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Does anyone know how to patch spalling soft red brick? My 1930's building is falling apart and I can't find anything that will hold. Thanks... The mortar is fine, it ts the face of the old red brick that is popping off.

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To repair a soft or hard red brick you cut out the affected part of the brick with a toothed chisel or diamond cutting disc. You then rake out or cut back the pointing around the brick to well below the surface. Grind up the red brick rubble to a very fine consistency and add the dust from a matching ground up red brick with a little white sand to give you the texture of the brick then add white cement with dark red colouring to match the colour tone of the brick face adjacent.

If you want a perfect match you need to allow the mixture to dry on a mortar board overnight to see if the colour is going to be right when dry. If the mixture is correct, you can then mix up a large batch to fill in the cut out or imperfections.

The brick cavity needs to be well watered to make it damp, then you fill in the hole with a semi wet mixture of the brick repair material and allow the mortar mix to soak into to the host brick. Once the surface of the repair material becomes less shiny,which means that the mix is soaking into the host brick, you can then use a piece of timber or small wood float to shape and make the surface of the repair blend in with the adjacent bricks. Do not use metal trowels to form or surface the repair because this brings water to surface and makes the material too shiny or smooth. After forming the repair to the correct shape you then need to cut around the repair material with a straight edge and a pointing trowel to form a false chase for the pointing to match up with the existing pointed courses. As the material is drying you can also carefully rub in some more ground up brick dust to blend in the colour. When you are on the final finishing of the red brick repair you must use a soft paint brush to keep all of the surfaces matt and give the repair a blended appearance. Once the repair is dry you can carefully clean out the pointing around the brick and point up as normal. You can short cut this procedure by using red brick dust on a sand and cement repair but in time the ground/base material will show through, by using a red coloured ground/base material the repair will last as long as the brick itself. One note of caution is that red bricks are normally very brittle and if repairs are made to the brick they might break or spall on the other side of the repair if a heavy frost happens soon after the repair is made, bricks have been repaired in this way in the UK for many years. Please try not to use chemical additives because they make the repair material too hard and more likely to hairline cracking over the long term.
Red Pigment can be also used to touch up the repair but in time this will wash off, so alway try and use fine ground red brick rather than colouring.

Posted on May 31, 2010

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  • Master
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To repair a soft or hard red brick you cut out the affected part of the brick with a toothed chisel or diamond cutting disc. You then rake out or cut back the pointing around the brick to well below the surface. Grind up the red brick rubble to a very fine consistency and add the dust from a matching ground up red brick with a little white sand to give you the texture of the brick then add white cement with dark red colouring to match the colour tone of the brick face adjacent.

If you want a perfect match you need to allow the mixture to dry on a mortar board overnight to see if the colour is going to be right when dry. If the mixture is correct, you can then mix up a large batch to fill in the cut out or imperfections.

The brick cavity needs to be well watered to make it damp, then you fill in the hole with a semi wet mixture of the brick repair material and allow the mortar mix to soak into to the host brick. Once the surface of the repair material becomes less shiny,which means that the mix is soaking into the host brick, you can then use a piece of timber or small wood float to shape and make the surface of the repair blend in with the adjacent bricks. Do not use metal trowels to form or surface the repair because this brings water to surface and makes the material too shiny or smooth. After forming the repair to the correct shape you then need to cut around the repair material with a straight edge and a pointing trowel to form a false chase for the pointing to match up with the existing pointed courses. As the material is drying you can also carefully rub in some more ground up brick dust to blend in the colour. When you are on the final finishing of the red brick repair you must use a soft paint brush to keep all of the surfaces matt and give the repair a blended appearance. Once the repair is dry you can carefully clean out the pointing around the brick and point up as normal. You can short cut this procedure by using red brick dust on a sand and cement repair but in time the ground/base material will show through, by using a red coloured ground/base material the repair will last as long as the brick itself. One note of caution is that red bricks are normally very brittle and if repairs are made to the brick they might break or spall on the other side of the repair if a heavy frost happens soon after the repair is made, bricks have been repaired in this way in the UK for many years. Please try not to use chemical additives because they make the repair material too hard and more likely to hairline cracking over the long term.
Red Pigment can be also used to touch up the repair but in time this will wash off, so alway try and use fine ground red brick rather than colouring.


Posted on May 31, 2010

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