Removing Construction Adhesive from Brick

A man uses construction adhesive.
What You'll Need
Hair dryer
Metal putty knife
Petroleum jelly

In some homes, brick is covered by paneling or insulation boards to create a more contemporary look and to do this construction adhesive is used. Construction adhesive creates a strong bond and dries quickly. If you decide to remove these coverings to expose the brick you will often be left with areas of construction adhesive still on the brick. Construction adhesive does not make for a great design choice so removing it should be a priority. Removing construction adhesive can be tricky because the wrong method could damage the brick. The information below will describe how to effectively remove construction adhesive from brick.

Step 1 - Remove Softened Adhesive

If you are the one applying the adhesive to the brick and you make a mistake you can still remove it. Construction adhesive sets very quickly so you have to work fast. Prior to it drying, use a metal putty knife and scrape it off of the brick. Use a rag to remove any remaining residue.

Step 2 - Soften the Construction Adhesive

Trying to scrape away or chisel hardened construction off brick can damage the brick regardless of its age. Older or weathered brick tends to be less sturdy than fresh brick. Damage will occur if the construction adhesive is on the mortar. To prevent damage you will need to soften the adhesive. Not all construction adhesives are made the same but there are two ways to soften it in case one does not work. The first is to apply petroleum jelly to the hardened adhesive. Allow the petroleum jelly to sit on the adhesive for 30 minutes. Touch the adhesive with the end of a putty knife. If the adhesive dents, then it is soft enough to be removed. If petroleum jelly does not appear to be working, then try using heat. Use a normal hair dryer on its highest setting and place it close to the adhesive. Check to see if the adhesive has softened after a few minutes.

Step 3 - Chisel

Once the construction adhesive has begun to soften you will have to work quickly. After a few minutes it will harden again as though it were just applied. One of the softening techniques will then have to be repeated to remove it. Place the metal putty knife at a 45-degree angle against the adhesive and scrap it along the surface of the brick to remove the adhesive. Sometimes the construction adhesive will remain bonded to the brick despite the surface being soft. If this is the case, then instead of scraping the adhesive off the brick use the metal putty knife as a makeshift chisel. Hold it at the same angle and gently tap it with a hammer. As you do this; move the metal putty knife along the path of the adhesive.