As part of our basement updates, I knew I would be painting the fireplace bricks. But before we could begin, there were some problem areas that had to be addressed. I came up with a quick DIY hack to fix broken bricks – and I’m going to share my method with you :)
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We had a few different cosmetic issues with our brick fireplace, including cracks through bricks, some holes/missing mortar in between some of them, and most importantly – one big chunk missing from a brick right in the middle of the hearth.
I figured that if you only had cracks or missing mortar, you would be able to fill it with regular caulking, or even concrete caulking if you wanted to try and match the look. But when you have a missing piece, you need to build it out.
To do it properly, I thought that I would have to build a form, then pour some concrete and wait for it to dry. We do have experience working with concrete both outside and inside our house – but I really did NOT want to have to go through all that trouble for one teeny little brick.
Enter this DIY hack!
- Piece of floral foam (I tested a soft foam and a harder floral foam)
- Adhesive for foam + bricks (I used No More Nails)
- Optional: Sanding Blocks
- Optional: Primer
They both stuck equally as well, so then I cut some random shapes and tested out my grout theory. Using sanded grout would help match the texture of the brick, and I knew it was a material that was easy to work with (that you can purchase in small amounts!).
Both pieces of foam worked just as well (the grout stuck to them) but I didn’t really like working with the softer floral foam, because it left a residue everywhere. There was also a superrrrr soft one at the store (I think it’s floral foam you can wet) but it was way too mushy.
Anyways, once I had my test pieces figured out – it was time to fix the brick on the fireplace. I cut a piece of hard floral foam to shape, fit it in as best as I could (I was actually able to shove it in place), then continued to refine the shape. And yes, the mister was very interested in what I was doing :)
Once I had the shape, I added the adhesive then held it in place with a bunch of nearby dusty books (that the Husband needs to organize).
When the glue was set, I mixed up some grout and applied it over the foam. I also used the same grout to cover the crack and a few other gaps too. Now, it’s important to note that I would be painting our bricks – if you want to leave your bricks natural, you can certainly buy a grout that is coloured as close as possible to the bricks you have.
What you may not know, is that you can actually sand grout once it’s dried. I gave everything a quick sanding with a regular sanding block to make sure there were no bumpy areas, and then I vacuumed all the excess dust.
I gave all the grouted areas a coat of prime because I would be painting it and didn’t want any difference in colour (I had never painted grout before so I figured it was better to be safe than sorry!). Again, if you want your bricks to stay all “bricky”, choose a grout that matches the colour. (For example, here is a red quarry grout).
And here’s a little sneak peek of the area once it had all been painted. I asked the Husband if he remembered which brick was broken, and he pointed to the wrong one :) You can always add more bumps/ridges with your grout if you wanted, and the only way you can tell that it’s the fake one is if you tap it (it makes a different noise).
Do you have to fix broken bricks at your house? I’m not sure how we ended up with a big chunk missing, but now that I’ve repaired it, it’s safer and better looking!
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