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How Much Does it Cost to Repair Brickwork?

Brick Repair Prices

Brick is a classic and highly-durable building material. Brick buildings from the 1800s are still standing in the United States and in Europe, 12th and 13th century brick churches remain intact. That's not to say, however, that bricks can be set and forget indefinitely. Despite its longevity, brick, as well as the mortar holding it in place, requires upkeep from time to time. Read on to learn about the different kinds of brick repair and how much repairing brick costs.

Types of Brick Repair:


Cleaning

Interior and exterior brick can become covered in dirt and grime that masks its beauty. The type of cleaning required depends on the type of residue. Mold and mildew can be washed away with a bleach solution while paint, chalk, calcium carbonate, and rust might require more aggressive tactics such as sandblasting or chemicals. When trying to clean brick, always start with the mildest method (such as dish detergent mixed with warm water and table salt) and work your way up to more aggressive tactics. Harsher treatments can damage and discolor brick, however, so consider letting a pro handle them.

Repointing

Repointing refers to the process of repairing mortar joints. Before new mortar can be applied, the old mortar must first be carefully removed. Chiseling out old mortar in such a way that the surrounding brick isn't disturbed is a painstaking process. No less difficult is matching the fresh mortar to the original mortar (not only in terms of color, but also composition, newer, cement-based mortars aren't compatible with older, less-rigid bricks...read about the dilemma at This Old House). Unless you have experience working with mortar, hiring a professional for brick repointing is highly recommended.

Rebuilding

When brick repair won't suffice, it's necessary to replace individual bricks or entire sections of brick, whether they're part of a brick wall, chimney, foundation, stair, walkway, or patio. One or two damaged bricks might be feasible as a DIY-project if you're comfortable working with mortar and the brick isn't part of a load bearing wall (if you're unsure about the latter, seek a professional opinion). There's also the challenge of matching the new bricks to the originals.

Large scale brick rebuilding might be required for a failing chimney, foundation, or wall. In some cases, the entire structure must be torn down and rebuilt. When the reason for rebuilding is caused by failing mortar and not failing brick, the original bricks can be used for the rebuild. Reusing bricks is especially important for maintaining a historic look on old buildings. The existing brick from a walkway or patio can also be reinstalled atop a fresh base of crushed stone to create an "antique" or "reclaimed" brick look. You might even consider selling old bricks, which are highly sought after for historic building projects.

Brick Repair Average Costs

  • HomeAdvisor.com puts the cost of brick repair nationwide at roughly $1,300 to $2,000, with some repairs costing close to $4,000.
  • Smaller brick repair jobs, such as repairing cracks in 10 or fewer bricks, often costs less than $500. Hiring a professional for a full day of brick repair over several areas of the home might cost $750 to $1,000.
  • Brick replacement (including cutout and re-laying) might cost $250 to $350 for a small area with around 1 dozen to 2 dozen bricks. Note that this type of work might have a minimum charge (for example, replacing a couple of bricks might be as expensive as replacing 10 simply to make it worth the company's while). These prices are only for labor; replacement bricks cost extra.
  • Extensive rebuilding costs $800 to $1,200 per 1,000 bricks (labor and materials).
  • Chimney repairs (not rebuilding) cost $750 to $1,500 or more.
  • Repairs performed above 10 feet cost more than those performed below 10 feet. Expect to pay at least 10 to 20 percent extra for repairs at height.
  • Brick prices vary based on the type of brick and the quantity ordered. Wholesale prices are around $300 to $500 per $1,000. Individual bricks can be purchased for $.35 to $.75 cents. The mortar (masonry cement) needed for a small job costs $10 to $20. Lime-based mortar is slightly more expensive.

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