blog-banner

Are you a contractor?

Join our network and attract real clients!

Table of Contents

Brick Recycling: A Favoured Alternative

Brick Recycling: A Favoured Alternative

Advice for contractorBrick Recycling: A Favoured Alternative

At a time when everyone is conscious of environmental protection issues, we're looking to recycle and upcycle everything that's no longer needed. As such, the urge to upgrade your home's brick cladding is reason enough to think this over. However, we tend to overlook the fact that terracotta bricks, which are everywhere, are among the greenest solutions out there. Reclaiming bricks is an easy endeavour considering they’re recyclable and reusable. Here's everything you should know about brick recycling.

How to Use Recycled Bricks

brick recycling

Source: Canva

When a structural shift or collapse occurs damaging brickwork, repairing a wall is still an option after carefully cleaning the bricks and replacing those that are cracked or broken. An experienced mason can comfortably do the job, provided that some bricks made ten, twenty, or thirty years ago are available. Since this is usually a major feat, it explains why there's a real demand on the market for used bricks. In other words, many contractors need recycled brick! When renovating, your old brick may very well become valuable. The use of secondhand bricks, however, will vary depending on their condition:

  • “Reclaimed bricks” that are still in good condition: Used for a construction or renovation project, but the dismantling process must have been meticulously done, and every brick cleaned to perfection. That way, you’re saving on material costs, but the upcycling process is time-consuming and tedious, which almost always outsets the cost-effectiveness of the initiative. Otherwise, if not reused to build a structure, the salvaged bricks can be used in landscaping projects to create walkways, retaining walls, or patios.

  • Overly damaged bricks can be upcycled: These can be broken down and converted into aggregate or granular material. Once crushed into pieces, it becomes a sought-after material used as backfill or drainage stones for foundations and transportation infrastructures. These can also be used to make mortar, concrete, or bituminous coatings. In other words, even though it might seem like a complex process, it’s an excellent way to upcycle bricks for numerous projects. 

In Quebec, aggregates such as brick, concrete, or gravel account for 40 to 60% of construction, renovation and demolition waste. However, brick has a never-ending lifecycle because of its natural composition (clay shale). Once buried in the ground, having undergone no chemical or industrial transformation, brick disintegrates and returns to its original state without releasing the slightest toxic emission. However, the energy spent on waste management could be used upcycling it!

Where to Donate Bricks for Recycling?

Source: Canva

Bricks are almost always salvageable, whether we're demolishing a deteriorating building or modernizing a house's façade. Once properly cleaned, they can be reused immediately, without any processing or transformation.

Recycled Brick Resale Companies

With selective deconstruction, a structure’s specific components can be removed to later be reused or recycled. Ultimately, that’s how certain businesses can provide their customers with recycled materials that aren’t available elsewhere. This is especially true with Websters and Sons, a Montréal-based company with a huge inventory featuring bricks of various colours and from different eras, some were even taken from heritage buildings. This company specializes in the purchase and resale of recycled bricks. 

DIY Used Brick Resale

If you’re unable to find a business nearby that’s interested in purchasing your bricks, you can always put them up for sale on a classified ads website. Albeit demand isn’t at an all-time high, the rarity of the product ensures that you’ll have, in no time, some takers.

Ecocentres

Luckily, the majority of ecocentres accept construction materials, thus bricks. Most of the larger cities in the province of Quebec have local ecocentres, and these salvage sites are accessible to the general public. Several municipalities encourage residents to recycle bricks at designated locations.

How to Find a Brick Recycling Centre?

In some cases (if the brick you want to recycle isn't in good condition, for example), looking for a company willing to take your stack of bricks can be quite difficult. However, knowing that the construction industry is responsible for one-third of waste materials in Quebec, this approach can significantly reduce your work's environmental impact. 

Companies such as Maçonnerie Gratton use their expertise to restore recycled bricks, whether it's reusing the original bricks or opting to have recycled bricks used in a reconstruction project. The Brique-Recyc machine, featured in the upcoming sub-section, further allows on-site recycling. 

The Brique-Recyc, a Brick Recycling Innovation

bricks to recycle

Source: Canva

Fitted with a diamond blade saw and guided by a laser system, the Brique-Recyc is both a time and money saver. The machine removes mortar and cleans bricks in less than seven seconds, dust-free. Instead of breaking 15% of the bricks, as seen with the previous method: the standard cleaning method, this machine retains upwards of 99% of the bricks. 

