If you ever take a moment to consider the majority of the buildings that you see in your day-to-day life, you will notice just how many of them rely on bricks and masonry work. This type of building is extremely common for its durability and aesthetic; however, even strong materials like brick will begin to wear over time. If left untreated or without any masonry repairs, compromised masonry can threaten the structural integrity and even safety of your home, and repairs later down the line may be significantly more expensive than early preventive maintenance.
Masonry Deteriorates Over Time
Sometimes, the damage that masonry has sustained is obvious. Other times, you may not be entirely sure of what to look for in order to know that you need to hire someone to begin repairs. One of the first things that you may notice is that the mortar between the bricks is dissolving or disappearing.
Without this supportive layer between the bricks, they may begin to come loose and fall out or rub against each other. A simple fix such as tuckpointing, or removing the existing mortar to a consistent depth and then adding new mortar, is significantly simpler and much less costly than fixing a broken wall later.
The Shelf Angle Is Spalling
You cannot typically see a shelf angle; it is a metal piece shaped like an L that is installed behind the bricks in a row. It helps to distribute weight so that one particular part of the wall or the ground does not bear all of the force of a heavy row of bricks all on its own.
Over time, the shelf angle may begin to corrode and lose its strength, which results in a shift of the weight of the brick so that it is no longer dispersed evenly. This can put strain on your masonry and cause chips or even more severe damage if not repaired in a timely manner.
You See Vertical Cracks
If you notice that you have cracks in the brick of your home, your first thought may be to panic, concerned that your walls will collapse. However, if a crack is within 30 degrees of vertical, you can consider this a normal part of the home’s settling and response to the natural environment (such as expansion).
That does not mean, however, that you can ignore vertical cracks entirely; they are still a prime location for water to enter your home, which can result in bulges in your wall and even damage that extends to the inner wall of your home and causes a new host of problems.
Stains and Efflorescence
While stains on your brick are not necessarily an indication of critical structural damage, they are still a good thing to have fixed. Unappealing stains that result from soluble salts leaking through the pores of the bricks can discolor your home and leave it looking less than ideal. It is important to tackle stains quickly, before they become calcium carbonate, which cannot be washed off with a pressure washer.
Bulges and Bowing Areas
A bowed area refers to either bricks that are bulging out or a section of bricks that has sunk in. Both situations are cause for concern because they indicate internal damage.
Moisture behind the bricks can cause warping that pushes the bricks out, or it softens the material behind the bricks so that they sag inward. Both cases are indicative of internal damage in your home and should be remedied quickly, before lasting harm comes to your wall.
Compaction of Specific Bricks or Areas
Bricks that are oddly shaped or cracked indicate that weight is not being dispersed correctly in that area. When bricks no longer retain their intended shape, they can let water into the wall (which is an issue in some of the other masonry concerns described previously), and the bricks around them will be forced to carry a greater load since the compromised brick is no longer doing its job. This means that compaction spreads to the bricks around it, growing worse over time.
Get Your Masonry Repairs Done By The Experts
Whether you are concerned about a specific masonry problem at your home or you would simply like to have an expert come out to review the health of your masonry and combat any issues early, be sure to work with professionals who are skilled specifically in masonry.
Waterproof Caulking and Restoration would be happy to assist you with your property’s needs, from power washing to restoring the aesthetic beauty of your home to both interior and exterior caulking that can prevent dangerous water damage. Reach out to schedule an appointment with an expert.