How can you remove excess concrete/mortar from brick?

Tanya Palmer
by Tanya Palmer
My friend recommended her handyman to repair my front porch stairs. The top step was pulling away from the landing and the mortar needed to be filled in. The guy did the same repair on her stairs last summer so I hired him. Needless to say my job did not turn out so great. He left excess concrete/mortar and it dried solid. I want it removed and not a paint coverup. Suggestions?
  11 answers
  • Peg Peg on Jul 26, 2017

    If it were me Id take the guy to court.

  • Sharon Sharon on Jul 26, 2017

    I would give him an ultimatum for sure that you will take him to court and file complaints with BBB and Angies List is he doesn't clean it up.

  • This is not intended to be mean, but why did you pay the guy? I always do a complete inspection before handing over final payment. If I am not happy, they must fix or repair before I give them any money. Does not matter if your friend referred him or not - this is a business transaction on one of your most valuable assets, your home. Shoddy workmanship is not acceptable. Invite your friend over and let him / her see it did not turn out right. That being said, here are a couple links to help you out!

    Please understand I really hate to see trusting homeowners lose money to less than great contractors - it ruins it for all the good guys out there and now creates extra work for you!

  • 2dogal 2dogal on Jul 26, 2017

    Yes - so sorry it looks awful. I'd do what Sharon said.

  • Diana Deiley Diana Deiley on Jul 26, 2017

    I'd offer the handyman a chance to honor his name and workmanship to correct the issue. If not, by all means the 'gloves are off'. Hopefully you paid him by check and not cash. Turn him in to the BBB and Contractor Licensing Authorities. Sad when things like this happen. Sorry for your frustration. It can be fixed. Best of luck.

  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on Jul 26, 2017

    Wire Brush it!

  • William William on Jul 26, 2017

    Terrible, terrible work. This guy did not know what he was doing. mention it to your friend and have the guy correct it. You deserve a refund or partial refund and an apology. The only way to remove dried mortar is chipping it away with a brick chisel and hammer.

  • Tanya Palmer Tanya Palmer on Jul 27, 2017

    Thank you for the great responses. He hasn't been paid yet and is coming back to repair the problem At this point I don't trust him to do the job right since he suggested dying the mortar!! Thanks for the info re applying the acid. Going to make sure this is the method I discuss with whoever I hire to repair it. Will post an update when it's all cleaned up. Thanks again!

  • Yair Spolter Yair Spolter on Dec 11, 2017

    How did it go, Tanya?

  • Ian Anderson Ian Anderson on Dec 11, 2017

    Acid should do it, but you might need to do several applications. A scraper and/or a stiff bristled brush helps. Avoid wire brushes as they will scratch the surface of the brick too much. You must rinse anything the acid touches with lots and lots of water, particularly the grass/garden or you'll only be able to plant rhododendrons there in the future!