Category Archives: Brick Re-Pointing

Why Inspecting Your Masonry is So Important

Sometimes when you look at your brick home (or business) the last thing you notice is the bricks and their condition. You might look at landscaping that needs work or roofing that needs to be replaced, but you don’t think about the bricks deteriorating. Masonry failure is not something you should ignore in your Virginia home or business.

Prevent Large Scale Masonry Failures

If masonry is not repaired thoroughly some of the brick and stone will fall. It is imperative that we prevent any disasters from occurring in our homes or businesses. It doesn’t matter if it is your home or business, this isn’t something you want happening-the falling of stones could be devastating.

Reliable Waterproofing & Masonry can assist with repairs, but we can also tell you what to look for to avoid failure:Symptoms that might mean my brick or masonry is failing

1. Cracking: There are multiple types of cracks that can occur – some are dangerous and some are not a huge problem but it is hard to tell without an expert inspecting it. The age of the building, the type of building, and how the building was built play into cracking. Have cracks inspected to determine the extent of the problem.

2. Efflorescence: You might notice a build up of a white substance on the brick. If there is a lot of moisture in the wall it can come out through the masonry. This causes the white build up. It is the salts that are collected when the water moves through the brick to the face of the brick.

3. Spalling: If you notice pieces of brick flaking off, this is called spalling. Small or large pieces can come off, and either is a sign of a problem. Freezing and thawing can sometimes cause this problem.

Don’t Wait for Masonry Repairs

Paying attention to the brick and masonry on your home or business can save you a lot of money in the long run. Repairs can be much less expensive than masonry failure. It can also improve the curb value of your home. It’s important to note that whether your home or business is relatively new or a historical, older home. Brick and masonry problems can occur to any structure depending on weather conditions and other external factors. Give us a call for a free estimate on your masonry repairs in Virginia.

5 Benefits of Brick Re-Pointing

Showcasing the benefits of brick re-pointing.  Brick stairs that have been repointed and are now in good condition.

What are the benefits of brick re-pointing? Perhaps, you are not familiar with the term repointing. Simply put, it is the process of repairing the mortar or joints between bricks when they become cracked or crumbly. Although this might seem like a simple task, having a clear understanding of the type of brick and type of mortar to use is essential to prevent future damage. In fact, hiring a masonry company that is unknowledgeable in various brick damage and the numerous industry mortars could make or break masonry repair of any kind.

After hiring a knowledgeable and professional masonry company, the next step is understanding what services you need. This leads us to the top benefits of brick re-pointing.

#1 Restores Beauty

There is no doubt that brick re-pointing restores the beauty of the original structure. Oftentimes, repairing brick means increasing the aesthetic appeal of the property. This process will restore your brick siding or wall to look as new as the day it was first constructed. Clearly, visual appeal is important to most homeowners and business owners, alike.

#2 Structural Integrity

The structural integrity of a building is vital to its value and its longevity. Because of various weather patterns, the mortar between bricks becomes compromised. Ultimately, the seal that protects your property can fail. When this happens, water can begin to seep into the bricks, potentially leading to damp issues. This is when a professional repointer is necessary. Masonry experts can really make a difference in the life span of the bricks and the structure itself. Repointing helps the mortar keep your wall standing long after the repair is completed.

#3 Increases Property Value

Without a doubt, the property value of your home or business will increase after the re-pointing process. In fact, the value of a property is significantly impacted by the amount of maintenance that potential home buyers consider is needed. Many homeowners will opt to buy a property that has already been repaired opposed to having to hire it out after they have already moved into their new home or business. Ultimately, striving to maintain your property value so that you can make up your investment down the road when it comes time to sell your property is a smart choice.

#4 Prevents Regular Maintenance

Another one of the benefits of brick re-pointing is its ability to prevent maintenance. Many homeowners make the common mistake of repairing brickwork as they go-repairing small areas one at a time. However, this approach can diminish wall strength and lead to uneven points in the brickwork. Re-pointing the entire area of brick may take more time initially, but it will save a lot of restoration time in the future. In fact, minimizing regular maintenance is a huge advantage to this process.

Need More Benefits?

entryway of home; brick repair

Simply put, the benefits of brick re-pointing are plentiful. Whether you want to increase the value of your home or business, avoid consistent maintenance, or add to the structural integrity of the brick, Reliable Waterproofing & Masonry wants to help. If you are unsure whether or not your brick work needs repair, feel free to contact us for a free estimate. You can also call our office at 804-674-0273.

How Does Water Damage Brick Mortar?

Mortar between bricks is susceptible to damage from water. Over time, rain or rising damp can erode the mortar. Reliable Waterproofing & Masonry offers repointing expertise to keep your brick facade standing strong.

Wall of bricks with the mortar in need of repointing.
Years of rain or rising damp can erode the mortar between your brickwork.

Bricks are a long-lasting material, but the external-facing mortar between the bricks can be worn down over time. One of the mortar’s biggest foes is water.

Water combined with time is a forceful element. Given centuries, the water of the Colorado River cut a path through rock to form the Grand Canyon. Likewise, rainwater can cut its path through your home’s brickwork.

When rain beats against your brickwork or when raindrops hit the ground or another part of your home and splashes back, the water soaks into your mortar.

Equally, if your home is situated in a damp or soggy area, moisture from the ground can seep up from below.

