Masonry is an age-old building practice that uses bricks and mortar to create structures. Though it may seem like a simple process, there is a lot of care and maintenance that goes into keeping masonry structures looking their best. In this article, we will discuss how to care for your brickwork so that it remains in good condition for years to come.
Common Brick Damage
Cracking & Spalling
Brick damage is not uncommon, especially with age. One of the most common types of damage is spalling, which is the flaking or chipping of the brick surface. Freeze-thaw cycles and water infiltration can cause this type of damage. Spalling can be unsightly and dangerous, as loose bricks can pose a falling hazard.
To prevent brick spalling you can ensure water is properly drained away from the foundation of your brickwork. As well as this, avoid using a pressure washer as it can weaken the brickwork. It’s also important to make sure you inspect your bricks regularly to find cracks.
Another common type of damage is efflorescence. This occurs when water seeps into the brick and dissolves minerals in the mortar joint. As the water evaporates, it leaves behind a white, powdery substance on the surface of the brick. Efflorescence is not harmful to the brick but can be unsightly.
Efflorescence can be prevented or reduced by applying water-repelling chemicals, silicone and acrylic treatments to the masonry. Water-repellent solutions, silicone and acrylic paints are some of the remedies suggested for preventing efflorescence. A layer may help stop efflorescence from recurring by lowering the amount of water absorbed by an exposed masonry surface.
Mould & Moss
Mould and moss can also grow on the surface of bricks, especially in shady, damp areas. This growth is not harmful to the brick but can be unsightly. If left unchecked, it can also lead to deterioration of the mortar joint.
Water damage on brickwork is caused by two factors. These are known as splash back damage and rising damp damage. When water from below seeps up to the surface, leaving a tide line behind, it is known as rising damp. The moisture on top of the tide line will eventually dissipate, but the salt crystals that remain will cause the bricks and mortar to decay over time. Because freezing and thawing cycles can hasten water-soaked masonry deterioration, dealing with issues early may help avoid more extensive repairs in the future. Look for water damage on a yearly basis to anticipate any repointing work over the next five to ten years.
Regularly repointing brickwork can help to maintain the structural integrity of a building and improve the appearance of its brickwork. If done properly, repointing can add years to the life of a building’s brick facade. It is important to use the correct type of mortar and to apply it in a consistent manner. Improperly done repointing can actually cause more damage than good.
Chemical applications, such as those used to remove chalk, calcium carbonate, and rust, should only be attempted by a professional. Spot testing of chemicals is required in a variety of concentrations. The surface of the brick might be etched or window glass damaged if the concentration is too high.
Maintaining brickwork is important to keep a building looking its best and in good condition. It’s also necessary to ensure the structural integrity of the building. Repointing should be done properly by using the correct type of mortar and applied in a consistent manner. If the paint needs to be removed, it’s best left to the professionals. Spot testing of chemicals is required before any applications are made. Get in touch with RR Limited today for bricklayers in Cardiff. We also offer many other masonry services. Request a quote from our friendly professionals today.