Dear PoPville – Fieldstone Removal?

“Dear PoPville,

You have discussed your hatred of formstone/fieldstone in several postings. I too hate the stuff. Unfortunately, I own a house that is covered with it. Have any of your readers actually removed it from their houses? If so, does the process cost a fortune? Any recommendations on contractors who do this type of work.”

9 Comment

  • I’ve heard of Baltimoreans getting it taken off for reasonable sums of money. I’d call a baltimore firm for a quote if I were you.

    Baltimore is the #1 city for formstone. They made a documentary about it called “little castles.”

  • looks like whoever is contracted for renovating the future brixton pub at 9th & U know how to handle it

  • 321 T Street NW just removed formstone and it’s a lesson in caution. Formstone is a permanent, portland cement based building material. It was typically applied in two ways: either directly to the brick (you’re screwed) or applied to a metal lathed nailed to the original surface (you might be in luck).

    If applied directly to the brick you have to chisel, drill, jackhammer the stuff off of every square inch of wall. It will come off in sections rarely. The brick underneath will be damaged and gouged countless times.

    If applied to lathe, there’s a chance that you can peel the formstone off in sections; bigger sections if the lathe has rusted. Still a good portion will have keyed through the lathe and latche on to the brick. So it will leave a pattern on the brick.

    If you throw caution to the wind and go for it, have a bankroll prepared to do significant amount of brick replacement, repointing, and eventually painting to cover up all the dinged up and damaged brick that can’t be fixed.

    While formstone was mostly applied as a matter of taste (or because of a great salesman) it was sometime applied to soft or bad brick. If that’s the case, the formstone will destroy everything as it comes off and the wall will need 100% new brick. That just happened to a house on Capitol Hill. In the end, the removal will look good, but it’s probably one of the most risky non-essential things you can attempt on DC rowhouse.

    • it was also applied because it was cheaper than the maintenance required on brick.
      plus it adds more insulation.

  • Why not just paint over it? Formstone really isn’t all that ugly and it could be an interesting conversation piece. With a little creativity you could paint it a nice color for way cheaper than removing it.

    It could be nice having a home thats different from everyone elses.

  • You gotta rethink this. Don’t go in…go OUT! I’d suggest putting a new coat of brick veneer or “Thin Brick” over the top of the formstone. These are real bricks that have been cut down to only their faces (say….5″-1″ thick). I’ve been researching this because we are going to put thin brick up on a big interior wall that the original brick was mortared over. You can choose any color brick, and even choose something that looks brand new, or something a little more fatigued (they call it “tumbled”).

    We are paying about $800 for enough thin brick to cover about 150 square feet…which I would guess is probably 1/5th of the front of an average DC row you do the math. I am installing it myself and you might need to hire a crew for an exterior application…but believe me, this would be so much faster, easier, and better looking then chipping away down to your original wall.

    Just google “thin brick” and you’ll find lots of links. Here’s a video too:

    Good luck!

  • Stucco over it?

  • EIFS over it.

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