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13
votes
5answers
8k views

How do I tell if my house is brick or brick veneer?

I live in a brick house, and am interested in understanding whether it is brick or brick veneer, as a way to understand what kind of risks it (and we) may face during an earthquake. I hear that brick ...
7
votes
1answer
1k views

How to properly seal/cover an unused chimney?

We recently replaced an ancient chimney-vented boiler with a direct-vented one. This boiler was the only thing using our chimney. The chimney is brick and sits in the center of our 120-year-old house. ...
6
votes
2answers
701 views

How to repair a broken patio corner?

I've got a limestone patio. The builder apparently didn't support one corner very well and somebody stepped hard on it and a triangle about 1/2 square foot in size broke off. I imagine putting some ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

How can baseboards be attached to a plaster-on-masonry wall?

The walls on the sides and back of my fireplace are plaster on masonry. How can I attach baseboards to these walls? I tried bonding with HMA but eventually that just peels the paint off.
5
votes
2answers
4k views

How do I fill cracks between stone steps and mortar?

I have a set of stone steps out front, built into a rubble-stone retaining wall on both sides. The steps are mortared into place with concrete. Over time a crack (~1/4" wide) has developed between the ...
5
votes
2answers
452 views

Is there an adhesive I can use with anchors to keep them from pulling out?

I am mounting shelves using plastic anchors in masonry. I once saw a contractor use an adhesive on the anchors to prevent them from pulling out. I realize that by design this should not be necessary. ...
5
votes
1answer
581 views

Re-Pointing Fieldstone Foundation [duplicate]

I purchased my 110 year old colonial house 6 months ago. It has a field stone foundation that looks completely original (with a few small repairs). The house is located in North Eastern Massachusetts ...
4
votes
4answers
2k views

Is mortar waterproof?

I was advised by a professional that mortar is waterproof, however sources online are telling me that it's not. So is mortar waterproof or not? Does waterproofness vary by mortar classification (e.g. ...
4
votes
2answers
1k views

What kinds of gloves should be used for working with mortar?

I am currently working on my eagle scout project, and I will be using mortar to put together part of my project (I know this doesn't completely apply to home improvement so if this is the wrong place ...
4
votes
1answer
951 views

Patching a cracked concrete/brick walkway

A smallish part of the concrete/brick walkway leading up to my front door has broken off. The cracked piece is about six inches long by two inches wide. How do I go about repairing this? Is this ...
4
votes
1answer
2k views

How can I build a brick mailbox?

I'm planning to build a wall block mailbox with the wall blocks that are 3.75" X 7.5" X 11.25". I've worked out the plans that allow for a particular mailbox to fit nicely in a space. However, it ...
4
votes
1answer
2k views

How can I add tile to my fireplace?

[UPDATE: After reading the question and answers, please see this blog that shows how the fireplace renovation was completed.] I am getting ready to begin tiling part of my fireplace. The current ...
4
votes
3answers
6k views

Can I install windows into a concrete rough opening without wood buck?

I recently cut two holes in my foundation and installed new windows. I lined my hole with 2x8 PT wood bucks that I attached to the masonry with Tapcon screws. Then I attached my window nailing flange ...
4
votes
2answers
2k views

How do I repair the bottom lip of a concrete slab?

(My issue is kind of like this question but more of a missing chunk than a thin crack.) I have a concrete patio in the front of my house that was fixed by a previous owner after a bottom chunk broke ...
3
votes
2answers
161 views

Insulation foam in hollow bricks and blocks

This is a wall in the extension to my house, which I estimate to have been added around the 1930s (house is 1909) using mostly large hollow bricks that look more like cinder blocks but are not of ...
3
votes
1answer
45 views

Good, affordable pathway materials for sidewalk with tree root problems

I recently moved into my first home. Unfortunately, the concrete slab pathway leading from the town sidewalk to the front door is buckling from the roots of an enormous pine tree that grows near it. ...
3
votes
2answers
935 views

How should I anchor a hand railing to sandstone steps?

I've got three exterior steps made of natural sandstone. They are 6 ft wide, and 10" thick. I need to anchor a metal handrailing to them. The railing has two feet: 1/4" metal plates with 3/8" holes ...
3
votes
1answer
52 views

Should concrete stair landing be anchored to building?

