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How to Dismantle a Brick Wall

Last modified: 2022-07-25 | Approximate reading time 3 mins

Brick is a primary material for the walls of homes. Recognized for its insulating properties and its timeless aesthetics, brick is popular both for exterior and interior cladding.

If you notice your brick wall starting to wear at the joints or the brick itself, then you may want to dismantle it. 

Dismantling a brick wall: some details

Dismantling a brick wall may initially seem simple, but you still need to take some precautions. Dismantling it means removing the mortar between the bricks in order to recover them and reduce the risk of damage to a room if this may be an issue.

First, check with your municipality to find out if you’ll need a building permit for this type of work. Next, make sure to determine whether the wall in question is a load-bearing wall or not.

A load-bearing wall is usually in the center of a home as it supports part of the frame: tearing it down means removing part of the support from the frame of your house! If in doubt, seek the advice of a professional mason who can tell you if the wall is in fact load-bearing.

mur de briques_Comment démanteler un mur de briques_Soumission Rénovation

The tools needed

To dismantle a brick wall you’ll need:

  • tarpaulins;
  • a steel mallet;
  • a brick chisel.

Wear your safety equipment at all times: your safety glasses, gloves and a breathing mask will prevent dust from bothering you during the work.

Remove plaster as much as possible (if applicable) to minimize dust generation. If the wall contains electrical installations, remember to disconnect them before dismantling!

Dismantling is less likely to do damage than demolition, but the risk is still present: if you work in a room with a fragile floor, you can use old or worn blankets to prevent the brick from damaging the floor in case it happens to fall.

A brick chisel and mallet may be enough to dismantle a small brick partition. If the job requires more force, we suggest using power tools like a sabre saw and grinder to assist you. Also if you’re intending to move large quantities of bricks, remember to bring a wheelbarrow.

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The steps to follow for the dismantling of the brick wall

Lay out a tarp on the side where you’re planning to work. Afterwards, use a chisel to remove the mortar and place bricks on an adjacent tarp. It’s very important that you start the dismantling at the top of the wall, as there is a risk of the wall collapsing if you start elsewhere (through an opening, for example). Continue these steps until the wall is completely dismantled!

Dismantling takes longer, but causes less damage than demolition. Also, if you want to reuse the bricks and have them in good condition, you can. Otherwise, we’d suggest that you contact your local or municipal ecocentre to check whether a renovation and construction debris collection service is in place.

You can clean the bricks as needed: a brick devoid of dried mortar provides better adhesion to the laying. To clean them, it’s suggested that you use a solution composed of 20 ml of bleach for each liter of water. Apply the solution to the bricks and let it sit for a maximum of eight hours before rinsing it off with plenty of water.

If you want ideas for interior brick walls, our article Renovation inspiration: 10 examples of interior brick walls can offer you some ideas!

mur de briques et gazon_Comment démanteler un mur de briques_Soumission Rénovation

In summary

If you want to dismantle a brick wall, you’ll have to remove the mortar, taking care not to damage the bricks you want to keep. Place them on a tarp and find out what to do if you want to get rid of them.

If necessary, clean them to increase their adhesion to the mortar during a new installation project. Remember to always wear your safety gear when dismantling the wall! Since brick is quite a heavy material, be sure to lift it properly so as not to injure yourself.

If you don't have a project planned for the bricks and you don't want to store them, contact your neighbourhood ecocentre to find out if they’d be interested in recycling them. 

For more information on this, see our articles:

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