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Slightly OT - Do I save the brick from old chimney for projects?

Posted by bloominwhereplanted Long Island, NY (My Page) on
Fri, May 18, 07 at 16:40

I've been lurking over here for awhile (drooling over your gardens!) but we're still in the building/remodeling phase of our project, so I spend most of my time on the "other side" (THS). But you guys seemed like the perfect ones to ask this question of...

The old brick chimney on the house has to come down, and I told DH I want him to save the brick! Is that crazy? He thinks so... can't imagine wanting to store it, clean it, find a use for it, etc. I don't know how I'd get the old mortar off, either! But couldn't I use it for something? Paths? Garden edging? Outdoor fireplace (okay, maybe a little adventurous!)? Help me with ideas so DH won't throw the bricks in the dumpster tomorrow! TIA!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Slightly OT - Do I save the brick from old chimney for projec

or.....you can send them to me :-)

I love old brick and there are so many uses as you said above. You could also make a beautiful walkway.
Edna


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RE: Slightly OT - Do I save the brick from old chimney for projec

All of those ideas sound like a good use for old bricks to me. It will take some time to remove the old mortar but you can do it.
Check out the Junk forum they will have more ideas for you.


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RE: Slightly OT - Do I save the brick from old chimney for projec

Good lord, old brick, up here it costs a fortune to buy. If it was me I'd be ferreting them away somewhere for future use. Yes they can be a pain in the butt to clean, that's why they are so expensive, think of all the things you could use them for. I have a small patio in front of the greenhouse made up of old chimney bricks and old cement bricks of different sizes set in gravel. Old brick and cottage gardens go together like surf and turf, I was going to say peanut butter and jelly, thought better of it, just in case DH is allergic to peanuts.

A......


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RE: Slightly OT - Do I save the brick from old chimney for projec

YES!! Save them for all the reasons you just mentioned. Weathered, old brick is charming.

Other uses: 1)use the bricks for a small fire pit, 2)stacked and mortared together as a plant stand, 3)if you have a rural mailbox you could create a brick surround for it 4) if you have additional brick on your house, it could be used to replace individual cracked or chipped bricks AND it would be an exact match.

Hope these additional reasons to save them help your cause.

Marilyn


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RE: Slightly OT - Do I save the brick from old chimney for projec

I have stacks of them ! I am making a 10 1/2 ft x 15 ft patio and a long walkway out of used bricks that I bought and then I have about 400 that were a chimney that we had to take out and I had them save the brick. You don't have to clean them...the old mortar falls off. I was amazed they are all perfectly clean and I have never cleaned one of them. They have been piled here for 4 yrs. Also be sure they are "exterior" grade hard bricks as the soft ones will crumble and can't be used to walk on. You can use them around beds and then replace as they crumble. Here is a pic of the stack...

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

here is the patio I am doing from old salvaged brick I bought:

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

here is the walkway of old brick the bricklayer laid on an existing walk :

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket


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RE: Slightly OT - Do I save the brick from old chimney for projec

bloominwhereplanted,

I was just thinking what aftermidnight wrote - in California, too, used brick is more expensive. Here in Atlanta, of course, bricks are more commonplace. Still, I love old brick and you could use it for edging or making a rustic-looking path. It has a lot of character.

I googled "salvaged brick" and found a website that says that if the brick is from the 1930's or earlier it is easier to remove the mortar and therefore more valuable. (below is the link). Do you know the age of your brick?

Let us know what you do!

bloominganne

Here is a link that might be useful: Salvaged Brick


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RE: Slightly OT - Do I save the brick from old chimney for projec

Now, THAT is a wonderful idea. Much better than a bathtub in your front yard! Lol! A lot of people save their old brick for garden projects; it is a great way to recycle and also to add charm to a garden area.


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RE: Slightly OT - Do I save the brick from old chimney for projec

OH YES!!!!!!! I have all my gardens edged with used brick from chimneys. Poeple in my town call or deliver it to me. If it has some morter still on it I call it character and if it's big chunks I just put dirt side down....


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RE: Slightly OT - Do I save the brick from old chimney for projec

  • Posted by memo NE-Zone 4B (My Page) on
    Fri, May 18, 07 at 21:36

I have done my sidewalks in old brick, much of which I litterally dug up out of the ground where it was dumped many years ago. Also all my beds are lined in bricks. Mine are all at least a century old. I recently found a site where another pile is and will begin digging it up too. Now my neighbors are calling me whenever they come across a pile out on an old farmstead. Today I went and loaded my SUV with old brick that has mortar on it and I'm going back for at least two more loads tomorrow. I plan to build a patio with it. Actually I rather enjoy cleaning the mortar off of them. I just pull up a lawn chair out in the driveway and sit and work to the sounds of the farm. VERY relaxing work IMHO. I hope you can convince your DH to let you keep it. It's perfect for a cottage garden in whatever manor you decide to use it.

