Masonry is one of the most sturdy building styles you can find. There is nothing like a well-built brick wall or stone fireplace to capture the strength and beauty of traditional buildings. However, masonry does have to be maintained to continue withstanding the ravages of time and weather, and failing to do this important work often leads to some significant issues. Read on for five of the most common commercial masonry problems you might encounter and some tips on correcting them.
Spalling refers to the issue where some of the brick flakes or breaks off. This exposes the inside of the brick, which is much more easily damaged, and the rate of deterioration accelerates if spalling isn’t corrected. Spalling also often happens in conjunction with the deterioration of mortar since the failing mortar puts extra pressure on the bricks. You can correct spalling by replacing the affected bricks.
Over time, the mortar that holds masonry together will break down. That is a natural process based on the materials and the environment. Mortar fills gaps between bricks or stones in a structure, so the structure becomes less stable as it wears down. Luckily, deteriorating mortar can be removed and replaced through tuckpointing. Taking care of this issue early often means the difference between huge, expensive repairs and small amounts of tuckpointing to keep the problems in check.
For masonry construction using sandstone, commercial masonry problems with the mortar tucking can easily lead to the breakdown of the sandstone. When it happens, the problem cannot just be patched. It has to be removed and replaced.
Efflorescence is the crusty white residue that sometimes appears on the surface of masonry. Efflorescence happens when water penetrates masonry, dissolves the salts that exist naturally in the materials, and then evaporates from the surface, leaving the crusty slats behind. The crusty layer of slats leaves the surface uneven and encourages water to sit on the surface, which can wear down the bricks. If needed, the best way to deal with this is to clean the surface with a stiff scrub brush or some muriatic acid. After it is clean, seal the surface.
The materials used in masonry are perfect for mold and algae growth since they are porous, often moist, and rough. Cleaning this growth off the surface with a pressure washer or a stiff-bristled brush is the best way to deal with it.
If you encounter these commercial masonry problems, contact DelPrete Masonry for professional advice and services that can restore your masonry to its prior appearance.
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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 follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.