Spalling a Sign Replacement Is Needed

Crumbling or pitting of surfaces on bricks and concrete is called spalling, and chances are it means a repair or replacement project is in your future.

When concrete or brick become too soft and porous, it can absorb water and begin to crack, chip and cause pieces to break off. In most cases spalling occurs in small sections at a time, so it can be an easy repair project. But if spalling is widespread, it likely means replacement or resurfacing -- and that could involve hiring a professional mason.

For a small brick job, a do-it-yourselfer can usually handle the project. First find a brick that will match the color and pointing style of the existing work. This may take a little research, and bricks that have aged significantly could be harder to match.

Next, carefully scrape at the existing mortar around the spalled brick. Use a chisel and a hammer to knock out the damaged brick. If this doesn't work, use a masonry bit to drill several holes in the face of the brick and then chisel out the pieces, cleaning out the smaller debris.

Mix the mortar chosen and wet the area that will be patched. Add the mortar to the area and the brick and slide into place. Tap until the replacement brick is level with the others. Use a trowel to scrap off the excess mortar and create a mortar joint that looks similar to the existing.

Allow the mortar to cure and then examine the handiwork.