June 9, 2010
If you have an old masonry brick wall that needs to be demolished there are certain steps that should be followed to insure a safe and clean demolition. In this post where I am going to give a general overview of how to demolish a brick wall, this isn’t exactly how it must be done but it does give you a pretty good idea of what needs to be done, just use a little common sense as you attempt to complete this project.
You first need to organize your demolition equipment. You are going to need a scaffolding, dumpster or dump truck, large tarps to cover the grounds work area, small hammer drill, partner saw, wheelbarrow, hammer, chisel, gloves, dust mask respirator and eye protection. It is also a good idea to wear long work jeans and a long sleeve work shirt to help protect yourself.
Try to position your dumpster or dump truck as close to the work area as possible, there is no sense in having to handle all the debris twice if you don’t have to. Spread your tarps out below the work area to help reduce the debris field when it comes time to clean up. Start by making a series long vertical cuts about 2 to 3 foot apart with your partner saw from the top of the wall to the bottom as close as you can get down to. If it is an old masonry wall you may be able to skip this step if the mortar joints are weak.
Next you will want to get out your hammer drill. Be sure it is set to vibrate only and use a small wedge tip on the end of it. In this case the small bits generally work better that large ones when taking apart masonry structures. Go to very to course of the wall to begin, never start at the bottom. With you bit attack the bottom of the brick rite where the bottom of the brick meets the mortar, pull the trigger and after a few seconds the brick should pop loose, grab the brick and throw it in the dumpster and continue along one course at a time .
You should avoid trying to take multiple courses at once unless you are skilled in demolition work. Improper demolition can result in a collapse of the entire masonry structure which would not be good especially if you are standing under it, odds are you will suffer serious injury or death. If you notice the wall starting to buckle while you are demolishing it you may need to stop and shore up the wall with bracing until that section of wall is down. As you tear down the wall you should come across wall ties every few feet that may require a claw hammer or a metal cutting blade to remove them.
Finally clean up your work area, there will be alot of debris so hopefully you put your tarps down well so cleanup will be much easier. If you are planning to replace your brick wall with another masonry structure be sure that the footer is totally cleaned off and all mortar is chiseled off as well, it will make installing your new brick wall much simpler.
If you don’t feel that you can tackle this project you should hire a qualified mason contractor or a demolition specialist.