Is it possible to match old brick?

saranyMay 10, 2009

This forum has been really helpful so far. I hope someone out there can get us out of our latest problem. Renovating my 96 year old colonial is taking a lot longer than I thought, but I really want to do it the right way--which brings me to my problem:

We put an addition all along one side of our home. The contractor is telling us there is no way to find even a close match to the brick for the addition. He brought us sample bricks which are not even close. Any ideas? We live in the NY area, so if anyone knows a mason who specializes in this in my area I would really appreciate it.

Here is a link that might be useful: House pic

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Our contractor brought a bunch of brick samples; one set was sort of ok, but on the whole was too light. He then picked through the bricks one by one to select the darker colors. He also removed a few of the existing bricks and mixed them in with the new bricks. If you stand in a certain location and squint your eyes, you can see a difference between the old and new bricks, but otherwise it's a pretty good match.

Alternatively, celebrate the difference between old and new, and put clapboard siding on the addition. See the June 2009 Architectural Digest cover for an example.

Here is a link that might be useful: Architectural Digest June 2009 cover

    Bookmark   May 10, 2009 at 2:01PM
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There are 83 brick manufacturers in the US. There's a chance you will come close with modern "antiques." As well, there are companies that recycle old bricks. Check with local suppliers for leads. Members of the Brick Industry Association might be a good start.

Unless you can find a home with the same bricks as yours being demolished, it will be extremely unlikely to find an exact match.

I've built homes in the past few years with bricks that were discontinued a couple years later. Actually, I'm stuck with some cracked bricks needing replacement on my own home finished in '06. Similar problem. I always keep any extras, but this time we used every one, literally scrounging through debris to find the last whole brick the mason needed for a fireplace.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2009 at 2:25PM
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In my area, Cushwa brick co will match any odd size that's needed. But it costs more, because they will be hand made custom brick.
In your case, you'd want to get the same clay composition, or the color would be off, which is why you'd need to find them locally. Same clay= best chance of color match.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2009 at 3:45PM
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Sara, I think you are from around Albany? Have you tried calling Historic Albany? You might be able to get salvaged brick- I know that there are some houses coming down, or they might have some ideas. I know Mark isn't there anymore, and don't know the knowledge of the new warehouse manager- but they are a big advocate for historic preservation and could be very helpful. Good luck!

    Bookmark   May 11, 2009 at 9:25AM
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Thank you very much for all of your responses. I am actually no where near albany, though. I live in Southern NY state, so I am still looking for a mason or someone who knows what to do in this situation.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2009 at 5:22PM
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we did,the restoration company found a 1 room school house with the same brick.We bought a load,the school burned.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2009 at 11:47PM
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I built a brick path using bricks that were left over when we had a failing (and plugged) chimney removed from our 120 year old house. I didn't have enough bricks, so I asked around, and the owner of the hardware store had just torn down a brick house with the same bricks (even marked AF).

They had dumped the bricks in a country lot he owns, he gave us free access to take them away (everyone was doing everyone else a favor). All we had to do was move them and chip off the mortar.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2009 at 7:11AM
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Yep! You just have to do the necessary footwork to find brick that will be a close match or will work with what you have.

Or, find an old-school mason who will give you the wall you want.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2009 at 3:28PM
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hand made custom brick.

Neat! I wonder how many buyers go for that.

How many buyers (or builders) know that quarries, too, will custom cut stone for your building.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2009 at 9:41PM
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Our contractor has finally found some bricks that are a close match. We also found a company that can put a stain on the brick to make it match. Has anyone heard of this?

    Bookmark   May 18, 2009 at 5:53PM
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This is a UK site for brick staining. Over there they need to get new work to match soot stained old masonry.

Here is a link that might be useful: Brick staining

    Bookmark   May 18, 2009 at 10:53PM
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I work for a brick repair company and do repairs on 1920s and 1930s homes in the Dallas Fort Worth area. If you could send some pictures of your brick and dimensions of that brick along with the dimensions of what you're trying to brick how many feet long and how many feet tall quantity is important to know on trying to match brick, I will try to help locate you some brick or give you some avenues to follow up on, I am just here to help, been doing this for 34 years.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2014 at 8:38PM
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Strzinek, I'm not the OP but that's so nice of you. I'll have to save your post. I have a similar problem living in an older home. I've also been told that we wouldn't be able to find the same bricks today. Whenever I had work done that involved removing a couple bricks, I had to hoard every single brick. :-). It drives the DH crazy!

    Bookmark   July 24, 2014 at 12:08AM
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