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I'm doing a full bathroom remodel and when I took all the paint off one of the walls, I discovered it's brick. This wall used to be the exterior of the house, but an extension was added in the room seen through the window.

brick wall

This house is from early 1900's, so over 100 years old. The brick is in pretty rough shape in parts, the wall appears to be leaning against the stud frame.

brick leaning against stud

I believe these studs are the only thing holding up this wall. Above the wall is just insulation - the load seems to have been moved completely off when the roof was extended.

insulation above brick

I tested a few of the bricks on the top row and they can easily be moved/removed by hand.

moving brick

I planned to put up some large format (48"x24") porcelain tiles on this wall for a shower. These tiles and the mortar to hold them would be very heavy. I'd additionally need to use some cement sheeting or float the wall to get it plumb, because right now the top bricks are about an inch off from the bottom (due to the lean). I'm discovering that this brick wall does not seem well enough supported for these tiles.

The brick does extend about a foot past this room in both directions, just to form two doorways in the adjacent rooms. If needed, I can replace those walls with stud framing as well.

Can I remove this brick wall? If so, what would be the best way to remove it? I have the M18 7-1/4" circular saw, a M18 Sawzall, and a M18 4-1/2" angle grinder so was thinking about getting masonry blades for one or multiple of those.

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  • Yikes! 24x48 inch tiles? Have fun with that. I find that much smaller tiles play better with a lot of real building situations. Those will be uncompromising and really easy to break (if only due to being heavy and awkward...)
    – Ecnerwal
    Jul 29, 2023 at 20:59

2 Answers 2

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It sound like you answered your own question. The wall is not sound enough to be used as a proper surface for tile.

Before grinding and cutting. Try to remove the bricks from the top down. A Masonry Chisel could make it a lot more dust free. Knock out the mortar. It usually will crumble easier than expected.

An added bonus is that you may be able to sell the bricks you removed whole.

Or use them as an accent somewhere else in your home.

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Misread the question the first time...

If it was originally part of the outside wall, I would assume it's load-bearing until proven otherwise. A few loose bricks is a hint but not a guarantee, depending on how the load is being transferred.

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  • I just ran my finger along the entire length of the top of the bricks. It is all loose mortar and then attic insulation on top. I did not find anything on top that could be load bearing. Additionally, I checked that every single brick is loose.
    – Zane
    Jul 29, 2023 at 17:30

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