Brick cladding is where a layer of non-structural bricks are placed over a wall, which is usually wooden. Brick cladding has usually been clad onto the outer wall with a mortar solution, which holds fast and can take some time and expertise to remove. Brick cladding was a common method of residential home cladding in the 1960s and has also been used periodically since then. Some people refer to brick cladding as brick veneer or "fake brick." Removing brick cladding is possible with a little bit of know-how and some elbow grease.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Challenging
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Things you need
- Safety glasses
- Diamond chip blade grinder
- Sledge hammer
- Large dust bin
- Wheel barrow
- Ladder or scaffolding
- Wire cutter
- Whitewash solution
Cover yourself in safety equipment. Removing brick cladding is a very dusty job, and there will no doubt be flying mortar and brick particle debris. Ensure you wear safety goggles and a respirator if you have asthma. Bricking gloves with flock lining are also suitable for removing brick cladding.
Use the diamond chip grinder to cut the boundaries of the brick cladded wall you are removing. You may first wish to trace these boundaries with chalk. Have a colleague handy to steady you if you are holding the grinder for long periods of time, and never use the grinder above your own chest height. If you need to grind the brick veneer from higher to cut out the boundaries, use scaffolding or a ladder.
Use a chisel to remove the first brick cladded veneer. The first brick may be very difficult to remove, but once you upset the mortar, you will be able to remove the rest of the bricks more easily. After you have loosened the mortar, use the sledge hammer to crack the bricks off the wall. Behind the brick cladding you may find some chicken wire--the type that is often used for pet fencing. The wire may have dried mortar stuck in it, so try and loosen this with your sledgehammer as you are removing the bricks. You will find the bricks come away more and more easily as you go along.
Once you have removed the bricks from the wire or wall (some walls have Masonite between the brick cladding and the wall), clean up by packing the brick bits you have removed into a wheelbarrow and sweeping up the debris and dust with your broom.
Use the wire cutter to cut the wire into squares that can be easily pulled off the wall. You may need to use your sledgehammer again to knock off small bits of mortar that have become lodged in between the wire since the brick cladding was applied.
After removing the wire from the wall that was helping to hold up the brick cladding, use a small chisel to tap off the leftover mortar on the walls. If the walls are wooden, be very careful not to chisel away at the wood.
Tips and warnings
- After removing the brick cladding you may wish to have a building assessor visit the property to determine the state of the wall underneath the brick cladding to ensure you know your plan of action for preparing the wall for renovation.
- Ensure you wear safety gear at all times during the removal of brick cladding.
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