How to Remove Brick Veneer
If removing brick veneer is on your agenda, you're in for a dusty project, but with good planning and site preparation, it can be a smooth and quick operation.
Expect flying debris. Goggles are a must. Gloves, hearing protection, and a dust mask or respirator are also necessary. Protect your feet by wearing appropriate footwear.
What Drives Your Demolition Tool?
A single jack, or baby sledgehammer, and 1-inch and 3-inch cold chisels are all you need for a small project. To pick up the pace or ease up on the elbows, consider a battery-powered or electric rotary hammer drill. Make sure the rotary feature is off. Use the appropriate chisel bits for the tool you have. The bits are often not interchangeable from one tool manufacturer to another. Most equipment rental businesses carry rotary hammers and small breakers.
Step 1 - Plan for Dust
If you’re working on an exterior wall, close all nearby windows to prevent dust entering the house. If you’re working on an interior wall, consider setting up a tent around your work using drop cloths, tarps and masking tape. Incorporate the nearest door or window into your tent and create negative pressure within the tent by installing a box fan, blowing outside, through the door or window. Use cardboard, plywood, or sheetrock scraps to seal the holes around the fan and tape the joints with masking tape. Lastly, use heavy brown construction paper to protect floor finishes. Tape the paper down with masking tape.
Step 2 - Cut Out Boundaries
Perhaps you intend to remove only a portion of the veneer. Trace out your boundaries with a pencil or chalk box. Use a grinder or skill saw with a diamond chip blade and cut out the boundaries.
Step 3 - Take Down the Wall
Begin in a top corner using the small cold chisel. The first brick is the hardest. Work the corners, joints, and get behind the brick with the chisel if you can. You may need to crack the first brick in half to get it out.
Once the first brick is out, try the larger chisel. Work your way, one brick at a time, across and down, until the veneer is gone. Switch back to the smaller chisel if a brick is stubborn. A careful hand can remove the bricks whole, increasing their opportunities for reuse.
Step 4 - Clean Up
Remove the debris using the wheelbarrow. When the dust is exhausted, remove the tent. Consider leaving your floor finish protection until reconstruction is complete.
Integrate the wheelbarrow into your exit plan for the debris. Seek out any reuse or recycling opportunities. Crushed concrete, brick, and mortar can be used as construction fill or aggregate in future concrete projects.