Brick cracked? No problem.

By Tresa Erickson

You have a lot of exposed brick in your home. You love the character it brings to your space, but recently, you noticed that one of the bricks has a huge crack in it and is starting to crumble. You really need to take care of the matter before it gets worse. If you are handy, you may be able to chip out the brick yourself and replace it.

To chip out the brick, you will need a power drill, a 6mm masonry bit, a hammer and a cold chisel. Drill several holes in the brick and mortar surrounding it. Then using the chisel and the hammer, chip out the mortar surrounding the brick. Use the end of your chisel to remove all of the pieces and chip out any remaining mortar.

If you haven’t purchased a replacement brick already, take a piece of the old brick to a masonry supply center and purchase a new brick to match. With any luck, the center will have an exact match. If not, you will have to get as close of a match as possible.

To install the new brick, you will need a spray bottle of water, some mortar, a pointing trowel and a jointer. First, spray down the opening where the brick will go. Then mix up some mortar and spread a 3/4-inch layer on the bottom and sides of the opening with a pointing trowel. Butter the top of the brick with a 3/4-inch layer of mortar.

Place the brick on the back of a trowel and slide it into the opening, making sure the brick is flush with the surface. If needed, you may tap the brick into place with the handle of the trowel. The mortar should squeeze out from around the brick. If it doesn’t, you will need to take the brick out and add more mortar.

When the brick is in place, use the edge of the trowel to scrape away the excess mortar. Then strike and smooth the joints. Press down the mortar to ensure a watertight seal. Scrape off any excess mortar and wipe it from the face of the brick with a clean cloth. Give the mortar time to cure, making sure you keep it damp for three days.

Replacing a brick takes a little effort and some time. Make sure you are ready to do what it takes. If you’re not comfortable replacing the brick yourself, you may want to hire a professional to do it for you.

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