Repurposing Bricks


Hi! I know this is odd, but is there a way to turn bricks back into clay? Please respond ASAP, I’m in a hurry. Thanks!

Feb 11, 19 11:48 am

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Non Sequitur
  1. Why are you in a hurry?
  2. What type of bricks?

Certainly you could chip away mortar and other foreign materials then crush the remaining bricks into powder... then mix water and make a putty like substance... but what's the point?

Feb 11, 19 11:58 am
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I get the question often enough on reclaiming brick from one part of the job to be installed to patch another existing wall. First question is always "How old are the bricks?"/ Old brick from 50+ years ago used on exteriors was often very strong while mortars were weak. It was easy to salvage those. Old bricks from same time period but used on interiors were very soft and hard to separate from mortar. New bricks are often impossible to salvage. Type M and S mortars are harder than brick. Type O mortars can be taken off, but they are typically only used in interiors. That said I didn't even try to answer OP's dum question. But maybe my response will be informative to some.

Non Sequitur

I've done a fair amount of salvaging and repointing masonry. It's often easier, and cheaper, to buy new.  

Witty Banter

Rusty that's a great response. Thanks for teaching me something today.


non seq, don't all your Canadian bricks melt come spring time? Can you make a new brick with that liquid goop? Please respond ASAP. In a hurry. Thanks!

Non Sequitur

ha.... seriously, coffee spit take.  We're expecting 40cm of snow tonight.


Are you in a hurry to get clay?  Or in a hurry to finish some homework assignment for which this question figures? 

Commercially some bricks are crushed finely enough that they're used in the making of new bricks.  Recycled content of some new bricks is as high as 90%, though usually it's much lower - in the 10% to 15% range - and the recycled content isn't necessarily all from old bricks - sometimes it's concrete, stone dust, etc.  Most old bricks that are recycled are not ground down that finely - they're just chipped and used for landscape fill. 

If you're talking about you personally grinding up bricks to make clay: it could be done, if you have some kind of grindstone and a way to collect (and not breathe) your brick dust - though you'd probably have to mix it with at least some % other clay to get it to bind and act like a brick again when fired... But since time seems to be of the essence you'd be better off visiting the art store for some clay!

Feb 11, 19 12:30 pm

Maybe, but I doubt it.  The process would have undo the myriad chemical changes caused by when the clay was fired to make the brick.  

As above poster mentions, old bricks may be ground into an additive to be mixed with new clay to make a new brick but the old material is not turned back into clay.

In places where labor costs permit, bricks are salvaged and reused by chipping off the old mortar.

Feb 11, 19 12:31 pm

Have you tried taking the brick for a ride in a Delorean?

Feb 11, 19 1:03 pm

Have you tried asking the brick what it wants to be?

Feb 11, 19 1:04 pm

i did. it said "belligerent."


I've heard they can be shat.

Feb 12, 19 3:08 am

Hmmm.... Take a couple of bourbon shots, 4 porter beers, and a greasy burger in rapid succession. Always becomes mud then. Problem solved.


Correspondence device?  Spontaneous ventilator?

Feb 12, 19 2:36 pm

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