I have a small, approximately 3x3' concrete landing in front of my basement door, from which stairs go up to the street level. I need to redo it and was wondering whether to tie the rebar from under ...
3
votes
2answers
615 views

How to repair / reinforce deteriorated footings and subsoil below brick & concrete porch

My fiancee and I recently moved into a 1922 brick craftsman-style home. The front porch has a ~4" poured concrete floor and large solid concrete railing caps (12"W x 4"D). Brick columns support the ...
3
votes
4answers
613 views

What is the laziest way I can build a non-structural, non-aesthetic cinder block wall to contain compost?

I have a ton of brush that I used to burn, but I recently bought a chipper/shredder and want a spot to compost it along with grass clippings and greens. I also have 3 tons of CMUs that are just ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

What is the best way to repair a large crumbling block on a corner of the house wall?

Today I have removed a dead vine root that has caused some damage to the brick work on one corner of my house. As you can see from the picture below, along with the root a fair depth of stone has come ...
3
votes
2answers
330 views

What can I do about my deteriorating basement floor with a large hole that seems to go right through to clay?

We live in 90 year old house with an unfinished basement. I've been working on removing a lot of the crap that the previous owner did, and removing a lot of concrete debris. Then I ran into this ...
3
votes
1answer
24 views

What should I use to seal/coat interior of stone foundation wall?

I have a stone foundation in my basement which was re-pointed about 4 years ago. While slight, the mortar crumbles a little bit over time. As a result, it causes a bit of a mess with the dust at the ...
3
votes
3answers
268 views

How do I prep my houses exterior cement walls for painting?

My house exterior walls are cement - how do I prep it before painting? Here's some photos. I'm thinking maybe a pressure washer but would prefer an easier, less messy alternative if available. I read ...
2
votes
3answers
26k views

How should I apply brick to an interior wall?

I don't want to use veneer, I want to use real brick. Is it as easy as using tie-ins to the studs and setting the brick as one would normally? The existing wall is drywall, So I was thinking of ...
2
votes
2answers
10k views

Can I use Quikrete FastSet Repair Mortar to replace the mortar between stones in a fireplace hearth support?

My brick fireplace hearth is supported by large stones sticking out perpendicularly to my foundation wall in the basement. It forms a kind of shelf on top of which the hearth was laid. The stones ...
2
votes
1answer
300 views

Does anyone know if concrete blocks with half-moon tops are made?

I'm planning to finish a concrete block fence and would like to cap it with a rounded half-moon style block for aesthetics (the whole thing will be covered with surface-bonding cement for an adobe-ish ...
2
votes
3answers
2k views

Re-anchoring in existing (failed) anchor holes in brick

I've had a shelf come free from the wall on which it was anchored. The shelf is fairly deep (~2') and solid wood, so it's heavy, and it's meant to take some weight (think like a breakfast bar). The ...
2
votes
2answers
32 views

What kinds of contractors deal with basement/foundation flooding/leaks?

Winter is coming to an end. All the snow/ice in my back lawn is thawing. A massive vertical crack has opened in my basement wall (the foundation) and water is hemmoraging in. I tried parging it with ...
2
votes
3answers
52 views

Cutting out shapes inside cement board

I need to cut out a shape (rectangular opening) inside a cement board. Was wondering if it can be done with a jigsaw and a special blade once I have pilot holes drilled in each corner.
2
votes
3answers
502 views

What is the best way to drive the hard-cut nail into wooden baseboards to prevent splitting?

I am installing my baseboards, and there is a section that must be attached to brick. I know, by experience, that the best nail for my type of brick is the hard-cut masonry nail (and not the fluted ...
2
votes
1answer
304 views

Is it okay to install brick veneer directly to interior of a poured concrete foundation wall?

Is it ok to install brick veneer directly to interior of a poured concrete foundation wall, or is there any additional preparation required?
2
votes
2answers
4k views

How long to wait before cleaning new tuckpointed brick mortar with muriatic acid?

I am about to retuckpoint my exposed brick wall with a custom mortar mix (1x hydraulic lime, 2.5x sand). Once I am done, I plan to clean the residue and other dirt from the bricks using muriatic ...
2
votes
2answers
4k views

How to drill a hole in brick with precision?