MeMo


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RE: Slightly OT - Do I save the brick from old chimney for projec

YES - Save it! I salvaged brick from a fireplace in a house that was to be torn down a few years ago. My walkway is amazing - and I lined all of my borders with it. Even if you don't use it yourself, people will pay a lot of money for that old brick. I can't tell you how many times people have knocked on my door with an eye on the remaining brickpile.


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RE: Slightly OT - Do I save the brick from old chimney for projec

Lauriewood,

Your aged brick walkway is gorgeous! What a difference old brick makes as compared to new brick.

I really like the way you have edged the lawn. I wanted to suggest that on my earlier post but I wasn't sure if I could describe it. That's the way to edge a lawn if you have enough bricks. The lawn mower can get the edges of the lawn. Anyway, you garden is charming. I'm so glad you shared your picture.

bloominganne


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RE: Slightly OT - Do I save the brick from old chimney for projec

Oh My Goodness! I go out for a couple of hours and Wow! What sweet, kind, encouraging people you are here. Such a plethera of ideas... and such talent!

I don't know if the brick is "exterior grade," and I don't know if you would still be so enthusiastic if you knew it's coming from a 50's ranch! Here's a picture:

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Don't worry... most of the house is coming down as we are adding on, enclosing that carport, new everything... But the fireplace was old and not functional, and wasn't in a workable space for us anyway, so we're putting a new fireplace elsewhere. Here's the old one:

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Obviously, there's brick beneath the wall above the fireplace as well. I think you all have convinced me that it's worth saving... and I hope the mortar comes off as easily as you hoped! Love love love your photos of ideas of what you did with brick... keep them coming!

bloomin...


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RE: Slightly OT - Do I save the brick from old chimney for projec

By all means, it's worth salvaging. Whether you will want to use it for yourself is a matter of personal taste. If it doesn't fit into your scheme, sell it to buy what you want. Personally, I love the look of brick hardscaping. Just look at what trailrunner is creating. Brick is such a classic medium and so versitile.

Laurie - your use of that old brick is inspirational. It looks as though it's been there a century. I particularly love the staggered brick edging. You have the wheels in my head turning.

Steven


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RE: Slightly OT - Do I save the brick from old chimney for projec

Thanks sooo much for the compliments Steven and Bloominganne! Tonight was the first time I have ever posted a picture - its amazing I was able to figure it out.

Now, bloominwhereplanted - I don't know if you will be using them in the shade or sun. My bricks mossed up pretty quickly. I think with a little moss and dirt your bricks would be great. I would just wait and see about the mortar - it looks like it might be harder to remove than mine was.

As for ideas, you can also make gorgeous water features with brick (these posts are probably going to send your husband over the edge!)

In the right setting, you could paint the brick a sassy color - maybe glossy black. I went on the Charleston garden tour a few weeks ago and everyone had their garden walls, arbors and privacy fences black. It was a very elegant look. I could see a big beautiful round water feature painted black and planted w/ a self-sticking green climber like creeping fig. Gorgeous!

Let us know what you do!

Laurie


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RE: Slightly OT - Do I save the brick from old chimney for projec

Oooh, Laurie - I have lots of moss on the property already, since it's a heavily-treed area - so I don't think it would be a problem to encourage the moss to take up residence on a brick walk! I remember reading here something about using a buttermilk paint to speed up the process, too... Anyway, I would be thrilled if my brick projects came out half as lovely as yours! You do have to share how you do that staggered brick edging - very nice!

msmarion - By "junk forum" do you mean the Trash to Treasure folks? I don't know of any other junk forum... and I guess I could post there, but you all have given me plenty of inspiration!

trailrunner - I've seen you over at kitchens, too... and everything you create is so beautiful! And aren't you the one with a doghouse for hubby?! Love that -- except I want one for me, not him! With three little ones I could always use a place to escape! Anyway, your paths are gorgeous, and keep the pictures coming of your progress on the patio!

aftermidnight - No problem with peanut allergies :-) , but the reference to surf & turf is more appropriate because we're near the water! Any chance you have pics of your small brick patio? You said you used chimney brick -- do you just chisel the mortar off??

