How to Remove Bricks for a Fireplace Renovation

Billy McCarley

Brick fireplaces are common around the world. They provide a beautiful way to enjoy a fire in the home while venting the smoke outdoors. Brick fireplaces can span the ages, and if cared for correctly, they require little or no maintenance.

However, because ideas and tastes change with the times, it is sometimes necessary to remove or replace the bricks in a fireplace. Removing the bricks is not difficult. Depending on the size of the project, it can be done in as little as two days.

  1. Remove all wood trim from around the fireplace. Using a small flat bar, gently pry the trim loose and remove. Save the trim for re attachment.

  2. Remove the fireplace mantle from the brick. The mantle will be attached underneath with concrete screws. Remove the screws while a helper holds the mantle in place. The mantle, usually wooden, should come away easily.

  3. Gently tap the top course of brick, one brick at a time, with a hammer. The brick should come loose easily. Try not to break the brick with the hammer--be patient. If a brick does break, use a brick chisel to remove the broken pieces.

  4. Remove the iron lentil that spans the fireplace opening. The lentil will be about 4 or 5 courses down from the top of the fireplace. It may be imbedded in the mud that is stuck to the top of the brick. If it is, gently tap the mortar with the chisel.

  5. Clean all brick using a brick chisel. The mortar will remain stuck to the loose brick and will need to be cleaned off using the brick chisel. After you have cleaned the brick well, stack the bricks in a dry place to reuse later.

  6. Warning

    Always wear goggles when using the hammer and chisel.