Cutting a brick from an existing wall requires attention to detail; if you damage surrounding bricks or remove mortar from the wrong area, you might compromise the wall's strength or cause problems that necessitate additional repairs. The key to removing a single brick is to limit your mortar removal to the perimeter of the brick you're working on. With its perimeter clear, a brick easily falls or slides from the wall. Several hand and power tools are suitable for mortar removal or cutting directly through brick, including traditional hammer and chisel and handheld grinding tools. Learn about standard cutting techniques and choose the method that suits your skills and the scope of your project.
Things You'll Need
- Angle grinder
- Masonry blade
- Joint chisel
- Garden hose
- High-flow, garden-hose nozzle
- Pry bar
Mark an "X" on the brick you want to remove with a pencil. Select a masonry blade large enough to cut through the entire mortar joint, usually a 7- or 9-inch blade, depending on the brick's orientation. Note that most angle grinders only accept a single blade size, so you must choose a grinder that accommodates the project's requirements. Mount the masonry blade to the angle grinder. Put on goggles and gloves.
Position the angle grinder's blade near the corner of the brick you want to remove. Begin at any side of the brick; the choice is arbitrary. Align the blade with the center of one the brick's mortar joints. Activate the angle grinder and slowly press the blade into the mortar joint. Push the blade forward into the mortar joint until the blade reaches its full cutting depth. Draw the blade through the mortar joint until it reaches the opposite end of the brick.
Release the grinder's trigger and allow the blade to spin to a stop. Remove the grinder from the wall. Position the grinder's blade at the corner of an adjacent mortar joint. Activate the grinder, plunge the blade into the mortar joint and cut through the joint until you reach the opposite corner. Deactivate the tool, allow the blade to spin to a stop and remove the grinder from the wall. Create similar cuts through the joints that surrounding the remaining sides of the brick.
Press the tip of a joint chisel against one of the cut mortar joints. Angle the chisel's tip relative to the joint's exposed surface; do not hold the chisel perpendicular to the wall. Strike the chisel's butt with a mallet to gouge into the joint and chip away the scored mortar. Use the chisel and mallet to chip and remove the mortar from all of the scored joints.
Attach a high-flow nozzle to a garden hose. Turn on the garden hose. Direct the nozzle into the chiseled mortar joints to remove loose mortar and wash out debris. Slip a pry bar into the cut mortar joint. Butt the pry bar's fulcrum against an adjacent brick and push the bar's handle to force the loosened brick from the wall.
Tips & Warnings
- In a single-brick wall, you don't need a pry bar; simply score the mortar on both sides of the wall and pound the brick from the wall with a chisel.
- Masonry blades not only cut through mortar, but also through brick. If you don't need to remove the brick intact, simply use the grinder to slice through the brick's face.
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