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jbnimble 10-15-2008 09:54 AM

Individual brick replacement
My two-flue chimney (3 bricks x 4 bricks) has half a dozen flaking bricks. The cause is either bad bricks (29 years old) or water penetration from the cap (fixed). All the bad bricks are in two rows, about six feet below the top.

I have removed one corner brick. This took about 45 minutes with several chisels and two (40 oz and 16 oz) hammers.

QUESTION 1: Can I remove the adjacent brick in the same row, or is the risk of collapse significant?

The alternative is to place a new brick in the open spot, wait a few days, then work on the next brick. All the remaining bad bricks are NOT at corners, and will probably be more hassle to remove.

QUESTION 2: Is there a better way to remove the bricks, short of major new tools? I don't have air compressor equipment, but I do have a hammer drill.

QUESTION 3: Is there any secret to making certain the inserted brick is well buttered, considering that I must slide it in place?

yesitsconcrete 10-15-2008 04:19 PM

rent/buy a 4" grinder & .220/.250 tuck point diamond blade,,, never want to use hammer/chisel on brickwork as you can crk adjacent/adjoining mortar leading to more work/danger/crack'd bricks.

grinder's not expensive - look on ebay,,, we often use a grout bags/small brick trowels/margin trowels/jointing & pointing tools.

glennjanie 10-15-2008 04:28 PM

Welcome JB:
1. You can probably get by with removing two at a time. Bricklayers have a rule of thumb, "Each brick supports only its weight".
2. A hammer drill can make a brick look like a termite has eaten it up and it will crumble fairly easy. I have used nothing but a 20 oz hammer and just pounded until it pulverized.
3. If you can get enough mortar under the brick to support it, you can tuck point the ends and top fairly easy. It does require a tuck-pointing trowell to get a satisfactroy job.

jbnimble 10-15-2008 10:08 PM

Thanks gents.

I had not thought of a grout bag. Sounds like the best way to fill in the mortar (though I still plan to butter the hole and the brick before I insert the brick).

I have a 4" grinder, had not thought of that. Must check whether I have a diamond blade, but that's easy. In the past I used it to trim back bricks around window openings so new windows slide in easily. But the dust these things make is frightful.

More questions:
FIRST: I have not removed the old mortar along the bottom of the empty space, thinking that will make locating the new brick easier. Any reason I should remove this old mortar?

SECOND: I plan to wash the area first with a hose, both to get all the dust out, and to slow the mortar drying process. Any problem with this?

THIRD: Will muriatic acid hurt my shingles if I wash it off quickly?

glennjanie 10-16-2008 03:38 PM

Hello JB:
1. It is tempting to leave the old mortar for correct spacing of the new brick. However, I would want to remove it and use new mortar for the seal.
2. No problem at all, you may want to wet the roof again before using the muratic acid.
3. No, it will not hurt them. It looks like you have a good handle on this project. We would appreciate some before and after pictures.

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