How to Patch a Hole in a Brick Wall
Ask This Old House mason Mark McCullough travels to Denver to patch a hole in a brick wall
- Start by identifying any bricks that have been cut for the hole. Any bricks that are no longer full sized should be removed.
- To remove the smaller bricks, cut along the mortar lines closest to the brick that’s being removed using an angle grinder. To keep the dust down, use a grinder with a vacuum attachment and connect it to a HEPA vacuum. These tools can be rented from the home center if you don’t have them.
- Once the mortar lines have been cut, carefully hit the bricks out of place with a hammer. Watch the mortar lines near bricks that aren’t being cut out. If there’s resistance, it’s possible those bricks will end up damaged and will need to get cut out as well.
- Once the bricks and the mortar have been removed, wipe away any excess dust with a masonry brush.
- Wet the masonry brush and do a second pass on the wall.
- Now it’s time to put the bricks into place. Start by mixing up the mortar in the bucket with water until it’s at roughly an oatmeal consistency.
- Scoop some of the mortar onto the trowel and then lay it onto the brick wall.
- Add some mortar to one side of the replacement brick. Then, place it on top of the bed joint just laid in the previous step. Wiggle it into place and gently tap it using the back side of the trowel until it lines up with the other bricks in its row.
- Continue this process with the rest of the replacement bricks until the hole is filled.
- Use the tuck pointer to fill in all the joints as deep as possible.
- Slick down all the new joints using the concave jointer.
- Wipe off any excess mortar on the face of the bricks using the masonry brush.
- Once all the excess mortar has been removed, do a final slick with the concave jointer.
For such a small repair, it may be a challenge to get a mason to fix the brick wall, so Mark suggests renting a few tools and tackling a project of this size on your own.
To find matching brick, take a picture, identify a nearby brick yard, and show someone there the picture. It’s likely they will recognize the brick and be able to give you the few that you need for little money. In this case, Mark went to Summit Brick Company and they were able to find what he needed.
Depending on the hole in the wall, it’s likely that surrounding bricks or mortar may need to be carefully removed. An angle grinder with a vacuum attachment can be rented from most home centers and should help keep the dust down. Mark used a 5” angle grinder with tuck pointing guard and a nine-gallon dust extractor with automatic cleaning, both manufactured by Bosch Tools.
For mortar, Mark used a Type N premixed mortar bag, which is manufactured by Quikrete.
All the other tools required for this project, including the trowel, masonry brush, and jointers, can all be found at home centers.
Expert assistance with this segment was provided by MJM Masonry.