How can I reuse or recycle broken bricks?

bricksWe’ve had an email from Valerie:

Recently, the uneven brick front steps to my house were knocked out in order to put in a sidewalk. Now I have single bricks, pieces of bricks, chips of bricks, and sections/blocks of several bricks mortared together. Almost all of the bricks still have mortar on them. Can anyone suggest a practical use for these?

We salvaged some bricks when a friend removed a 1970s style brick fireplace recently* and plan to use them to make a small (two-brick high) wall to hold back some shrubs off our path – the shrubs will hang over the wall so it doesn’t really matter what the bricks look like. We also have a random old brick on top of our compost bin to stop the lid blowing away. I hear that they’re also useful to put at the bottom of garden tubs – to stop them being as easily stolen/blown over.

But they’re mostly just ideas for full bricks? What about bits of bricks and chips?

* “recently” is an utter lie. It was about two years ago and they’ve been sat in our garden since then. We’re in a tidying the garden phase at the moment – hence the recycling bin thing I wanted ideas for the other week – though so maybe they’ll get used soon…

(Photo by jazza)

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14 Responses to “How can I reuse or recycle broken bricks?”

    • Valerie Boatwright says:

      Did you build this, or is a remaining wall? Did you already know how to do masonry work? (I’m afraid I would build quite a “wiggly-looking” wall!

  1. Delusion says:

    The mortar can be easier knocked off them with a hammer etc, and there are many people who can use reclaimed bricks so you could always put them on freecycle.

    For uses, I’d definitely go with creating a wall, edging for your borders or feature (such as a wishing well!) in your garden.

    You could even dig them into the lawn so the surface is still showing, keeping them tight against each other to make a path

  2. Cat says:

    The chips make a great table mosiac. Try to keep them all about the same size height wise (knock off a bit with a hammer if they’re too tall) and add them onto the top of an old table. Top with a cover of glass or plexi if you want it totally flat, or leave it a little bumpy if you don’t mind a little rocking of the things that you put on there. Great way to re-furbish an old or found table too.

  3. Jennifer says:

    Put the chips at the bottom of a plant pot (before you put in the soil/potting medium) to increase drainage.
    If the chips are sharp-edged, use them as a barrier around plants that slugs like to eat (the edges will deter the slugs as they’ll get sliced up trying to cross the barrier).
    For the bigger brick pieces/whole bricks, make a base to raise a planter off the ground to give heighth and visual interest to a grouping of plant pots.
    Put on the floor in your garage, like a curb, to mark how far in you want to park, to avoid going too far in or not far enough.

  4. Gulia says:

    Incorporate them into big stepping stones.

  5. Gulia says:

    Use them for garden sculpture.

  6. E says:

    I know this is a dull suggestion but most council recycling places have a bin for bricks and other building rubble!

  7. How can i build a window seat ?

  8. How can i make a window seat.

  9. iqkrhuwieopf says:

    y not make them into a tiny wall?

  10. Valerie Boatwright says:

    Thank you for the creative suggestions! Looks like I will do several things with them right away: 1) Use large pieces (1′ x 1.5′) for small wall for garden area near woods in yard, 2) use as “pavers” around backyard firepit, 3) edgers for front flower bed. Still a problem with the ones with mortar – doesn’t come off very easily – but I will figure something out.

  11. Bertie says:

    I’ve currently got a pile of broken bricks that I intend to use to line a muddy driveway where I park my car. Hopefully the brick hardcore will tread into the mud over time & stop it being quite so muddy.

  12. Robert says:

    I’ve got used bricks I would like to recycle into a pavestone project. Any instructions or helpful suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

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