Removing formstone.

Any hints on removing formstone ? I have a Baltimore rowhouse and want to expose the original brick.

..We are rehabbing a rowhome in Baltimore. Pulled the formstone off and the brick is in bad shape and lentils are missing. We thought of painting but after seeing your pics, stucco might give a better appearance.

I have seen formstone removed twice. It is a gamble if your brick is in good shape or not.

Usually, the formstone was put on metal lath. After a scratch coat, the pre made stones were stuck on. Since it is pretty much impossible to nail to a brick, the lath was nailed on by driving long nails into the mortar joints. As a result, many times the lath can be pulled off with a minimal damage to the brick.
Formstone plaque in Washington, DC Formstone in Washington, DC

Remember this building from here (March 2012) ?

After formstone is removed, this old building in Washington, DC is beautifully restored

With the formstone removed, and the brick joints repointed, this old building in Washington, DC is beautifully restored.

If you are wondering, this is an old funeral home on the corner of Rhode Island Ave. and 4th St NW.

The trick in pulling off lath and stucco is to build a scaffold and start pulling the lath off from the top, allowing the weight to pull the stucco off.

Please check out these links:

Formstone is considered ugly and banned for re-use in Baltimore. From CityLab, December, 2012
Removing Formstone and other indignities From Old house journal, September, 1982