Most repairs to brick and block walls require only basic skills. The trick is to catch the damage and repair it before it spreads—here's how.
The key to maintaining a brick or block wall is to routinely check the wall's mortar joints. Soft, crumbling mortar joints let water in to cause serious damage to the wall. Faulty mortar joints call for tuck-pointing—removing the mortar and replacing it.
If the brick has lost its glaze, it's vulnerable to water migrating into its body. Seal the brick with a clear sealer. Chipped brick is also a tip-off that water has intruded and frozen. Treat a chipped brick as you would a damaged brick—replace it. If you have ivy growing up the wall, its tendrils won't damage mortar that's in good repair, but the foliage can hide potential problems. Check the wall in the spring before leaves appear.
You'll need about 2 hours to replace a brick or a block. Before you begin, learn how to chisel, mix mortar, and point mortar. To avoid collapsing a section of wall, replace only a few bricks at a time.