Wall Repair: Brick Replacement

Brick replacement becomes necessary when cracks begin to appear on exterior walls of your house. Bricks tend to crack due to extreme climatic conditions, physical damages or because of small plant roots. An open crack of cracked brick allows moisture to seep into the wall, which further leads to the formation of mold and fungal growth. Moisture can also damage the overall strength of the wall. Replacing broken bricks is a fairly easy job and can be done without any professional help. If you are planning to do it yourself, you will need following equipment and materials: 

  • Gloves and protective glasses
  • Matching brick (shape, size and color)
  • Cold chisel hammer
  • Hammer drill (optional)
  • Bucket
  • Water
  • Sharp trowel
  • Mortar mix and coloring

Before you begin, be sure the wall which needs brick replacement is not a load-bearing wall. Load-bearing walls may develop huge cracks while they are being hammered. In such cases, getting professional help is advisable.

Step 1 – Water the Bricks

After purchasing the bricks, arrange them in a stack and water them generously. This increases the strength of the bricks and also does not suck water from mortar that is applied on them.     

Step 2 – Removing the Damaged Brick from the Wall

Identify the damaged bricks and start breaking them with cold chisel hammer. If you are unable to easily break the bricks with hammer, use a power drill or masonry cutting wheel for it. Take care that surrounding bricks are not being disturb or damaged, otherwise you will end up doing double the amount of work. 

Start removing broken brick pieces and chisel out any old mortar. The empty space left behind by the broken brick should be cleaned completely before you proceed further. Spray generous amount of water on the cleaned surface so that the mortar sticks to it easily. 

Step 3 – Mix and Apply Mortar

Mix the mortar according to given instructions. Using a sharp trowel, spread 1 inch thick mortar at the bottom of the vacant place and 1 inch each on the vertical sides. Using the sharp trowel, spread considerable amount of mortar on top of the brick. Carefully start sliding the brick into the opening. Tap the brick until it is even with surrounding bricks.  

Step 4 – Fill the Gaps and Remove Excess Mortar

If you see any apparent gaps in mortar, fill them using the sharp trowel. On the contrary if you see excess mortar, remove it using the sharp trowel. 

The mortar usually takes 24 hours to set in completely. Once it becomes dry, clean the leftover mortar on brick surface with a wire brush. 

Important Tips

  • Always wear protective glasses while replacing broken bricks as there will be a lot of debris and dust flying around.
  • Do not mix the mortar with bare hands; always use rubber gloves.
  • It is advisable to ask someone to assist you as many tasks have to be handled simultaneously.