In some instances, damage to a brick wall or other structure can be fixed by a homeowner, but it is important to know the difference between a DIY-suitable repair and one that calls for a professional mason.
DIY brick repair should never be attempted if a wall is load-bearing and requires you to replace more than four contiguous bricks. When seriously damaged, a load-bearing brick wall is a serious accident waiting to happen, and it’s best not to attempt your own repairs. But you may be able to do minor repair projects—defined as replacing no more than four contiguous bricks in a load-bearing wall that is otherwise solid. The brickwork on chimneys, for example, is almost always load-bearing and DIYers should tackle only minor repairs on such structures.
Fortunately, on most brick homes, the outer brick facade is typically a “veneered” brick wall. Veneered means it is a brick skin over wood framing. If that is the case with your home, then the brick wall is not load-bearing and many repairs can be done yourself.
Before You Start
Selecting the right replacement brick may sound easy but it’s essential to the aesthetic success of the repair. It’s not as simple as it sounds with an older home where the brickwork is many decades old. Even the standard red bricks can vary by color and size. If you have an old piece of the brick you’re replacing, take that with you to a brickyard to find an acceptable replacement. If the brick is very old, you can also try an architectural reclamation company where old reclaimed architectural materials are sold.
Study the existing brickwork before starting work so you’re prepared to mimic the look as closely as possible with your repair. Pay particular attention to the joints between bricks. You may need pigments and proper tools to create joints that are the proper color and shape.
One of the most common places for brickwork to fail is also the place where DIYers should be most reluctant to work—on rooftops where chimneys terminate, or high above the ground on exterior fireplace brickwork. Masonry work requires carrying heavy materials and working with both hands, and doing this kind of work high above the ground is best left to professionals who have the scaffolding and safety harnesses that allow them to do this work safely.
Source: The Spruce