One of the most popular building materials for centuries, brick masonry is used from everything from stately colonial mansions or small country cottages, to dignified commercial structures. Its versatility, efficiency, and appearance all contribute to raising the property and aesthetic value of your home. While generally maintenance free, it’s still important to take care of your brick structures to assure that your commercial masonry investment is protected and their longevity is being leveraged to its maximum potential.
Once a year, be sure to go over your brick masonry with a hose, equipped with a spray nozzle, to remove any loose dirt. Also if any side of your brick masonry structure or house gets very little sunlight you should be on the lookout for moss, mold, or mildew growth. Scrubbing any affected areas with a solution of 1cup of bleach to 1 gallon of water will clean most of this up. Avoid using wire brushes that can scratch or damage brick and be sure to rinse these areas with water BEFORE applying the bleach solution.
Check for Water Damage
Water damage to brick masonry has two potential causes: Splash back and rising damp. Splash back is the process by which rain, over a long period of time, is slowly absorbed into brick causing the mortar or brick itself to crack. Rising damp occurs when ground water seeps upwards, leaving behind what is known as a “tide line”. This line will disappear but will cause a buildup of salt crystals that will ultimately break down brick and mortar. Check for water damage routinely and allocate funds for repointing every 5-10 years.
Repointing is the process of renewing the external parts of mortar joints, which hold brick masonry structures together. If you find signs of damaged mortar, consider having it repointed. This involves careful removal of the existing mortar, and a fresh application of a new batch. When repointing, the depth of the new mortar should be approximately twice the width of the existing mortar joints.
If you own an older house and want to preserve visual integrity, make sure that your fresh mortar matches the original. A contractor can take a sample of existing mortar and dissolve it in acid, exposing the base sand aggregate used to manufacture it, so that it can be replicated.
Get Help from Del Prete Masonry
Brick is a great foundation for any building, and as commercial masons, we can fully appreciate the benefits of brick. If you need your commercial masonry repaired, please contact our office today at 410-683-0650 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We serve Baltimore City, County, Harford County, Carroll County, Anne Arundel County, and Howard County. Keep up with our blog for masonry related information, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.