Learn to Fix Old Bricks!

Introduction: Learn to Fix Old Bricks!

About: Hey everyone! My name is Beau. I'm a father, a diy lover, and a partner in a construction company. I started learning the construction business at a young age. My dad, brother, and 3 uncles are all general con…

Welcome to man skills 101. I'll be your instructor today and we are learning to remove old bricks and replace them with the same/similar ones. Let's learn some new skills.

Step 1: Tools and Supplies

Alright, let's gather our gear and set out on our next DIY! We're going to be replacing bricks, so let makes sure we have all the right equipment.

1. Wheelbarrow/Bucket
2. Jack hammer
3. Angle Grinder with Diamond tip blade
4. Trowel
5. Shovel
6. Tamper
7. Measuring tape
8. A level for the size of your job. So, I used a 2 and 4 ft level.
9. Scrapping tool
10. Broom
11. String lines
12. Wired brush
13. Safety stuff!

1. Portland Cement
2. Rock
3. Sand
4. Plastic Cement

Step 2: Deciding on Which Bricks to Remove

This is going to be a short and simple step, but it's something to keep in the back of your mind. How do you decide which bricks to remove?

1. You got a general idea of the area you want to fix. The bricks should be tight against each other. If they have a larger than normal grout line then it should be removed.

2. The brick should be pretty even. You don't want to be tripping over the edges of the brick. Brick will move over time and sink. So, if it doesn't feel pretty smooth then you should remove it.

Step 3: Removing the Bricks

Warning: It hurts to cut yourself, so be safe.

Alright, now that I got our warning label out.... we can have some fun. Time to put in some work and turn those twig arms into the hulk.

1. Alright, let's grab that jackhammer and angle grinder with diamond tip blade. In between the brick are grout lines. You'll take your grinder and cut on the grout lines. You only need to cut the boarder of the grout lines. (example photo: 3) Be sure not to cut into the brick because it will be noticeable.

2. Be sure to place the grinder almost all the way into the grout line during cutting. If you don't cut all the way then it will be harder to remove the brick and you'll possible break the brick you're trying to keep.

3. The fun part! Put on your headphones and pick up that jackhammer. Start on a brick that is not an entire brick. You'll have to break one brick to start removing the others. So, I usually find cuts to break.

4. Jack hammer into the brick until it breaks. Remove any debris that is loose. You'll need to clear a path, so you can see the bottom of another brick.

5. Once the bottom of the brick is exposed then you'll place the jack hammer tip at a 45-ish angle at where the brick meets the concrete. Give it a few taps and the brick will disconnect from the concrete

6. Remove the brick and place for saving. Preferably somewhere close and out of the way. Remember we are reusing most of these bricks. If you bought your own bricks then you can just toss them.

Step 4: What We Found!

So, you removed all the bricks that you wanted to replace. WHOOOPI DOOO! Ok, now let's learn some actual skills.
So, now you have to figure out what to do. Every scenario is different and we will go over two.

1. What we found in photo 1. In the middle of the photo is recently poured concrete that I poured. It use to be sand and road base before, but I removed it. Outside my concrete hole is old concrete that was done from previous construction crews. I kept it, so I wouldn't have to pour even more concrete. However, the down side is I'll have to cut the brick's width down 1/2" to 3/4".

2. In photo 2, a pipe was installed underneath the ground. We were left with a giant hole. So, we filled it with concrete.

Step 5: Clean Your Brick

Clean, clean, and clean some more. This step is for people that are that reusing brick instead of buying new ones. I like being cheap!

1. After you removed the brick, you'll need to clean them. So, you need a wire brush and the grinder.

2. Use the wire brush to rub off any thick dirt you see on the sides of the brick. Don't go crazy with it. It just needs a good hit on the sides to get the heavy crud off.

3. You'll probably get little chips of concrete on the sides. This is normal after removing them from the ground. You'll use your grinder with the diamond tip blade to make this flush. If you don't then you won't be able to get the bricks tight. Just light hit the concrete and it should break off easily.

4. Don't worry about the bottom of the brick. Also, the most important part is to ensure the top of the brick is not damaged. Your friends will only see the top of the brick.

Step 6: Move Your Bricks to the Site

Ok, so you're probably in the car driving to Home Depot to buy new bricks. I know! Cleaning all those bricks are annoying. So, here is a hint to calculate the amount of bricks you're going to need. If you actually cleaned your bricks then this is how many you should move over to your site.