I have bought old cabinets which I would like to hang on a brick wall. I have marked the spots on the wall, but I find it very difficult to drill precisely, because the drill bit follows a path of ...
2
votes
2answers
235 views

Parging foundation in Rain

We are looking to buy a house. The Home Insurance has given us a month to parge the outside foundation in some spots. It is late March and we will get the keys in early April. Is it possible to parge ...
2
votes
1answer
312 views

What masonry anchor should I use to install both window boxes and shutters into brick?

I have a brick house and my wife and I want to install plastic shutters and wooden window boxes on some windows. I know that the shutters will not be heavy load bearers, but the windows boxes will be ...
2
votes
1answer
4k views

How do I cover one side of a two-sided fireplace with bricks?

EDIT: 1/21/13 We hired a professional mason to convert the two-sided fireplace into a single-sided fireplace. We ended up interviewing about 5 people and getting bids from all of them. The guy we ...
1
vote
2answers
694 views

How well does masonry blocks used in European home construction insulate compared to a well insulated American (wood) wall?

Are there any equivalents to the Building Science insulation reports done for the US/Canada done in Europe? I spent the last few weeks going over some properties that I will be rehabbing in France ...
1
vote
1answer
162 views

White Mortar-like material oozing out of Chimney's brickwork (pictured)

We do have a masonry expert coming to evaluate the nature of the pictured problem, but I thought I'd pose the question here to get some information and possibly, a second opinion. There is some ...
1
vote
2answers
237 views

How to clean portland cement off bricks?

We moved into a brick house not too long ago. There are a few areas that were renovated at some point and the mason did a poor job. It looks like some cement was put in after the bricks were laid and ...
1
vote
1answer
58 views

How to tile over cinder block holes?

I bought a house that has cinder block wall in the backyard. Whoever installed this wall opted to place the top blocks so that the holes are facing the side rather than the top and bottom. They then ...
1
vote
2answers
50 views

What is this sanding disc and where could I find one?

As best I can tell, it's a 5" diameter, open-coat, all-metal (steel? tin?) arbor-mounted sanding disc. It's the only thing that will remove tar from brick on my house, and I really need to purchase ...
1
vote
1answer
46 views

Plugging hole in hollow brick

The extension to my house is built with hollow brick elements and I have a hole on one of them that I'd like to plug and mortar over. Since it's hollow in the back of the hole inside the element, I ...
1
vote
2answers
74 views

Chimney crown repair - cover holes in bricks?

Getting ready to repair the chimney crown, using this Family Handyman article as a guide. On our chimney, there is a line of bricks around the crown that have exposed holes in them. The holes are ...
1
vote
3answers
131 views

How much mortar between bricks?

Our Chimney was in bad repair, and we had two chimney companies come and and say basically the same thing, it needed to be partially torn down, re-bricked, new crown, new damper door. Ok, so the ...
1
vote
1answer
980 views

Can I fill sagging spots in my driveway with asphalt and hot tar?

We've had these sagging spots for about 10 years now. They're not getting any worse. Sure, we might get a new driveway in 10 years, but other than this, our driveway is in beautiful condition! They ...
1
vote
1answer
284 views

How to remove an old wood stove brick chimney?

I need to remove what is left of an old wood stove chimney that was partially removed from the top at roof level (one story) and the opening roofed over. What is the best way to break out the bricks? ...
1
vote
1answer
48 views

Is there a masonry filler tough enough to drill into once it's set

Our new home has two old metal gates front and back where the screws mounting the locking points have chipped out of the brickwork leaving large holes (40 - 50mm tall/deep). Is there a masonry ...
1
vote
1answer
24 views

Masonry protruding entrance water protection

My rear entrance is wood frame set in masonry (brick + terracotta brick) wall. It has aluminum flashing but it's old (way before I got the house) and the top edge isn't protected anymore (since I tore ...
1
vote
1answer
21 views

Should custom masonry mixes first be mixed dry?

I am currently doing a small retro plastering job ("retro" because I am in the U.S.). I am mixing masonry sand with lime plaster. The way I do it is make a homogeneous mix of sand and lime while ...