Marilyn & Edna - yes, you have definitely helped my cause! DH was going out the door this morning to finish demo on the "new" house, and I sweetly asked him where he would put the brick from the chimney. He answered, "the dumpster!" He weakened when he saw my crestfallen face, and because I was armed with a truckload of ideas of what I could do with the brick, he agreed to save it for me!! Yay!

bloominganne - I didn't know there was another "bloomin" on here! Yes, reminding DH of the money I'm "saving" by not having to buy brick - definitely helps!

echoes_or and memo - I'd love to see pics of your garden edging and sidewalks! and Memo - like I asked earlier - do you chip the mortar off with a chisel? That's what DH can't imagine me doing - but I'm with you, I think it could be one of those therapeutic projects! He was also surprised to see me hacking my way through the "back woods" to make a path from our yard to the park on the other side! Thornbushes and poison ivy has no chance against me!!

Thanks again, everyone, for all your help!

bloomin...


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RE: Slightly OT - Do I save the brick from old chimney for projec

Lauriewood, I too have fallen in love with your brick path, it looks like it has been there forever. I'm kicking myself now, a few years back, my then neighbors tore down an old chimney, I could have made a deal for them. Dumb, Dumb,Dumb.

A......


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RE: Slightly OT - Do I save the brick from old chimney for projec

I harassed a brick mason working with some historic brick downtown one day before I began. One thing he told me was that he found it harder to work with old brick because it doesn't look as good if you are "precise". He said he had to conciously be a little sloppy to make it look appropriate. So, when I outlined my exterior fence beds, I did not use straight lines, but rather a more organic looose line. It really does look good and I never would have thought of that without his help.
The edging is simple. 1 brick sideways butted up to a flat brick. We just used Quickcrete for the edging - and the path is laid in sand with no mortar. I stole the path brick pattern from a plantation where I used to cater.

Here is a better picture of the edging:


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RE: Slightly OT - Do I save the brick from old chimney for projec

Sorry no picture of my postage stamp patio, LOL at the present moment it is a holding area for everything, junk, I have piled there so we could take pictures of other parts of the garden. It's nothing special, not in the least like any of the gorgeous layouts I've seen here. You're not missing a thing, trust me. One day we'll back the truck up, load it and go to the dump. Then maybe if it's still surviving under the mess I will post a pic, I mean DH will for me, I'm just using his laptop, can only do so much on it. This way when I screw up, which I do on occasion, I'm not messing up his computer.

A......


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RE: Slightly OT - Do I save the brick from old chimney for projec

laurie: THANK YOU...that is what I wanted to hear...imprecise is my forte'..LOL. I like that edging L shape. Did you use an edger set on trench or what to dig out the earth? Sorry for all the questions..that is what you get for posting here and being so creative ! Also I love the gate. Where did you get the grill inset? I promise that is the last question...for today anyway.

bloomin': yes it is my DH who has the doghouse. I never go in there. It is his haven. I am allowed to sit on the porch and have a beer though and gaze at all my unfinished projects ! He is a treat.

Caroline


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RE: Slightly OT - Do I save the brick from old chimney for projec

Okay Trailrunner -
I am going to answer in this post instead of the other to keep it all cohesive.

For pathway:
About 2 months before I found the brick, we installed the same path with gravel (which we hated and replaced with the brick). The gravel was the leveler. We dug out half of the gravel, and put a layer of sand on top. We then placed the bricks in pattern. The cracks were filled in with sand, swept in with a broom, and hosed down. The process was repeated until cracks were full.

Edging:

We dug a trench for the edging. We kept having to tweak to make less precise, as I discussed in previous post. A 4-5" layer of Quickcrete was placed in bottom of trench. We then laid the brick, and filled gaps with Quickcrete. No leveling or anything. Very slapdash.

Grills on gates:

This was a challenge. I knew what I wanted. Couldn't find it locally - and wasn't sure correct search terms for looking on EBAY. Then, I stumbled on the magic words: Architectural Trivet. I got both for like $20 each on EABY. Here is my front gate:


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RE: Slightly OT - Do I save the brick from old chimney for projec

Thank you for your great explanation. I really do appreciate it.Your garden is really lovely. Caroline


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RE: Slightly OT - Do I save the brick from old chimney for projec

Lauriwood - let me understand...you had these Architectural Trivets fitted into custom gates? How were they secured to the wood? I have to say that your gates are the prettiest I've seen in a long while. I have one of these 'trivets' just looking for a purpose!

Steven


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RE: Slightly OT - Do I save the brick from old chimney for projec

Lauriwood - Like Steven, I LOVE your gates and the Architectural Trivet is genius. Pray tell how you attached them? Vikki


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RE: Slightly OT - Do I save the brick from old chimney for projec

Stven & Vikki-

My husband built the gates, then we cut out the space for trivet, popped them in, and hammered teeny finishing nails around (if you look very closely up close in person you can see them - but you really have to look).

