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Old 06-14-2010, 02:26 PM   #1
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removing mortar residue from old bricks for recycling


i just took down a small separation wall between me and the neighbors and will rebuild it using the recycled bricks, of which about 80% remained in a (seemingly) good shape after the demo.

was wondering if there are any tricks or chemical solutions that can assist in removing patches of old mortar in preparation for the reuse.

thanks in advance.

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Old 06-14-2010, 02:34 PM   #2
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removing mortar residue from old bricks for recycling


Spirits of Salt(Hydrochloric Acid) will break down cement and lime mortar.

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Old 06-14-2010, 02:39 PM   #3
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removing mortar residue from old bricks for recycling


thanks. is that a controlled chemical or can i just buy it at sherwin-williams or some place ?
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Old 06-14-2010, 02:46 PM   #4
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removing mortar residue from old bricks for recycling


I used to buy the crystals from our local DIY store and mix up my own strength, but the owner stopped stocking them after he dropped a carton of them and some bit bounced up in to his eyes and he spent 3 days in the Eye hospital.
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Old 06-14-2010, 02:49 PM   #5
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removing mortar residue from old bricks for recycling


OK, thanks
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Old 06-14-2010, 02:57 PM   #6
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removing mortar residue from old bricks for recycling


Call your local hardware store and ask for "Muriatic Acid".
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Old 06-14-2010, 03:10 PM   #7
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removing mortar residue from old bricks for recycling


any idea if this thing can weaken the brick somehow ? if i just dip the brick before scraping the residue.
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Old 06-14-2010, 05:06 PM   #8
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removing mortar residue from old bricks for recycling


It won't weaken clay bricks. Just brush it on the stains and you will see the mortar bubbling. Leave it for a while and then brush off and rinse. You may have to repeat this a few times.
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Old 06-14-2010, 05:40 PM   #9
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removing mortar residue from old bricks for recycling


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Originally Posted by amakarevic View Post
was wondering if there are any tricks or chemical solutions that can assist in removing patches of old mortar in preparation for the reuse.
Muratic will work on very small, thin areas of mortar, but getting the vast majority of mud off of the brick by hammer, chisel, chipping hammer, etc...will be the most efficient route IMO. I generally only use acid on the ends of the brick that I'm using for corners when reclaiming them. I'd suggest investing in a cheap brick hammer & trying that out first. After the first few hundred brick, you should be flipping the brick thru the air with one hand & using your thigh as a work bench, just like a pro......
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Old 06-14-2010, 05:49 PM   #10
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removing mortar residue from old bricks for recycling


yes, basically that's what i wanted to do. bigger chunks can be knocked off with a masonry hammer. it's them pesky little stains that cling on hard and are best removed chemically.
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Old 06-14-2010, 06:07 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by amakarevic View Post
yes, basically that's what i wanted to do. bigger chunks can be knocked off with a masonry hammer. it's them pesky little stains that cling on hard and are best removed chemically.

Exactly

When I'm doing this, I often just dip the ends in a bucket for a few minutes. Generally, if it doesn't come off in 2-3 minutes, you'll need to try it again with new acid, or it isn't coming off.

BTW, take extreme caution when working with this stuff, it is EXTREMELY caustic. Be safe.

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