I'm already looking ahead to things I might do in the Spring
My ranch home has three sections of brick fascia "accents". Two of the sections are around 7 feet wide each and run from ground to soffit. The other section is about 11.5 feet wide and only comes part way up the wall (to the bottom of the window above it).
For a couple of reasons, I'd like to take down the brick.
(1) I want to see what's going on behind the brick. I'm fairly certain there is no air space/drainage between the brick and sheathing behind it. So, I suspect mushy sheathing behind it. We've had some interesting looking insects infiltrate our home in areas behind the brick fascia.
(2) The brick is looking kind of bad. Bricks near the ground are wearing away and some have holes in them. There are also a lot of paint splatters on the brick.
I know this will be time consuming, but I'm thinking that I could use an angle grinder to cut out the mortar. It looks like I could save around 75% of the brick.
I don't want to underestimate the value of experience, but I think I could successfully rebuild the fascia walls. It seems that, if I take my time to make sure the mortar is the correct thickness and that each course is level and plumb, I "should" be able to rebuild the fascia walls.
Am I kidding myself? Is this a job that no rookie should attempt to pull off on his own? Is it crazy to try to salvage the existing brick?
I have the whole long winter to think through this potential project.
Thanks in advance for your ideas.
Well, you DID ask: This is a huge waste of time!
To start, you say that some of the brick is already damaged - so to rebuild what you have means that you are going to come up short already. Second: No matter how careful you are in demolition, some of the brick will be broken and destroyed. At a minimum, 10% and more like 40% to 50% will be chipped, cracked or otherwise broken and made non-usable. Third: Unless the original install was a real crappy brick job with soft mortar, this is going to take a long, long time to clean all the brick.
Also consider: Since it is a given that you will need more brick to replace what is destroyed or damaged, you are going to have to try to match what is there. This is difficult and frequently impossible. You will get a far better looking final product if the entire wall is made with new brick from the same lot and color distribution.
Then there is your time - what's it worth? If you are unemployed and have no money and all the time in the world, then go ahead. Cleaning the brick will give you something to do. Other than some wear and tear on your tools and some cut up and sore hands, your cost will be next to nothing. However, if your time has some value then consider that you will be working at the equivalent of a couple of dollars an hour at best.
To qualify: I will admit to a certain bias. As a professional General Contractor I approach this type of thing as if you were my client. This does slant my reasoning towards what I find makes professional sense. In your case, you could hire my crew to clean off all your old brick - and it would probably cost you only a few thousand dollars. Or, we could spend a few hundred and get all new material. I just can't sell that kind of logic.
Finally: Have you given any thought to rebuilding the brick areas with something other than brick? While anyone with a reasonable amount of DIY skills can lay brick, it takes some skill to keep everything straight and plumb. if you have never laid brick before and these accent areas are on the front of your home, I would strongly consider going with something other than brick or hiring out the masonry work.
Jaybee, I did ask and I truly appreciate your honest assessment.
Actually, what you said reinforced what my wife had already tried to tell me "it would be a huge waste of time".
We have considered rebuilding the areas with something other than brick. My wife doesn't really like the brick and she'd be fine with just using siding in those areas. We've had neighbors say it would be a mistake to get rid of the brick--that the brick somehow gives the homes in our area a bit of distinction and interest.
I'd like to replace the brick with real stone, stone veneer, or "cultured" stone. I'm a certifiable cheapskate though, so I thought that, if I could get away without buying a lot of materials, the look of the brick would be "good enough".
I'd be glad to hear any other ideas or suggestions.
You have a wife willing to tell you what to do already - you don't need us.
Happy New year!
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