I really can't take any credit for the gates - this style is common around the Lowcountry - but usually in those brick-walled amazing gardens in Charleston. I saw my inspiration pictures in the Southern Living Landscape book. Then, I went on the Charleston garden tour, and I realized that hardscaping is everything. I thought to myself "Just because I am poor white trash doesn't mean I can't have some pretty gates too!" I suggest you search the internet on Charleston SC gardens and plantation gardens and maybe look in the library for books. There are some stunning inspirational gardens there with gorgeous hardscaping.

My husband is amazing. I bought him a book on fences - he really had no building experience. But off he went!

I spray the trivets with a protective shellac seasonally (in fact I am overdue to do so).

We are not a wealthy people - but we can be crafty. We both have film experience and we know how to "stage"! My garden barely three years old.

Steven or Vikki, if you get serious about building something like this - feel free to email me. Maybe you and he could talk on the phone and he could guide you better than I. I am the gardener/designer/dictator. He is the buildmaster.

Laurie


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RE: Slightly OT - Do I save the brick from old chimney for projec

If I were you Laurie, I'd have an alarm system installed on those gates. someone might make off with them in the middle of the night. They are absolutely charming. That DH of yours sounds like a real catch too, :o)

A......


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RE: Slightly OT - Do I save the brick from old chimney for projec

  • Posted by memo NE-Zone 4B (My Page) on
    Sun, May 20, 07 at 11:33

Bloomin', I use a flat screwdriver and a hammer to chip the bricks with. It's easier for me to handle than a chisel, I have small hands.

Lauriewood, Your gates and fencing are very very nice! I know your DH must be so proud of his accomplishments. Especially if he had never done anything like this before. I also really like your brick edging and sidewalks. I just layed my bricks on top of the ground flat and they have settled themselves in. The tiered look is very attractive, but of course takes 2x the bricks which I don't have. I'll keep your design in mind though if at some point I find myself with an excess of bricks. Thanks for sharing your pictures.

MeMo


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Hey Caroline!

I just looked at your photobucket account. I love your house!!! It is gorgeous. And I am now sooo hubgry after looking at that food.

Why don't you live here?

Laurie


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RE: Slightly OT - Do I save the brick from old chimney for projec

Oh Laurie you are so sweet. I was telling my husband about all the new friends I keep making and this sweet man said " you know you all ought to visit each other's gardens"...well that is what we all keep saying. I am really thinking hard about how to accomplish that. Thank you for your generoous compliments. Caroline


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RE: Slightly OT - Do I save the brick from old chimney for projec

Oops - I meant "hungry" ... not hubgry -

Laurie


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RE: Slightly OT - Do I save the brick from old chimney for projec

My DH says another way to clean old brick is to soak the bricks for a few hours and then rub two of them together to remove the mortar, he watched the neighbors doing this with the bricks they had when they pulled their chimney down. You know the ones I was too dumb to wheel and deal for.

A......


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RE: Slightly OT - Do I save the brick from old chimney for projec

Hi All/bloominwhereplanted,

I just knocked down a chimney from my 1948 "cottage." It wasn't the easiest job to take it down, but once down the bricks could be cleaned pretty easily with a good whack with the chisel right at the brick/mortar seam.

We're saving the brick and plan to use it for a BBQ "station" with room for the grill, chairs, etc.

Wish I had more...I'd do a garden path. Alas.

So..yes...save and use it!


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RE: Slightly OT - Do I save the brick from old chimney for projec

Thanks again, everyone -- especially for your ideas on how to clean the bricks! Here's what was left of the house during the last stages of demolition this weekend:

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

... and then the chimney came down! Now I have a nice pile of bricks to show for it... you should have seen me digging through the debris to salvage the good ones... everyone else thought I was nuts, so they only "helped" while I was looking! I had to leave with the kiddos for a few hours, and when I came back, a bunch had been thrown in the junk pile. Good thing the dumpster was full, so I could still pick them out of the junk heap before they get put into a new dumpster! There's still a lot of sections of brick left that didn't break apart -- too bad they're too heavy for me to manage (10 or 12 or more bricks still mortared together).

Anyway, just wanted to keep you posted.

On a side note, I noticed this flowering shrub at the demolition site (our new property) -- can you tell me what it is? So pretty! I get so excited when I see hope of new life at our to-be home!

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

bloomin...


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RE: Slightly OT - Do I save the brick from old chimney for projec

I love the look of used brick and it works quite well in keeping the grass from creeping into the beds. Here is my potager last summer. You can see the edging around the garden shed as well.


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RE: Slightly OT - Do I save the brick from old chimney for projec

I think that is a chinese snowball - a viburnum.

Laurie


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