How to Remove a Single Brick From a Wall

Removing Individual Bricks for Replacement or New Projects

Brick wall in open loft

 Dan Reynolds Photography/Getty Images

Project Overview
  • Working Time: 1 hr, 25 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hr, 30 mins
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Estimated Cost: $40

A brick wall is one of the sturdiest, most durable construction elements there is, which can offer some challenges if you find it necessary to remove a single brick. Unlike removing the entire brick wall—which is usually completed via demolition—taking out an individual brick can be completed without damaging it.

For example, you may need to remove single bricks in order to install a vent cover for a kitchen or a bathroom vent fan. In other cases, a cracked or damaged brick in a fireplace or exterior wall may need to be removed in order to replace it.

Thankfully, removing bricks is a simple job that beginners can complete with a DIY project. This method can also be used to remove a brick wall one piece at a time if you plan to reuse the bricks. Below, learn how to take a single brick out of your wall.

Options for Brick Removal

Drilling Holes and Chiseling

There are a number of ways that bricks can be removed from a wall. One method involves drilling a series of holes in the relatively soft clay of the brick, then chiseling the brick out in pieces. However, this method leaves the harder cementitious mortar in place around the brick, which can be rather difficult to chisel away once the field brick is removed.

Using a Masonry Saw

Another method, most suitable for when you are removing a large area of brick such as when installing a new window or door opening, is to use a specialty masonry saw to carefully cut the outline of the opening through the brick and mortar, then using brute demolition to remove all the brick inside the cutout area. But this makes sense only when the opening includes a large number of bricks.

Removing Bricks Without Damaging Them

If you want to remove bricks to reuse them or avoid damage, you can drill holes in the mortar around the brick rather than drilling into the brick itself. Using a narrow masonry chisel, the mortar can then be chipped away until the brick is free to be extracted.

The project described below will use this method to remove individual bricks, intact. This can be an advantage if you want to reuse the bricks for other purposes. It also has the benefit of removing the mortar, leaving you with a relatively clean opening.

Safety Notes

Removing a brick is not complicated, but it requires patience and time. It is messy and the flying debris can be annoying and possibly dangerous. But as long as you wear safety glasses and a particle mask, it is perfectly safe.

There is no structural danger to removing a single brick. The whole wall or fireplace will not come crashing down, and you will not compromise the structural integrity, provided the wall or fireplace is in good shape. If you have serious cracks or bulging in the wall, call in a professional mason to evaluate the wall and make necessary repairs.

Special Tools

The chisel required for this project is a true masonry chisel, not a wood chisel (made only for shaping wood) or a cold chisel (designed for use on metal). Masonry chisels have hardened steel that will not chip, and some types of a rubber guard to shield your hand. Masonry chisels come in various sizes; a narrow chisel is best for this work.

Likewise, the drill bit you use should be a specialty masonry bit designed for drilling concrete.

The ideal hammer for this work is a ball-peen hammer or mason's hammer, which are designed for striking metal chisels. If you don't own one, an ordinary claw hammer or framing hammer works just fine.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Safety glasses
  • Work gloves
  • Particle mask
  • Narrow masonry chisel
  • Hammer
  • Drill with a 3/8-inch masonry bit
  • Old screwdriver


  • Heavy tarp (if working indoors)


How to Remove a Single Brick From a Wall

  1. Protect Surfaces and Yourself

    The drilling and chiseling involved will raise dust and may throw shards of mortar and brick around, so if you are working indoors, make sure to move any furniture or other objects you want to protect, and cover floors with a heavy tarp. Also make sure to wear work gloves, safety glasses, and a particle mask while drilling and chiseling.

  2. Remove Loose Mortar

    Begin by prying or knocking out any loose mortar from the joint around the brick you are removing. You need to remove any loose pieces that could be thrown when you start to drill out the mortar joints. An old screwdriver works well for this task.

  3. Drill Holes in the Mortar Joints

    Break up the brick's mortar by drilling holes into it before chiseling. Using a 3/8-inch masonry bit, drill a series of closely-spaced holes in the mortar all around the brick. Drilling masonry requires a slow drilling speed and plenty of patience. You may wear out one or two drill bits during this process.

    Make sure you are drilling full through the full thickness of the mortar joint. You will feel the drill bit break through when you have fully penetrated the mortar.


    A hammer drill will make the drilling much easier and save wear on the masonry bits. Most newer drills have a hammer setting.

  4. Break Mortar Joints

    Once you have drilled a series of parallel holes in the mortar all around the brick, remove the mortar by using a masonry chisel and hammer to strike along the mortar, cracking the joints. You likely will feel the brick loosen once the mortar joints have all been cracked.

  5. Extract the Brick

    Once the brick is loosened, carefully extract it from the opening. Begin by prying from both sides with a screwdriver and masonry chisel, then wiggle it by hand once it is extracted far enough to grip it by the sides.

  6. Remove Remaining Mortar

    With the brick removed, use a hammer and an old screwdriver or masonry chisel, to chip and scrape out the remaining remnants of mortar along the inside face of the opening. Work carefully to avoid cracking the surrounding brick.

  • How long does it take to remove a brick wall?

    Depending on the size of the brick wall, it can take a week or two to completely remove it. Removing individual bricks without damaging them is more time-consuming; typically, it's easier to demolish the wall when the entire structure needs to be taken down.

  • How do you break a brick without a saw?

    Breaking brick without a saw can be done with a masonry chisel, a drill, and a hammer. Simply drill a few holes into the brick, then hammer the chisel into the holes to break it into pieces.

  • Can you remove brick and replace with siding?

    Brick can be removed to install siding instead on your home's exterior. In some cases, siding can be installed on top of the brick depending on its current condition. Consult your siding professional to determine the best process for your home.