Brique-Recyc Function

The machine’s mode of operation is simple enough: Brick is dropped onto a conveyor belt powered by the push of a button. The brick disappears into a metal casing and exits a few seconds later, polished and perfectly cleaned. The old mortar is salvaged and will later serve to make cement, while brick can serve to build a wall from where it’s just been extracted. 

Close to a dozen bricks can be processed using the same method, in only a few seconds. The machine recycles a 1,000 sq. ft. (92 sq. m.) brick wall in 440 hours, while 600 hours would be needed to rebuild a wall using new materials. 

On-Site Brick Recycling

Until very recently, it was easy and cost-effective to haul new bricks from the United States or Ontario instead of cleaning old bricks and reusing these to build a wall. Conventionally, salvaging brick was an especially slow and costly procedure that people preferred, by a long shot, to dealing with the headache of moving new materials in and out of urban building sites. 

Both cheap and eco-friendly, reusing bricks for the same wall would prevent 5.9 tonnes of carbon gas emissions. This calculation accounts for the manufacturing of new bricks, transportation (Quebec ceased making new bricks in 2016), construction process, and disposal of old bricks. 

The Brique-Recyc machine is easily transported and can be used in restricted areas, even on scaffolding. When the bricks are cleaned on-site in a short amount of time and immediately reused, it thus becomes cost-effective to recycle this material instead of disposing of it. Therefore, your renovation project could be both cheap and eco-friendly—talk about a win-win!

Get 3 renovation quotes for your masonry project

RenoQuotes.com can help you get quotes for your masonry project. By submitting your project, we’ll put you in contact with top-rated contractors. Fill in the form on the homepage (it only takes a few minutes), and you will get estimates from trusted professionals.

Dial 1-844 828-1588 to speak with one of our customer service representatives.

Get 3 free quotes for your project!

Submit a project and get 3 free quotes!


Last modified 2023-11-07

List of sources


Get 3 free quotes for your project!

Submit a project and get 3 free quotes!

Looking for something else?


Table of contents


Get 3 free quotes for your project!

Submit a project and get 3 free quotes!

Are you a contractor?

Join our network and receive real leads!

Download the price guide for renovations

We’ll be emailing you the latest market price guide for renovations.



Related articles

The latest industry news, interviews, technologies, and resources.

7 min read

Léa Plourde-Archer • 08 Apr 2024

How to Create a Good Website for your Home Renovation Company

Are you the owner of a home (or commercial) renovation business? To show off your work, you should have a website!

6 min read

Léa Plourde-Archer • 20 Jun 2024

Home Renovation Contractor: 8 Tips for Presenting Cost Estimates to Clients

Entrepreneurial life is not easy. Depending on the season, it can be difficult to get renovation contracts, even if you meet with a lot of potential clients. You may have the necessary experience and skills, but people are simply not calling back.

9 min read

RenoQuotes.com • 07 Jun 2024

Women in the Construction Industry

In this day and age, 48% of construction companies with over 25 workers are hiring women. Albeit women still solely represent a meagre 3.8% of the industry’s workforce, there was a long battle beforehand to make it to this point. And, after reading this article, you’ll come to understand how hard it is now to picture a high-performing team without these valuable players alongside the men.

3 min read

RenoQuotes.com • 07 Nov 2023

Why Renovate Your Windows?

If you’re currently in the midst of a renovation project, chances are, you’re debating whether or not you should replace your windows. Nonetheless, replacing windows has several valuable advantages that you should consider prior to undertaking your renovation project.

2 min read

Amanda Harvey • 07 Nov 2023

The Benefits of Refacing Your Kitchen Cabinets

After living in your home for some time, it’s normal to long for a change. If you’re not looking to make a huge move or take on something complicated, then you should consider smaller renovation projects. There are rooms you spend a lot of time in, and the kitchen is one of them. Specifically, many homeowners grow tired of their kitchen cabinets; the colour, the finish, or both. Luckily, through a process called “refacing,” you can offer your cabinets a second chance without investing in a whole new set.


Looking for a contractor?

Submit a project and get 3 free quotes now!