handyman veneerA straightforward handyman project is replacing a broken brick veneer on a concrete step. You see these at the edge of the step. The veneer pieces are typically 3/8″-1/2″ and are shaped like an “L” with part of the veneer on top of the edge and part extending down the front.

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These pieces get cracked when someone moves a heavy object over the front of the stair and either lets the object slam down on the next step or the step just cracks due to the stress.

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You can chisel out the old veneer brick piece with little difficulty. What you will be left with is the mortar from the old veneer piece. A great tool for this is an angle grinder with a masonry wheel in it. Wear eye, ear and breathing protection (along with gloves) and grind out the old mortar. You can remove more than you think necessary because you will fill the void with new mortar and push the new veneer piece into it so that it is level with the surrounding pieces.

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The biggest challenge will likely be finding a good match, but once you have it, the job will take less than an hour. By the way, it is probably a good idea to cover the new veneer piece and neighboring pieces with blue painters tape to keep the mortar from filling the pores. True, you can wipe it off, but you will be left with gray colored pockmarks in the brick surface which will draw attention to the repair. If you use the tape, you can peel it off and not have to worry about removing the mortar from the surrounding pieces.

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