1. Measure the square footage of the area you are replacing. So, if it's 5ft by 5ft then it's 25 ft sq.

2. Take the square footage and multiply it by 5.

3. Math class is in sesssion. So, 25 x 5= 125 bricks. You should have plenty of bricks to complete the job.

4. This is a down and dirty way to calculate bricks, but I always have to many bricks.

Step 7: Let's Get Dirty! Pt. 1

Alright, it's time to get dirty....literally. We're going to grab dirt. (Preferably clean dirt) It sounds simple, but this is very important. Please READ!

1. The next step is to pour our base. However, we need our dirt level at the right height. So, you're going to need your level, chalk box, measuring tape, shovel, and a wheelbarrow.

2. In the first photo, you'll place one end of your chalk box at the end of the brick nearest to the wall. You'll extend the chalk box to the other brick that's against the wall. Example in photo one.

3. Ensure the chaulk line is tight. Take the chaulk line and flick it against the wall. You should be left with a straight line against the wall.

Step 8: Dirt! Pt. 2

Now grab your shovel. It's time to start grading your dirt.

1. IMPORTANT! The brick width is 2 1/2 inches. I like to place around 3/4 of plastic cement. Plus, we are going to pour 4 inches for our base.

2. So, what does this mean? This will give you how far you'll need to dig down. So, 2.5+ .75 + 4= 7.25 or 7 1/4". I went to 7 1/2" deep because it's easier to see on the measuring tape. This measurement is from the top of the brick to the bottom of the dirt.

3. When you're near the part to start measuring. To measure the middle, you'll need to:
*Take your level
*Place one end on the brick and the other end will touch the chaulk line.
*Hold it in place with one hand and measure with the other

4. When the area is graded then take a hose and heavily water the dirt.

5. Take a tamper and tamp the dirt. Let dry for at least 10 minutes. Repeat two or three times.

6. You can leave pre-existing concrete, but you'll need to cut pavers. I'll explain in later sections.

Step 9: Making Mud for Your Foundation

Alright, let's make some concrete. We are using Portland cement mixed with sand and rock. So, my formula is 10 shovel scoops of sand, 10 shovel scoops of rock, and 1/2 bag of concrete.

1. Take a wheelbarrow and place 5 shovel scoops of sand. Also, place 5 scoops of rock.

2. Heavily douse with water and mixed with a shovel or trenching shovel.

3. Dump the half bag of cement into the wheel barrow.

4. Put more water in the batch. It should be pretty wet.

5. Add 3 more rock and sand. Add a little bit more water. Mix!

6. Add 2 more more of the rock and sand. Mix! Add water as needed.

If you're doing a large area then I'd highly suggest renting a cement mixer. It's the same steps except into the mixer. However, you'll have some buff guns if you do it the wheelbarrow way.

Step 10: Pouring Foundation

So, your arms are pumped because you decided not to rent the mixer. Oh well, you got a good workout in. So, let's pour our concrete.

1. In scenario one, I poured the foundation into my graded hole. I poured enough mud to leave around 3" to 3 1/4" of space between the level and mud.

2. You calculated this measurement the same way you did for grading. Grab your level and place on the chaulk line and the brick directly across. Measure from the bottom of the level to the mud. It should sit between 3" to 3 1/4".

3. After our hole is filled, grab a troul to smooth out the concrete. It doesn't have to be perfect because it's only a foundation. We will be pouring more mud on this later.

4. Let dry for 24 hours.

Step 11: Figuring Out Your Lay

Well, good morning sleepy head. It's time to work. So, let's get our java, grab me one, and figure out how to lay this. Here are just a few things to keep in the back of your mind.

1. Every scenario is different. Your chaulk line should still be there, but if it's not then do it again. Now in example one, I took my level and placed it on the chaulk line and on the brick.

2. Now look at the bubble. I have to ensure I have some slop going towards the drain.

3. Know your cuts begore you lay. Which side would I want cuts... left or right? In example one, we put the cuts on the left. If we need cuts due to different brick size then I would want them in an area that's will hide them more. To the left is a staircase and to the right is an open path way. Open pathways should have as many full bricks as possible.

4. Cuts always go up against the walls. So, example one will have the cuts on the top. Usually, you'll work towards the building.

