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The Importance of Moisture Control in Masonry Structures

del prete masonry masonry structures

Harsh weather can damage the walls in masonry structures if moisture control isn’t adequately performed.

Masonry structures require attention and long-term care to keep their structural integrity and pleasing appearance. Harsh weather can damage the stone and brick walls if moisture control isn’t adequately performed. Moisture control in masonry buildings is an essential concern for pre-war buildings and older structures that have handled years of Maryland winters.

Effect of “Washing Out” and “Thermal Jacking”

The two significant problems that commercial masonry contractors confront when they are restoring or repairing stone or brick walls  are the results of “washing out” and “thermal jacking.” Water infiltration is the cause of both of these issues. “Washing out” happens when the lime deteriorates within the mortar joints. Professional masons frequently do tuckpointing with lime mortar to replace or repair the damaged mortar in washed-out joints.

On the other hand, “thermal jacking” is more severe. When moisture enters a wall, it flows into its core and joints. In addition, a wall can swell outward due to moving stones and bricks provoked by freezing water. Although tuckpointing masonry structures are expensive, restoring them costs more.   

Masonry and Moisture Control

Furthermore, the air vents and holes are masonry walls’ defense against infiltration. These open gaps in the mortar bricks are not “washed out”; they are planned holes located at regular intervals within a wall. The open spaces permit water and moisture to drain away from the rainscreen drainage system inside the wall. This system is built to safeguard the core from water exposure. In addition, the air vents allow air and moisture to be released through the upper portion of the walls.  

Fortunately, “washing out” and “thermal jacking” can be prevented by routinely checking for any indications of water infiltration within the mortar joints in masonry structures. Other possible problem areas to supervise for moisture control are the roofs, flashings, chimneys, windows, gutters, and doors.

Del Prete Masonry has assisted commercial clients across the Maryland area with various masonry services such as repairs, restorations, and construction. Call us 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 follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest

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