A brick wall is only as strong as the mortar holding it together. If the mortar on your brick wall is beginning to crack and crumble, it is time to repair the wall with new mortar. Try to match the original mortar. Walls built more than 50 years ago were probably constructed with lime mortar. More recently, Portland cement has been used. Take a sample of the mortar and send it to a lab for evaluation if you are uncertain.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Carbide-tipped grout saw
- Cold chisel
- Engineering hammer
- 5-in-1 painter's tool
- Garden hose
- Mortar (lime-based or cement-based)
- Pointed trowel
- Stiff-bristled brush
- Replacement bricks if needed
Place the tip of a carbide-tipped grout saw on the grout. Scrape out horizontal lines of grout with the tool. Remove the grout to roughly 3/4 inch deep between the bricks. Take out more grout if the grout lines are thicker than 1/2 inch. Take out 2 1/2 times the thickness of the grout.
Place a 5-in-1 painter's tool in the vertical grout lines. Tap on the tool with a hammer to remove the grout to the correct depth.
Brush the wall with a stiff-bristled brush to remove all of the loose particles of grout.
Sponge the wall thoroughly to wet the brick, if indoors. Spray the wall with clean water until the brick is completely wet, if working outdoors, using a garden hose. The brick should be soaked.
Mix the mortar according to package directions. The consistency of the mortar should be similar to peanut butter. Let the mixture sit for 15 minutes after mixing. Stir thoroughly before using.
Spread 1/2 inch of mortar on the sides of the replacement bricks. Fill any damaged areas with missing brick.
Place a scoop of mortar onto a pointed trowel. Fill the space between the bricks with the mortar. Slide the edge of the trowel between the bricks to work the mortar deep into the crevice. Add more mortar to fill the space. Run the trowel over the wall a few times to compact the mortar.
Slide the edge of the trowel across the bricks to remove excess mortar. Let the mortar dry until it is almost set. Brush the wall with a stiff-bristled brush to remove any excess mortar.
Tips and warnings
- For extra-wide grout lines, use a cold chisel and a hammer to tap out the grout.
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