5. How will you lay? in example one, we set up a string line every 3 bricks. It gave us height and how far 3 bricks should be. If your brick pushes the string line up or to the right then you need to adjust your brick.

Step 12: Make Your Mud!

Alright, let's make some plastic cement. The formula is similar to the Portland cement, but we are using plastic and no rock.

1. Put 5 shovel scoops of sand and place in wheelbarrow. Douse with water.

2. Place half a bag of plastic cement and add water. It should be wet still.

3. Add three more scoops and a little bit of water.

4. Add 2 more scoops. It should look like the pictures above.

Step 13: Let's Lay

Alright, we've done all this work and we finally get to lay some bricks.

1. Soak your brick in water for a few seconds. This will help with it sticking to the plastic cement and not sucking the moisture from the mud.

2. Lightly wet the area you will be laying. This is to prevent concrete from sucking the moisture from the mud.

3. Place the string lines at every 3 bricks. So, count the 3 bricks on each side. the farthest grout line is where you place your brick. The string line and chalk line are very similar. Just like your chalk line, your string line should give you height as well.

3. Place down your mud in the area you'll be starting. Use a troul to smooth out the mud for the right height. I like to have the brick about a 1/16" to 1/8" above that's it's next to.

4. Beat down the brick with your mallet or the handle of the mallet. I use the handle of the mallet more than the actual mallet. You should only need a couple of light to medium taps to get the brick in place.

5. Take your level and measure from a pre-existing brick to the chaulk line or string line. Look underneath the level, if the brick is very close or is touching the level then you're not to low. Tap one end of the levels with your hands to see if the level rocks. If it pivots up or down then you're to high. The level shouldn't move since it's completely flat. You can hit the level with the mallet qgainst the level to lower the brick. This will speed up your process.

6. Now work down you three rows and make sure to check the level frequently. If you tap one brick then the mud might move another brick that's placed in wet mud. Frequently check your brick with a level.

7. After your three rows, you'll move your string line up another 3 bricks. Do this till you hit the building or end of your objective.

Step 14: Cuts!

So, now it's time to grab that grinder and circular saw. If you have a brick saw then everyone else must be jealous of that person. He's got it easy!
I didn't have a pic of me making cuts. However, enjoy the grinder photo.

1. In example one, we measure from our brick to the building. Measure both sides of the brick. You'll want them fairly tight.

2. Mark your measurements on the brick. Take a carpenter's pencil and draw your line.

3. Use the grinder and cut on your line. You can continue to cut around the brick or take a circular saw and finish the remaining cut. If you have a brick saw then just make your cut like normal.

4. Place your cut into its place. Use the level and mallet to make it even with your fall.

5. Place all your cuts and your finish.

Step 15: Optional

We do this to add extra strength when the bricks doesn't stick well. However, this does add around $50 to your material cost. We are going to use polymeric sand which is like an adhesive. It turns hard when it makes contact with water.

1. Go purchase a bag of polymeric sand and pour it onto your brick. The mud should be pretty dried at this point. So, give it a few hours before placing the polymeric on the ground.

2. Use a broom and push the sand into the joints.

3. Sweep up remaining sand and place back into bag. You don't want this sand on the brick because it will place a weird white coat over your brick. You'll have to scrape it off with a scrapper if that happens.

4. Water lightly over the area. Use a push broom to remove any white that fizzles on the top. You want it wet, but not heavily.

5. Repeat step 4 again after 10 min.

Step 16: Check Your Brick!

If you didn't use polymeric then you might end up with some loose brick.

1. Grab guerilla glue from your hardware store.

2. Lift the brick out of its position and place a figure 8 of the glue onto the concrete.

3. Place the brick back into its position, exactly the same way it was prior to your removal.

4 Hit with the mallet a few times. Nice firm hits.

5. You can place silicon sand into the joints if you have a large amount of bricks moving. It's easier and cheaper than polymeric sand.

Step 17: Enjoy!

You fixed your brick! Now you can grab your a lawn chair and catch some rays. Your man skills have easily reached +3 points. Congratulations and keep on with the DIY.

Step 18: Pavers!

So, this section is for people that don't know how to cut pavers.

1. Remove the width of the brick down to 1 3/4" to 2".

2. Use the same method as the cutting section.

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    7 years ago

    Looks like a lot of hard work!