Reusing a Cinderblock Wall
- 1). Test the strength of the mortar, using the chisel end of the mason’s hammer. Put on your safety glasses, because pieces of mortar may fly. If it is very difficult to chisel any mortar off between the cinderblocks, it will be more cost-effective and a better use of your time to demolish the wall and reuse the cinderblock for paving.
- 2). Remove several cinderblocks if the mortar gives way, using the blocking chisel and mashing hammer. Examine the core or inside of blocks to see how thoroughly the bonding plaster penetrated. Because cinderblocks are less dense, bonding plaster penetrates well, and if a lot was used, it may fill the core. In this case too, demolish the wall.
- 3). Break up the wall with a sledgehammer. Save larger pieces to use as paving stones for a semi-solid path or small patio. Level the ground, place the cinderblock pieces in a pleasing pattern and then fill in the spaces between the “stones” with soil. Plant creeping thyme or other sturdy ground cover to create a very green and enduring recycled surface.
- 4). Pulverize demolished cinderblock and mortar to create crushed “rock” for more casual pathways, including permanent paths between raised beds. The rock creates a neat, clean yard or garden surface, but its permeability to rain or irrigation water is a major plus. Instead of ending up in storm drains, water can recharge underlying aquifers.
- 1). Take down the cinderblock wall block-by-block, if mortar is fairly easy to remove, using the mason’s hammer or the blocking chisel and mashing hammer. Chip off as much mortar as possible from each block, inside and out. Grind off at least the rough mortar edges on the outside of each block for a smoother appearance.
- 2). Reuse cinderblocks as individual planters. Set them on flat ground, hollow side up, and simply fill them with garden or planting soil and then plant strawberries, herbs or flowers inside. Arrange a series of individual cinderblock planters to create a garden border.
- 3). Stack cinderblocks one or two blocks tall, hollow side up, to make very durable raised beds for your vegetable garden. Make sure to level the ground before you set the blocks in place. After you fill the raised bed with soil, also fill in the cinderblock planters that create it and plant there, too.