Replacing Brick Fireplace Walls

A fireplace wall.
  • 5-8 hours
  • Advanced
  • 500-1,000
What You'll Need
Replacement bricks
Drop cloth
Grout saw
Mixing attachment
Work gloves
Protective glasses and mask
Wet and dry vacuum
Sponge and soap

Replacing fireplace walls is not as uncommon as it may seem. In time, fireplace walls can start to crumble, crack and become loose. This is typically due to several factors, including high heat and poor maintenance or upkeep. Removing and replacing a brick fireplace wall is more tedious and laborious than it is dangerou. The article below will show you how to replace the current brick fireplace walls.

Step 1 - Prepare

Along with fireplace use comes creosote. The fireplace produces smoke and debris from the wood and the debris condenses and hardens on the fireplace walls. This is called creosote. It is flammable and harmful if inhaled. Always wear gloves, protective glasses and a face mask to protect yourself from any harmful effects.

Next, place the drop cloth on the floor around the fireplace. Remove the fireplace cover or doors and the wood rack inside the fireplace.

Step 2 - Remove the Fireplace Walls

Once the area is prepped you can begin to remove the fireplace walls. Locate the edge of the main wall of the home and use the chisel and hammer to crack the mortar along the edge. Use the chisel and hammer to also remove the creosote buildup. It may be difficult to use the chisel inside the fireplace so you may find a grout saw useful. Begin removing the bricks by hand or using a crowbar to leverage the bricks away from the wall. Remove and discard the bricks and other debris into the wheelbarrow. Sweep and vacuum up the remaining debris.

Step 3 - Clean the Walls

To get the mortar to stick, clean the wall. Mix warm water with some soap until it foams. Wet the sponge and remove the excess water. Wipe the wall down and then allow it dry before you do anything else.

Step 4 - Mix the Mortar

Read the instructions on the bag of mortar thoroughly and follow the directions when you pour the mortar into the bucket along with the water. Attach the mixing bit to the drill and mix the mortar until it is the consistency of oatmeal.

Step 5 - Install the Bricks

Use the straight side of the trowel and scoop up some of the mortar. Place it on to the wall and spread it out evenly in a sweeping, half-circle motion. Switch to the notched end and create gouges in the mortar. Place bricks along the bottom edge of the wall space apart by ½-inch. Apply mortar on top of the bricks and then place another level of bricks. Press them down in the mortar to set them.

Place the new layer of bricks so they are centered over two bricks below them. Continue placing mortar and bricks in this fashion until all the walls are covered. Use the trowel to remove excess mortar. Repeat the process until the fireplace walls are as thick as you want them to be.