Important Factors when Using Antique Brick
There’s nothing to compare with the warm look of antique brick. It adds a great deal to any structure. However, it does need careful handling, both in the reclamation and when building. Knowing how to treat antique brick and understanding the problems you may encounter will arm you with the knowledge to handle them correctly for long-term use.
Remember that although antique bricks are strong enough to hold up a building when put together, individually they might not be so robust. You’ll need to clean the mortar off antique bricks before you can reuse them. The mortar needs to be chiselled out carefully. With very old bricks it’s possible that some of the bricks will break during this process. Although this is disappointing, it’s actually a good thing, because it exposes the weakness in the bricks.
There can be stains from the mortar on the antique brick. You’ll need to remove these before you use them again. To do this, soak the bricks in a solution of muriatic acid and water, use 1 part of acid to 10 parts water. They’ll only need to be soaked briefly. Be aware that the acid can be dangerous to skin. Don’t use the bricks until they’ve dried fully. If the brick is unglazed it’s been used inside an building and you shouldn’t reuse it outside.
Building with antique bricks is much the same as building with any other bricks. You need to be careful as to the type of project for which you use antique bricks. It’s much safer not to use them for buildings. However, for ornamental walls or firepits they can be very attractive. This is because the antique bricks might no longer be able to handle the weight and stress and a building-better to be safe rather than sorry.
Number Of Bricks
To estimate the number of bricks you’re likely to need for your project, measure the antique brick. See whether it’s the same size as a modern brick; it might not be. If it is, estimate 48 bricks for each square yard of work. Add an extra 5 percent to allow for breakage.
You will need a foundation for any building with antique brick. This should be 12 inches deep, and 6 inches of that should be filled with concrete. There will also be two courses of brick below the ground, giving a good, solid base for any structure.
It’s important that all the antique brick you use is the same size. When you lay bricks on the mortar you need to tap into place and then check with a level to ensure each course is level and straight. Remove any excess mortar with your trowel and use for the next course.
The antique brick should continue to weather well, without any problems. Keep checking it for any crumbling, which can occur. Be selective with the bricks and don’t use any that seem too worn. It’s better to put them aside rather than have to try and replace a brick in a wall later.