Brick Repair: How to Replace Spalling Bricks
Brick repair is required as soon as possible, when the problem of spalling is identified in walls. Spalling refers to the crumbling of concrete and bricks which are too soft or absorbent, and as a result, retain too much water or moisture, deteriorating their surface. Spalling usually takes place in small areas of walls, so the most common way of fixing this problem is by replacing the particular bricks which have been affected.
Below are the essential things that you require and steps as to how you can replace spalled bricks.
Step 1: Observe and Analyze the Problem
Before you get to replace the spalling bricks, it is important that you determine the reason for and the extent of the problem, so that it can be resolved without causing any future damage to the wall itself. Furthermore, you must consider how many bricks need replacement. Only 3 to 4 bricks can be taken out of the wall at one point in time. If extensive deterioration is present, then it is recommended that the assistance of a specialist is sought out.
Step 2: Finding the Right Replacement
You must see to it that the replacement bricks match the other bricks used in your wall, and the pointing style (the practice of fixing mortar joints between bricks) remains consistent. This may seem to be obvious, but in reality this requires careful research. It is not always easy to find identical bricks in terms of their color and texture, especially if the ones you require are old.
Step 3: Cut out the Spalled brick
Scrape the mortar around the brick and then get the brick out using a cold chisel and a club hammer. If that does not work, you can drill holes in the brick using a 6 to 8 mm masonry bit, and then use the cold chisel and hammer to crumble the brick down. After all the damaged bricks have been taken out, and clean the wall for any scraps left behind.
Step 4: Mortar
Mortar is one of the most crucial requirements for laying down bricks. Mortar can be Porter cement based, or a mixture of lime and sand or a ready to use mortar mix from the market. Depending on your need, you can ask your local home improvement store to give you advice on what type of mortar to use for your wall repair.
Step 5: Replacement
Once the mix is ready, dampen the area to be repaired with water, and apply mortar to the base and the respective sides of the cavity horizontally, and on top of the brick with a sharp trowel, making a layer of about 10 mm. Then, carefully slide the brick in the hole and tap it until it comes in line with the surrounding brick work. With the handle of the trowel, make the new mortar joint similar to the joints in the rest of the wall to give the wall a uniform look.