Unfortunately, no building material is completely indestructible. Yes, concrete and slate roof tiles have long lifespans, they still can eventually become damaged over the years. Similar building materials are bricks, mortar, and other kinds of similar masonry. Bricks have incredibly long lifespans if properly maintained throughout a structure’s life — ranging from around one hundred years and even beyond that marker.
However, to reach this legendary achievement, one must know how to properly access and take care of their home’s bricks. Luckily, this doesn’t require a homeowner to become a professional brick mason in any capacity. Let’s look at how to identify the signs of brick repair, what to do about it, and how to prevent it in the future.
Signs Of Damage
First, let’s go over how to spot signs of brick damage and deterioration. As a homeowner, it’s best to be proactive than reactive. That is why it is important to regularly inspect your home’s exterior on a consistent basis. Whether it is just yourself or you hire a professional contractor to assist you, be sure to inspect your home every few months to ensure that your bricks are in good condition. But what should you be looking for? Well, chips and cracks are some of the most obvious indicators of damage.
Crumbling and deteriorating mortar (the solvent between bricks that holds them together) is another problem to keep an eye out for. This can lead to bricks shifting or coming completely loose from the wall itself. Other minor problems include discoloration and plant overgrowth. Chimneys are especially susceptible to damage as they are higher than exterior walls and take the brunt of wind and storms. Be sure to safely inspect your chimney from time to time — preferably a stable ladder: you never want to climb on your roof if you can avoid it.
Causes Of Damage
Bricks do an excellent job keeping the external forces of Mother Nature out of your home’s interior; however, this means that they take the brunt of all the damage. Water is one of, if not the most harmful substance to your brick’s integrity. Why is this? Water is excellent at eroding and weathering down rocks and other forms of masonry — just look at the Grand Canyon.
Storms and inclement weather can strip your bricks of sediment over time. Mortar is especially susceptible to this, being weathered away much faster than the actual bricks themselves. Another feature of water is that it expands when it freezes: this means that water caught inside bricks and cracks can cause more damage. This is how bricks can become warped, dislodged, and fall out from their proper place. If damage to your bricks isn’t addressed, more damage can start to snowball at a quicker rate.
How To Repair
As mentioned before, it’s important to repair any signs of brick damage as soon as possible. There are some repairs that can be done on your own; however, there are some that should be left to the professionals. For example, if a brick has cleanly fallen out of place, it’s possible to cement that brick back into place with glue or a proper solvent — no contractor needed.
However, if a bundle of bricks has become warped or a large amount of mortar has crumbled away, you might want to call a professional to address these issues. If you tuckpoint (to replace lost mortar between bricks) your exterior walls on your own, you could potentially cause more damage to your bricks, resulting in more time and money lost further on down the road. Additionally, you should use these materials to make your home a sanctuary.
Now that you know everything you need to know about damaged bricks, how to spot them, and when to repair them, let’s look at how you can prevent future problems from occurring. As we have discussed, water is one of bricks many enemies: this is why it’s vital that your gutters and drainage systems function properly. If gutters are clogged or are in disrepair, water can be allowed to erode the bricks and be in constant contact with them.
The same thing goes for plants, trees, and overgrowth. Plants are hardy beings that can penetrate the hardest of substances, worming them loose as time progresses. And lastly, if you are power washing your brick walls, be careful to not linger on a particular spot too long. The powerful stream of a power washer can erode mortar very quickly.
Hopefully, you now know everything you need to know about exterior bricks and the signs of damage that warrant a repair. If you need more information about bricks or want to schedule a potential repair, contact the home repair professionals at Brickworks Property Restoration today.