How to remove a brick facade from a tile fireplace?


A friend in Altadena California has discovered that there is tile underrneath a crappy brick facade. It may be Bachelder tile, the house dates from the early 1920s, so if not Batchelder, it was probably made by one of their contemporaries.
Anyhow, the facade is brick or ceramic, but thin and held on with a thinset or mastic of some sort. I suggested using a heat gun or an iron on a wet towel to heat the covering and then see if that will soften the adhesive to allow the brick to pop off. Then the residue could be removed with solvents.
Does that sound plausible? Any other suggestions?.
She's been trying to find a contractor who will do it, but so far the only offer she has received was from guy who would charge $1000. to demolish it with a sledgehammer. That is not what she wants.
--
FF


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Those cheap air chisels work wonders. $25 at the Borg.
Steve
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...
They must be truly wonderful if they can remove brick without damaging the tile underneath.
--
FF


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You need to determine if it is a masonry type cement based adhesive such as thinset or a glue based adhesive such as mastic or others.
If it is thinset, you may be out of luck, no heat will release it. You will have to carefully chip away at the brick and see if the tile glaze is glossy enough or was dirty enough to prevent a good bond causing the brick to release from the tile.
If it is a glue based adhesive, you may try a heat gun and a stiff trowel to soften the glue and then gently pry the bricks off. You may need to use a solvent to remove remainders of the glue. If it is black it may have permanently stained the grout.

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Unfortunately, it is thinset. If it were mine, I would try what you suggest. My friend however has given up on it and will simply paint over the bricks for now and tell the next owner of the situation.
Thanks.
--
FF


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