Damaged bricks in garden paths and patios can compromise the structural integrity of the entire paved area. Fortunately, repairs are possible, even for the novice DIYer, with the right tools. The following are the materials you need for the masonry repair, although you should also have safety glasses and gloves in order to prevent injury during the repair.
1. Chisel & Hammer
Removing the damaged brick is best done with a chisel and hammer. Any hammer will work, as long as the head is large enough so that it doesn't slip off the chisel when you tap it. Nearly any type of chisel will work well for loosening out the mortar, although flat utility chisels or cold chisels tend to work the best with the least chance of damage.
2. Whisk Broom
A small handheld whisk broom is necessary for cleaning out the mortar residue after the brick has been pulled out. For the best adhesion of the fresh mortar, all of the old mortar and debris have to be removed from the hole left by the brick. Choose a stiff-bristled whisk broom, as the stiffer texture is better at dislodging the small stubborn bits of debris that tend to become trapped.
3. Replacement Brick
The trickiest part of the repair is finding a matching brick, especially for older paving where the original brick may not be manufactured any longer. The main options are to find the closest match possible at a masonry supplier or to find a supplier of reclaimed brick as they may have a closer match when you are replacing an older brick. If the brick you removed is only damaged on one side, you may also be able to reuse it by simply flipping it over.
4. Mortar Mix
Matching the mortar can also be a challenge, but it's typically easier to achieve than brick matching. For a DIY repair, the simplest option is to choose a standard color of mix that is closest to the existing color since aging and weathering will soon help it blend in with the rest of the pathway. Most mortar is sold as a powder that you mix with water to get the desired consistency.
5. Trowel Selection
Finally, you will need two trowels to complete the job. A flat brick trowel is used to spread the mortar in the opening and on the brick prior to fitting the brick back into place. A narrow tuckpointing trowel is also necessary in order to smooth the facing mortar joint so it is level and attractive.
For more info, contact a local company like Southridge Farm and Nursery.
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