Specialist brick repairs in South London
December 18, 2013 12:19 AM   Subscribe

My house, a standard Victorian terrace, has several spalled bricks. I'm looking for a reliable, preferably cheap, brickwork specialist in [South] London.

The damage is especially round the window arches rather than just in the facade itself. These will either need replacement or some magic repairs. The damaged bricks are all on southwest facing bricks, which get the brunt of the weather, and all to old original red rubbers.

I can find people via Google that do this (e.g. 1, 2). I am unclear on how specialist the work is and therefore how to find the right person at the right price.

My questions:

- If you've had this sort of work done are there things to know before contracting someone?
- Does anyone know someone reliable who a) is not hideously expensive b) covers South London?
- Any idea what this sort of work costs for, say, 20 or so bricks, all on one facade?
posted by MuffinMan to Home & Garden (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Any competent general builder should be able to do this for you with ease. I've replaced bricks on the front of my 1920s semi - it's a job even a first-timer can tackle. Replacing a brick requires nothing like the skill that building an actual wall does.

To get a good match on the bricks, you'll need to take one out (drill holes around it with a masonry bit until you can gently tap out enough mortar to work the brick loose) and take it down to your nearest builder's yard or reclamation yard to get the matching bricks you need. Travis Perkins is a good bet. Check for a close match on size, as Victorian bricks tend to be a bit variable.

Replacing the spalled bricks (because replacing them is really the only option) is pretty straightforward. A strong mortar is supposed to be good for reducing spalling, so there's that. Any half-competent builder will be able to replace twenty bricks in a couple of hours, and shouldn't charge you much.
posted by pipeski at 2:08 AM on December 18, 2013

Response by poster: Pipeski - thank, you, firstly.

Does what you say still hold true for the window arches, in terms of ease?
posted by MuffinMan at 2:53 AM on December 18, 2013

I'm not sure I'd tackle an arch myself (yet), but a decent bricklayer will be able to handle it. The arch may have been built with bricks that were cut and rubbed (see here), which is more of a specialist skill.
posted by pipeski at 4:03 AM on December 18, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I think you could probably get some offers on Gumtree, or if you live near a housing association, you could find a labourer through their home repair service at a lower price than ringing through the directory. In some ways, a small job like this won't be palatable to a general builder. For window arches you have to see whether the arch itself is above or below the lintel and pad stones. If it's above, it will be easier to repair.

For bricks, I would seriously avoid using new brick. Northcot Bricks is the name I trust. They are close to London but deliver even small orders.
posted by parmanparman at 6:43 AM on December 18, 2013 [1 favorite]

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