Looking for the perfect brick mortar removal tool? Keep reading. Whether you’re a seasoned contractor or an aspiring DIYer, having the right tools is key to getting a job done well. Too often, people try to make do with whatever’s on the truck or in the garage.
Even if the job gets done, usually what ends up happening is something a bit sloppier than it should be. Toolmakers produce tools with specific purposes in mind. The size or angle of the tool is designed to make your work exact, whether it’s keeping a line or making a surface smooth.
When you’re looking to remove some brick mortar, you have several tool options. Some differences boil down to personal preference, price point, and how much mortar needs to be removed.
Mortar removal is also about efficiency. If you’re only removing mortar from a small section of a brick wall, then you don’t need the high-end electric tools. Likewise, as a contractor, if you try to save money buying the most affordable tools, you’re going to drive yourself crazy because mortar removal will take much longer.
Here’s a good overview of some of the best brick mortar removal tools available today. They’re all generally affordable and will help you get the job done.
Brick Mortar Removal Tool – Mortar Grinder
If you want to get the brick mortar out quickly, then consider an electric grinder. Some tool manufacturers make grinders built specifically for mortar removal. One of the advantages of a grinder is that it can be adjusted to work on different mortar depths and joint sizes. When it’s put on a single setting, it’s easy to get uniform depth along the brick lines.
Some grinders are also able to extract dust from mortar joints while they’re doing the grinding. It prevents particle buildup in the tool and also keeps the view of the mortar joint clear, so you know how much progress you’re making. The high-end grinders include sensors that prevent the tool from overheating that keeps the motor in good condition.
An important thing to remember is that, when using a grinder, you let the tool do the work. Pushing the grinder in too aggressively can break the tool. Just relax, move slowly, and let the tool do the work.
When you use a grinder, you’re going to need a good tuckpointing blade to go with it. The best tuckpointing blades for removing brick mortar are diamond-tipped blades. Most can take out a quarter-inch of mortar each time they pass through a mortar joint.
Blades usually come in seven or four-inch sizes. They are angled at 45 degrees on the edges to improve how they cut through old mortar. The blade you choose is going to have a big impact on how mortar looks after it’s removed. Higher quality blades will give you more even surfaces and get the removal done faster. They also last a lot longer than cheaper blades.
A Hammer and Plugging Chisel
When you need to remove stubborn brick mortar, you’re probably going to need a plugging chisel and a hammer. A plugging chisel is designed for repointing. Sometimes a plugging tool is also called a joint chisel. The pointed chisel is made in a way that it can reach deep into the mortar without damaging the wall veneer. Most are made with a 45-degree angle to facilitate moving around brick corners.
Still, you need to be precise when using a hammer and chisel because the metal is harder than the brick. If you strike recklessly, you’ll end up chipping or breaking the brickwork. When you’re using the chisel, any hammer will do the trick. There are mash hammers that are well-suited to work with chisels, so that’s a good option if you need a new hammer.
If you’re taking on a small mortar removal job, a hammer and plugging chisel may suffice. They’re perfect for taking out mortar from a small area or for work on a small masonry project. Again, for DIYers, just be careful using a hammer and chisel because you may end up damaging the brick. The last thing you want is to have to learn how to replace damaged brick when all you needed was mortar work.
The raker bar is an old school tool that masons and other trade workers have been using for centuries. The raker bar is essentially a crowbar but with a single-pointed end on each side. They’re generally made from steel and are extremely durable. It’s a good tool for when you don’t want to spend money on electric tools or you’re working on brick mortar removal in a small area.
Using the raker bar also limits how much dust and mortar particles spread, so it’s good for if you’re working inside and don’t want to make a big mess with an electric grinder. It’s also a bit of fun to use such an old-school tool.
Wire Brush and Hose/Pressure Washer
Grinding and chiseling out brick mortar creates a lot of dust particles. There will also be some pieces of mortar that you have a hard time reaching with your tools depending on how deep you’re trying to go.
To help with cleaning and particle removal, you’ll need a high-quality wire brush that can reach into the mortar joints and shake things free. Before you apply any new mortar into brickwork, you need to make sure the mortar joints are clean. Any dust lingering in the joints will prevent new mortar from sticking well.
Also, you’re going to need to clean the mortar joints with water to get out dust and dirt. Depending on the scale of your job, you may want to consider buying or renting a pressure washer.
A hose will work on small jobs, but a pressure washer is much better and will get a large wall done much faster. It’s perfect for jobs where a lot of brick mortar needs to be removed and you need to wash the dust away to see how much progress you’ve made.