When constructing new buildings, many people select masonry because of the material’s reputation for strength and durability. Not to mention the visual appeal of stonework and brick. However, even properly installed bricks and stones will begin to degrade over time, requiring repairs.
In order to keep your commercial building standing strong for years to come, learn how to identify the early signs of masonry damage so that you can put a plan in place for how to handle repairs. Here’s what you need to know.
How To Identify Masonry That Is Damaged
The good news is that it is often fairly simple to notice problems with your building’s masonry – that is if you know what signs to look for. One of the easiest signs to notice and identify are cracks in the brickwork or its mortar. If you notice cracks in your bricks – especially cracks in a stair step pattern – your structure may now lack the necessary structural strength to continue distributing its weight over an even plane. Over time, this problem will only get worse, so be sure to address it fast.
Similarly, if you notice bowing or sagging walls or missing bricks, this could be a sign that your building is experiencing a shift in its weight or the effects of water damage. Thin areas between the bricks can become vulnerable to moisture intrusion. That can compromise the inner walls of your structure, so have a regular schedule for doing a thorough walk-around of your building to spot these problems before they worsen.
While you are performing a check, keep an eye out for crumbling, cracked or missing mortar as well. The mortar between bricks not only keeps them in place but keeps the entire building even when displacing weight. If the mortar is not doing its job anymore, bricks will start to crack. Leaving this unaddressed could cause an entire section of your wall to collapse.
The Risks Of Damaged Commercial Masonry
Damaged commercial masonry is more than just an eyesore-though it is worth repairing brick that is unsightly so that you can make a good first impression to anyone who visits. However, masonry in need of repair will not fix itself, and the problem will only worsen over time.
If improper weight distribution is your issue, your building will continue to degrade for as long as the damage is left untreated. In the worst-case scenario, you could start experiencing much larger cracks that lead to crumbling or even full collapse of a portion of your building’s wall.
If moisture is the problem, you may not notice any signs until the damage is severe. Moisture intrusion contributes to the buildup of mold in your inner walls, and it can also rot wooden structures within your building, leading to extensive (and costly) repairs.
Can Damaged Masonry Brick Be Repaired?
The good news is that damaged masonry brick can often be repaired, and when it cannot, replacement is an option as long as the problem area is still small. This is why it is critical that you act quickly. If you are dealing with cracks, they can be patched, but you should also determine why they formed in the first place so that you can address the issue’s source simultaneously. If cracks have developed as a result of weak or damaged mortar, tuckpointing the wall can solve the problem.
Repointing with new mortar is also an effective way to eliminate the moisture problem. By sealing the vulnerabilities and tiny air pockets between bricks, you can prevent the intrusive water seepage that could damage your interior walls.
Can I Repair Damaged Brick Myself?
You may have seen mortar and bricks at the home improvement store, but this is a job that you should leave to the professionals. Commercial masonry work is very particular because if done wrong, it will only exacerbate the improper weight carriage of the commercial building and make the issues worse. Repairing damaged brick requires extensive experience.
The last thing you want is to attempt to fix a masonry problem yourself, only to weaken the wall as you work and then have it collapse into an even bigger repair. Trust an expert masonry brick repair professional with experience in waterproofing to keep your building in good condition and mitigate the damage that compromised bricks can do.
Trust The Commercial Masonry Experts
If you have noticed damaged brickwork or other damaged masonry around your building, be sure to rely on the expertise of the professionals. The experts at Waterproof Caulking & Restoration would be happy to help you understand the current state of your commercial structure and how to repair it within the scope of your budget. Reach out to schedule an appointment to get started.