Return to the Return to the +5 Pile o’ Bricks

Brooke here.  Sorry for the silence; we’ve had a family loss to attend to.   But we’ve still been working, so let’s get away from the ivy:

Remember the big pile o’ bricks left over from removing the pool patio?  No?  Okay, let’s do a quick recap.

Our heroes fools bought a house with a pool.  The pool patio was a layer of brick pavers over concrete, and the brick was in terrible shape.  Before the concrete pool patio could be repaired, the brick needed to be removed so the hardscape dudes could see what needed to be done with the concrete.  Once the fools tore up several tons of brick, the concrete seemed like it was solid but was actually in terrible shape and could not be repaired in any lasting way.

We tried.  We did try… We pressure-washed and patched the concrete, then splashed some concrete paint around to spruce it up a little, but darned if our hardscape guy wasn’t dead-on when he said these repairs would fall apart over the winter.  So we’ve decided to do things the right way and hire people who know what they are doing so we can break this cycle early.  I’ve had seven or eight different pool companies come out to give us estimates, and I just happened to stumble across the company that installed the pool back in the 1960s.  The manager came out, inspected the pool, and got extremely excited.  “This is one of the old Meredith pools with the metal running through the concrete!  Look, here’s where the main trunk of the rebar starts…” he said, digging under the ivy until he found the end of a metal support… “… and it goes through here…” he said as he walked the length of the patio, tracing an invisible structure buried under the concrete, and dug around in the ivy on the other side of the pool to expose more metal…   “…and it ends here!”

Shit, I thought.  This is going to cost us some serious money because this is the only guy who knows what he’s doing.

So we’ve gotten quotes, and changed some plans, and gotten some revised quotes, and changed some other plans, and gotten a quote we can live with, and we might have a pool in new condition by Memorial Day.  But before we can get there, we have to do something with the rest of the brick.

The last remaining bricks. Probably not more than a couple tons or so. A cakewalk, really.

The brick is on the concrete, so to get rid of the concrete we have to get rid of the brick.  Problem No. 1:  These are lovely antique brick pavers, many of which are in great shape.  Problem No. 2:  Hardscape waste disposal is expensive.  Problem No. 3: Bricks are heavy.  So our options are to pay the pool guys to haul off the brick and the concrete at the same time (which is a waste of good brick and would jack up the estimate), to dump the brick somewhere on an unused corner of our property (there are a lot of bricks, and we do not forget! Problem No. 3), or to reclaim as much of the brick as possible and dispose of the unusable stuff by dumping or hauling.

The last option is the best one, especially as we can reuse the brick in the other landscaping projects.  But it is the most time-consuming of the lot, and it has been at the top of the Neverending List of Things to Do since last fall.

Brick, brick, more brick, and a heavy-duty air compressor with a chisel tip.

To reclaim the brick, the mortar needed to be chipped off of each individual piece.  Brown fired up his compressor and started cutting, and our friends Steve and Elizabeth came over to help lug and cut.  By the end of the afternoon, we had carved a dent in the pile and had made a neat and tidy stack of reclaimed pavers.

It's depressing how few bricks are actually in this stack. These would probably cover half of a very small walkway.

There are another few weekends’ worth of cutting and lugging in the pile to salvage the rest of the usable bricks.  These will be used in garden stairs and in a small patio under the fountain, and perhaps as a pillow for when our aching lower backs cause us to cry hard, cold tears.

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5 thoughts on “Return to the Return to the +5 Pile o’ Bricks

  1. Amanda B.

    Would you consider posting about the brick on the Greensboro Freecycle group http://groups.freecycle.org/GreensboroFreecycle/description? If you haven’t heard of it before, Freecycle groups are basically a free Craigslist service- yo post what you want to get rid of and then based on the messages you receive decide who gets it. You could leave the long reclaiming process up to someone else and even keep a portion of the brick for your own use later. No payment to the hardscape guys and the brick disappears!

    You could make a post about free brick on Craigslist too.

  2. Kari

    You got a lot of ivy to kill and a lot of bricks that might be nice to have when it’s dead… can you use them to hold down tarps to smother ivy?

  3. Blake

    This brings me back to the summer of 2001: when the drum corps I was with had a free afternoon/day, most of us would get hauled out to the executive director’s house and help him chisel mortar off of bricks using hammer and chisel (or just hammer, there weren’t enough chisels). Find like 7-10 teenagers and tell them to do it. 🙂

    1. Kimichi Tsuzuku

      I’d qualify that further because I’ve dealt with uncooperative teenage workforces before. Find a Boy Scout troop or church group looking for ‘community service’ or a 4H club to help with ivy eradication.

  4. Pingback: Pool Progress Shots «

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