A brick wall can last for decades if installed properly. They’re durable and are used to build walls, floors, and fireplaces. When the foundation below shifts, it can cause the mortar to crack or crumble. Since many older homes often used bricks, brick removal is an often needed service. We really recommend calling a licensed contractor for the job, but if you’re up to the task, it can be done.
Before beginning the project, make sure to call your local municipality to see if a demolition permit is needed. The effort it takes to require a permit, is well worth the potential headache of getting caught without. Since you won’t be directly profiting from the work done, your township most likely won’t charge you much. Remember – brick removal is a serious project. In most scenarios, a permit will be needed, unless you’re tearing down a freestanding exterior wall.
Do not tear down any load bearing walls. If you need to remove a load bearing wall, an engineer must first assess the situation for safety reasons. A load bearing wall is there to support the weight of something above it. Before doing brick removal on a load bearing wall, the structure must be supported above. Safety is of the utmost importance, which is why an engineer must be present before this type of brick removal is done.
Before beginning the brick removal process, attempt to locate a blueprint of your home. There could be wires or plumbing nearby that would be affected by this brick removal. If you’re looking to save money by doing the job yourself, the last thing you want is to create another project. If there is electrical wires, breaker boxes, or plumbing nearby, it would be wise to hire an electrician or plumber for at minimum, consultation.
Make sure to protect the surrounding floor. This brick removal process can and will get dirty. Bricks and or debris can drop from above and damage the nearby floors. Cover the floor with heavy tarps, canvas, or another protective material in order to prevent damage. At the base of the wall, place plywood under the canvas to protect from the falling bricks. Again, our project is brick removal, not floor repair.
5: Begin Chipping
Using either an air chisel or a hand chisel and hammer, begin chipping at the top of the brick wall. Insert your chisel into the joint of mortar between the first and second top layer of bricks. Chisel hard enough to chip back the mortar, and break the top brick loose, but gentle enough to not damage the entire structure. Remember, easy does it. The brick removal process was never going to be a quick one. It’s important to be agile enough to chip away one brick at a time.
6: Let Them Drop
Let the brick drop onto the plywood below. Then move to the next brick over. From one side of the wall to the other. Remember to focus on the top layer of bricks first. Once this layer is completely removed, repeat the brick removal process on the layer below.
7: Clear Unwanted Debris
As you chip away at the bricks, they may reveal old or unwanted material beneath. Any PVC or metal pipes should be cut back with a reciprocating saw. Revealing the next layer of bricks to be removed.
8: Continue With Brick Removal
If you’ve made it this far, you’re likely in the clear. Continue with the brick removal process you just learned, and you’ll eventually clear back the whole wall. It’s a relatively repetitive process, and will take longer without an air chisel. With that being said, it can be very rewarding to complete a project like this on your own. Make sure not to tell anyone you read a how – to guide, that makes the feat slightly less impressive.
Good luck on your brick removal project, hopefully this guide helped. If you don’t think you’re up for the task, don’t hesitate to give us a call. S&S Remodeling Contractors is a family owned and operated business. Since 1953, we’ve been serving the Delaware Valley with high quality exterior remodeling services. Gives us a call for a free estimate, and get your brick removal done before the winter. 610-876-0440. Check out our website for more blogs, guides, and other useful remodeling information – http://ssremodeling.com/