You’ve heard the old adage: Never put the cart in front of the horse. Well, the same principle applies to replacing bricks. You don’t learn how to replace a single brick, until you understand the reasons for removing a single brick from a retaining wall or side of your home.
Cracks represent the primary reason why you have to replace a single brick. Settlement and subsidence cause cracks in the brick or mortar. Subsidence causes a single brick to cave in due to inferior design. Whenver you notice mortar cracking, you have to replace one or more of the bricks located adjacent to the cracked mortar.
One day, every brick constructed in your front porch facade appears in mint condition. A few days later, you notice one of the bricks has lost some if its surface. The freeze-thaw process that occurs during the colder months of the year can cause bricks to crumble. Moisture enters the surface of a single brick and then freezes when the temperature drops below zero centigrade. Ice crystals form and cause the structure of a brick to expand, which creates brick crumbling.
When you need to check out a potential home repair issue, you might have to remove one brick to get a bird’s eye view of the problem. The brick isn’t the root of the problem, but removing it allows you access to fix the problem. If you notice moisture accumulating along the sides of a brick wall, you can remove one of the bricks to learn the severity of the moisture damage.
Natural and artificial caused stains can cover a single brick, which diminishes the appearance of a wall or a side of your home. Some brick stains never come clean and this means you have to remove a single brick and replace it with a brick that brings the facade back to design uniformity. Long-term exposure to wind and moisture can also turn a single brick into the black sheep of the brick family.
Brick holes form for several reasons, the most common of which is age. A single brick that has withstood the test of time can suddenly form small holes that not only diminish aesthetics, but also reduce brick stability. If you notice a single brick has formed multiple small holes, you should replace the brick and then make sure other bricks have not experienced the same integrity issue.