How to Reset a Loose Brick

A simple repair can save a whole brick wall

Learn how to clean, reset and tuckpoint loose bricks. A loose brick can ultimately lead to major problems – even a wall collapse – but the fix is simple.

By the DIY experts of The Family Handyman Magazine

Clean bricks before remortaring

When a brick works loose, you can’t just shove mortar in around it and expect the repair to last. Pull it out and fix it right.

It’ll take you at least 20 minutes to remove a loose brick from a wall and clean off the old mortar from both the wall cavity and brick (Photos 1 and 2). If possible, reuse the old bricks. New brick will never match the texture or aged color of the original.

When resetting bricks, follow these guidelines:

  • Select bagged mortar mix, not sand or concrete mix.
  • Wear safety glasses. Also wear waterproof gloves; mortar contains alkaline chemicals that can burn you.
  • Add latex additive to the water and mix the mortar in a shallow container (like an old dishpan) to the consistency of peanut butter.
  • Mix small batches of mortar. Hot, dry weather and direct sunlight can reduce the viable working time of the mortar from 60 minutes to 30.
  • Immediately clean mortar smears off brick faces using a soft-bristle brush (a wire brush may leave rust marks). If the mortar dries, you’ll have to use chemicals to remove it.

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Required Tools for this Project

Have the necessary tools for this DIY project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration.

  • Bucket
  • Cold chisel
  • Hammer
  • Safety glasses
  • Trowel
  • Tuckpointing tool

You'll also need a whisk broom, a soft-bristle brush and waterproof gloves.

Required Materials for this Project

Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time. Here's a list.

  • Mortar mix
  • Latex additive