“Can Bricks Be Recycled?” The Why & How of Brick Recycling

One of the challenges of building new structures that fit into existing historic districts is matching the aesthetic. The natural aging and weathering of certain structures is hard to replicate with newer materials. Many have turned to a technique that both helps structures achieve a historic look as well as benefits the environment. In this piece, let’s take a look at recycling bricks.

The Benefits of Using Recycled Bricks

Reusing bricks keeps them out of landfills.

One of the most obvious benefits of recycling bricks is that it keeps them from being just thrown away. During the demolition process of older buildings and houses, a bulk of construction material removed are bricks. Still, unlike poured concrete slabs, steps, and wood elements, bricks are only limited by how they are positioned. Though it may be difficult to recycle some wood or concrete steps, the options are pretty limitless for bricks.  

Recycling bricks cuts down on having to make new bricks.

The brick manufacturing process uses a lot of energy, materials, and even some harmful materials. When bricks are recycled, this cuts down on the need for unnecessary waste in this manufacturing process.  

Recycled bricks provide a unique aesthetic.

Try as hard as we like to recreate the look of a historic home, building, wall, or walkway, it will always lack the character of a genuinely historic building. Using recycled brick provides instant charm to any structure and allows the material to tell a new story.

How Bricks Are Recycled

In order to preserve bricks for recycling, it’s best to make arrangements before the demolition of any brick structure. While knocking down a brick wall with heavy or blunt machine is fairly straightforward, the process of recycling bricks is a bit more sensitive. If the bricks are to be kept intact, they are carefully removed one-by-one and the mortar is removed in a variety of ways. If the brick material itself is to be used in a crushed state, the demolition process can be less precise.

Uses for Recycled Bricks

Home Construction

Usually, only the highest quality recycled bricks can be used in load-bearing home construction. In order to achieve a historic look, recycled brick can be used purely to accent the exterior or interior of a home. These uses may include building indoor fireplaces, mantles, to exterior walls and chimneys.

Landscaping

To bring the rustic look to the one’s yard, recycled bricks are very popular in landscape design. From firepits to garden pavers, reused brick that lacks a load-bearing responsibility in the yard is quite appealing.

Making New Bricks

The materials that comprise a brick are mined in usually fairly wasteful and hazardous processes. In order to reduce the necessity of mining, many recycled bricks are crushed and used to make new bricks.


For help with your next demolition or hazardous material removal, the demolition professionals at DT Specialized Services can help.