How to Repair a Brick Ledge
Secure loose bricks and crumbling mortar with these step-by-step instructions.
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If the ledge along your front porch steps is more eyesore than flourish, greet visitors with a newly mortared ledge instead. Here’s how to whip it into shape:
Materials and Tools:
drill with masonry bit
scrap wood to build form
1. Wearing the face shield and work gloves, pull away the loose bricks by hand. Remove tighter bricks with the brick chisel and hammer.
2. Scrape away old mortar with the chisel and brick hammer. You can reuse the old bricks, but first chip away old mortar with the flat end of the brick hammer.
3. Mix mortar according to manufacturer’s directions. The mortar should have the consistency of oatmeal.
4. Before applying mortar, brush on a layer of bonding agent with an old paintbrush to give the new mortar a sticky surface to adhere to.
5. If there’s a large center clump of bricks, as there was in the pictured project, spread a layer of mortar with a trowel and put the large piece in place first.
6. To put the outside bricks in place, spread a layer of mortar, even it out with the tip of your trowel, and “butter” the ends of each brick with mortar before setting in place.
7. Tap each brick with the back of the trowel until it’s even with the existing bricks. Scrape off excess mortar with a trowel.
8. Tool or shape the fresh mortar joints, dip a spoon in water and run the back of it along the joints. Keep the spoon wet as you work
9. Allow the mortar to set overnight before pouring a new concrete slab for the top.
10. If part of the slab remains, drill two holes into the broken edge with a masonry bit to install anchor bolts. Clean away debris with a whisk broom.
11. Build a form along the edge of the old slab using scrap boards and screws. Use duct tape to secure the form to the existing concrete slab.
12. Mix quick-setting premixed concrete according to directions. Sprinkle the work area with water so the bricks don’t suck too much moisture out of the fresh concrete, causing it to crack.
13. Dip the anchor bolts into fresh concrete and work them into the holes you drilled earlier. Do this several times to work plenty of fresh concrete into the holes.
14. Pour the concrete into the center of the form and work to the edges with a trowel.
15. Once the mortar fills the form, work a long board back and forth across the fresh concrete to create a smooth, even surface.
16. Using a clean trowel, feather in the new concrete so that it blends in with the existing slab.
17. Let the concrete set up for a couple of days before removing the forms. Mist the area with water each day for a couple of weeks so the concrete sets properly.