brick suppliers; and not just one, but all of them if there is more than one. Be aware, though, that even if the same brick is still made, the match may not be exact because of weathering, different firing techniques, etc.

When all else fails, look for a good place to change to new, usually at a corner. Depending on the situation, you may even want to think about replacing some of the brick you had intended to leave to achieve the uniformity you want. It may make some sense to pay a little more money up front to get the look you want; you and others are going to be looking at that brick for a very long time.
Old 01-14-07, 07:31 PM
Join Date: Mar 2006
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My recomendation when this comes up (almost daily) is to match the brick as closely as possible then blend the new with the old. Cleaning old brick isn't hard, it is just labor intensive. If there is a servicable break in the plane in the wall and a decent match can be found, however, it is not worth the effort to clean the brick.

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