Brick masonry is a beautiful form of architecture, and many homeowners elect to have masonry in their homes. Unfortunately, masonry is not indestructible, and it can be prone to damage over time. Spalling bricks are a common sign of masonry failure, and if not addressed properly, it can cause more serious issues down the road. Here are some tips on how to fix spalling bricks.
What is Spalling?
Spalling is when brick masonry begins to deteriorate to the point pieces of brick are falling from the structure. Spalling begins as small cracks that expand into larger cracks until the entire surface deteriorates. If left untreated, this condition will worsen until it impacts the overall stability and safety. Once bricks begin spalling in one spot, it increases the risk that surrounding bricks will do the same.
What Causes Spalling Bricks
Many things can cause spalling bricks. However, the most cause of damage is water. Over time, water can erode the brick, which weakens the masonry, especially if there is water trapped in the masonry itself. Rainwater hitting the masonry, poor drainage, and wet soil are the most common ways moisture can cause bricks to crack and break off. Low-quality mortar can also lead to spalling bricks.
How to Repair Spalling Bricks
First, you need to determine the extent of the damage inside the structure. Tap on the affected areas and take note of where the damage appears to end. If the spalling extends about three-quarters of the structure, then extra care needs to be taken when repairing the masonry. Even if the damage looks minor now, it will only get worse without proper repair.
You should contact an experienced masonry professional to fix your structure. This is done by removing damaged bricks and replacing them with new bricks and the proper mortar. This process must be done with special attention to detail and the appropriate tools and brick and mortar that match original materials. Otherwise, these repairs can cause more damage to the structure. In some cases, if only the front side of the brick is damaged, the same brick can be flipped around and reused.
How to Prevent Spalling Bricks
Once the masonry has been repaired, it is good to take preventative measures to keep it from happening again. Install quality drainage systems to direct water away from masonry structures. Consider adding a breathable sealant to bricks instead of a non-breathable sealant as well.
Contact Del Prete Masonry Today!
Whether you are ready to start your next masonry project or are still hesitant and have questions, Del Prete Masonry is here to help. We have the experience and expertise to get it right the first time. Questions? Want to visit some of our residential or commercial projects? Ready to set up a consultation? Feel free to give us a call at 410-683-0650 or visit us online. We are happy to serve Baltimore City and County, Harford County, Carroll County, Anne Arundel County, and Howard County. To see examples of our work and to keep up with our new and exciting projects, be sure to Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.