If your home or chimney has a broken brick or two, you may be able to repair it yourself.

How Can I Repair My Brick by Myself?

Brick repair is a stressful but necessary element of home ownership. It's also expensive. 

Much of the associated cost is for labor. That means you can save a bundle of money by learning how to do it yourself. 

While the work is physically demanding and quite time-consuming, it can also be very rewarding for the do-it-yourselfer who wants to branch out into something new. 

In this article, we cover brick repair. We will take a broad look at the concept, and then zero in specifically on chimney brick repair. 

Read on to learn more!

Signs Your Brick Needs Repair or Replacement

Not sure if your brick needs repair or repointing? Here's what to look for

Usually, the need for brick repair is visibly obvious. The signs may seem subtle initially, but once you know what to look for, you’ll spot them easily. 

Below, we look at signs that your bricks need to be repaired or replaced. 

Common Masonry Problems

Brick, particularly brick chimneys, is often compromised due to trauma or exposure to the elements. 

While bricks are, of course, built to withstand outdoor conditions, certain situations can wear on their life expectancy.

Once moisture gets into the masonry work, for example, it can cause the masonry work to swell, and eventually crack. 

Physical trauma is even more straightforward. A tree branch falls on your chimney. And so on. 

What Is the Life Expectancy of a Brick Chimney? 

Technically, chimneys are supposed to last for as long as your house. 

And your house is supposed to last for as long as people are willing to live in and care for it. 

With regular maintenance and upkeep, you should be able to avoid the big expenses of a full chimney replacement. Maintenance does include the occasional brick repair. 

Even on the short end, chimneys can last between 50-100 years, so keep yours in good shape, and look for signs that it needs maintenance. 

How to Know if Your Chimney Is Structurally Sound 

A leaning chimney stack or falling tiles are major signs that something has gone structurally wrong with your chimney. 

This is more than mere brick repair—it could be a restoration or even a full replacement job. 

If you notice any of these larger issues with your chimney, you should call in the experts at once. 

Broken chimneys can be a fire hazard. They also create the risk of falling bricks—something that can be fatal. 

Finally, a broken chimney will also let in the weather and even pests into your home. 

The sooner you can get your brick repair job done, the more you can reduce the damage.

When to Repair vs Replace 

As the premise of this article suggests, brick repair is often an option. 

However, in the case of significant damage, it’s always best to call in a pro and see what they think. They will be able to tell you if there is brick repair potential, or if a full-blown replacement is required. 

How to Replace a Damaged Brick

Learn how to replace a damaged brick in your wall or chimney

So, how do you perform the brick repair? 

Below we highlight the steps. However, always keep in mind that if you are uncomfortable or unsure of how to do the job, it is usually best to call in the pros for help.

Remove a Single Brick 

Removing a single brick usually involves breaking away the mortar on all sides of it, and carefully removing it. 

This work is often done with a drill, chisel, or masonry joint raker, but can be tricky. 

If you aren’t extremely careful, you may damage more surrounding bricks, which could lead to a much bigger problem than you were prepared to deal with. 

Fixing Your Wall With a New Brick 

Most experts recommend soaking the new brick that you intend to install in water before making the repair. 

Once you have done that, it’s simply a question of applying the new mortar—a simple concrete and sand-based solution—onto all sides of the brick and inserting it into the wall. 

From there, you’ll fill any gaps with more mortar, press all the mortar in so there are no air pockets, and clean up the joint with a trowel or jointer tool. 

Replacing Multiple Bricks 

Things get a little bit trickier when you need to do brick repair on more than one brick. The more you take out, the weaker the wall becomes. 

It’s a little like Jenga. Taking out the first piece usually isn’t so bad, right? But the more pieces that go, the less stable the structure becomes. 

Multiple brick repair jobs are usually best handled by professionals.

How to Repair a Broken Brick Corner  

Replacing a single corner brick can be done by following the steps outlined above. 

At risk of sounding like a broken record, if it is more complicated than a single brick, you are best advised to call in a seasoned masonry professional.

Brick Mortar Repair 

All homes or chimneys will need mortar repair and repointing at some point. Here's how to repoint your brick mortar

Mortar repair is referred to as “brick repointing.” Mortar is a tough material, but eventually, it begins to crumble and fail. 

Repairing it will get your brick wall in top shape. 

How to Repoint Brick Mortar 

Before you can apply new mortar, you need to chip away at the old bad stuff. You can usually do this by grinding or chiseling it away. 

From there, fill in the gap with new mortar. Press out any air pockets, shape it, and let the solution finish. 

How Deep Should You Go With Repointing?  

The general rule of thumb is that you should go approximately one inch deep. However, some experts allow for a shallower repointing of 3/4ths an inch. 

How Often Should You Repoint Brick 

Really great mortar should last about fifty years, which means that most homeowners won’t have to do this job more than once. 

You don’t necessarily need to do the job preemptively, but you should get it done before mild depreciation turns into outright damage. 

What Happens If You Don't Repoint?

The big risk is that a relatively small project will turn into a much bigger one. 

Once the mortar goes, your house is at risk for moisture intrusion which can lead to all sorts of big and quite expensive problems.  

Repair Your Damaged Brick and Mortar Before It’s Too Late

Brick repair, like so many other features of home ownership, is all about staying on top of things. 

Catch a problem early, and it is usually much easier to handle than if you wait. 

Do what you can yourself. If the problem starts to feel overwhelming, don’t hesitate to call in the pros. 

Want to learn more about brick repair? You’d probably also like to read this article: Why Are My Bricks Falling Down?


For all your brick repair and replacement needs, reach out to our professional masonry contractors for a quote


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