Going Green Chicago Style: Can Masonry Be Recycled?

Can masonry be recycled? With the rise of crafting sites like Pinterest, many people are re-purposing old materials, giving them new life. But recycling brick can be tricky. Below are a few tips and tricks for working with recycled masonry.

1. Use old brick to match historical facades.

Just as in mortar for tuckpointing, brick restoration projects often involve matching the color of the brick to create a uniform finished product. Many masonry contractors can locate matching bricks for you, but if you're interested in a DIY project, you can locate matching brick by searching for demolition projects in your area. You can often purchase older brick at a fraction of the cost of new brick.

Tip: Only buy recycled brick that has been inspected by a professional for integrity. Do not buy bricks that are cracked, or peeling excessively.

2. Make good use of bad brick.

There's no need to throw out all those old bricks if they aren't up to quality expectations. Brick can be crushed and used for as a landscape material. It makes a great addition to xeriscaping projects and keeps weeds from growing in your flowerbeds. It can also be ground into powder to make new bricks.

Tip: Contact local masons or brick manufacturers to buy brick chips. You can also find wholesale prices if you're buying in large quantities.

3. Use old brick for landscaping projects.

Walkways, patios, driveways, flowerbeds, fire pits  and many other outdoor projects can be created using recycled brick. Often, old bricks are used to build outdoor brick ovens. The uses for brick in outdoor projecst are seemingly endless!

Tip: Brick is sturdy, and is rated by its frost resistant properties and soluble salt content. High frost resistance is important if you live in cold areas like Chicago where inclement winter weather is common.

With these tips and tricks for re-purposing old brick, you'll never have to wonder, "Can masonry be recycled?" again!