How Do I Know If I Have Used Brick?

Brick Repair
Used brick, as pictured, deteriorate as individual units as opposed to sections on the chimney like new brick does.

Used bricks are soft and may quickly deteriorate. If your masonry structure is made with used brick, it is more than likely that you will already know. If you do not, however, there are many tell tale signs that you do. Used bricks are known in a positive light for their beauty. Their rustic aestheticism is incomparable to newer bricks made by more modern procedures. They are bricks recycled or salvaged from prior buildings or construction sites. Often times, used brick are the remnants of older buildings having been torn down to create more modern structures. Some characteristics of used brick include rounded edges, small chips, and a general “tumbled” feel.

Brick Repair
For brick that looks uniform in size and shape but deteriorates one unit at a time, scratch the surface of the brick with a screwdriver to test its hardness.

Used brick can be from salmon pink to chalky orange to bright red. There are not any real color distinctions between new and used brick; their condition is the determining factor. Often their sizes are extremely irregular.
New brick will deteriorate in chunks or sections. Used brick, however, tend to deteriorate individually due to their differences in density throughout. Since their masses are not evenly distributed as is with new brick, made in a factory, one individual brick in the center of other perfectly fine bricks may start to crack and crumble.

The best maintenance tip I have for used brick after you correct any brick wall repair is to apply a deep penetrating water repellent once every few years. You also need to take care of any cracks or missing mortar joints immediately when caring for used brick. If you do not, the problem will quickly spiral out of control and hefty repairs may become necessary.

Clay Lamb
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