No matter how moisture gets to your mortar initially, it causes the same damage when it’s there. Mortar is created with a mixture of sand and cement. Excess moisture causes the mortar joints to crack.

Eventually, the cracked mortar may start falling away from your home, which could eventually jeopardize the stability of your house. 

In addition the same water that damaged your mortar can find its way into your house, causing mold and mildew issues, which can lead to health concerns.

The solution is brick repointing. But what does that mean?

What is brick repointing?

Brick repointing is the process of removing damaged mortar joints and replacing the mortar.

The process

  1. Old brick mortar is removed to a depth of equal to or slightly more than the width of the joint.
  1. Depending upon the depth of the joint, one or two passes will be made with the new mortar. (The new mortar is made up to match the existing color of your mortar.) 
  1. The new mortar takes about a day to set up and cure. We take care to ensure the joint profile is rectangular as the new mortar used needs ample chance to bond with the existing masonry.

Brick repointing is a skilled technique and not something a home do-it-yourselfer should attempt.

At Reliable Waterproofing & Masonry, our expert masons have the knowledge and know-how to professionally repoint your brickwork.

Call Reliable Waterproofing & Masonry today for more details.

Brick Repointing for Your Historic Home Exterior

Many of us in Virginia live in historic homes, and we all know that a unique set of problems and interesting “features” can come with that. While older homes are beautiful and have lots of character, it is important to take special care when repairing and restoring them. This is because different building materials and techniques were used in the past, and it may not be your best bet to mix the two (old and new) for a “franken-house.” In particular, brick repointing can be a place where mixing old and new can lead to disastrous results.

brick repointing virginiaWhat is brick repointing?

Brick buildings are constructed using brick and mortar to create a solid structure. Masonry has been used for centuries, but the materials and techniques have changed over time. While bricks and mortar used to be softer and left with spaces to “breathe,” bricks and mortar now are much harder and take less time to set up. This can become a problem when modern masonry workers try to repair historic homes with brick repointing.

The pointing of the bricks is the external-facing mortar. Time, weathering, and decay will create spaces that can be an entry point for water. If it is not repaired, this can cause major damage to the bricks and the rest of your home. This is where brick repointing comes in. The old mortar is chiseled out and then replaced to create a stronger brick facing with no cracks or spaces. One or more passes will be made with the mortar. We make sure that the new mortar used matches the original mortar as closely as possible. This is important to make sure that they have similar characteristics such as permeability or strength. These are details you can count on from the team at Reliable Waterproofing and Masonry.

brick repointing historic homesHistoric Homes and Brick Repointing

In historic homes, bricks are usually softer and the mortar used is lime-based. This mortar takes longer to set up, and it is not widely used because of stronger solutions currently available. However, this is the best option to use for historic homes with soft bricks and current lime-based mortar. If you have a historic home with previous brick repointing and you are currently having problems with cracks, water leaks, or other issues, it may be caused by a mismatch in the mortar.

When the wrong mortar is used to perform brick repointing on historic homes, it can result in disastrous consequences. Modern mortars are very stiff because they are usually used with stiff bricks that have no give. When these mortars are used with historic homes, they do not take into account that the original builders let things “settle” and move with soft bricks and soft mortar. When you place a soft brick with the hard mortar, it can lead to cracks in the walls, gaps, etc. They are simply mismatched. Reliable Waterproofing and Masonry will work to make sure we match your original mortar as closely as possible in permeability and strength. This will assure that your brick repointing job will last for many years to come and not cause any unwanted issues.

If you are experiencing problems with past mismatched brick repointing jobs, please contact us at Reliable Waterproofing and Masonry. We are happy to work with you to restore your historic home to its former glory.

Can My Brick Home Cause Water Problems?

Weep Holes in Virginia Brick Homesbrick and masonry virginia

If you have a brick home in Virginia it is likely that you have noticed a small gap in the lower part of your home’s exterior. Many homeowners wonder if this gap in the brick was an accident, or a mistake made by the builders. You will be happy to know it was not a mistake made by your bricklayer, in fact, it was intentional. They did not forget to add mortar to that spot. Brick is much like a sponge. It is porous and absorbs water. The purpose of that small hole is so that water may drain from the brick and the basement. It also allows air to flow to help dry the brick. While that is its purpose, whether or not that actually helps waterproof your home is up for debate.

Those holes do have some drawbacks. For example, they are often wide enough to allow pests such as bugs, mice, and even snakes to enter. Also, modern homes are built air tight, but older homes were built to “breathe”. They allowed air and water to flow freely from the inside to the outside and vice versa. The modern weep holes do not allow the proper ventilation and moisture can become trapped inside, leading to mold and mildew, wood rot, water stains, and even deterioration of the brick. One of the best ways to prevent these problems is through waterproofing. Sump pumps, interior and exterior drainage systems, and vapor barriers can help restrict moisture in your home.

Brick and Masonry Services and Solutions

If you notice signs of water damage, make sure to contact us here at Reliable Waterproofing & Masonry. We offer all types of waterproofing services for your needs. We also offer masonry and brick re-pointing to update your home. Brick doesn’t handle long exposure to moisture well. It will begin to crack, crumble, and flake. Keep your brick home up to date and safe from moisture with our services. We also offer foundation repair, concrete repair, crawlspace repair, and more. Contact us today to learn more about the services we offer and how we can help you protect your home.

Brick, Stone, & Masonry Problems in Virginia

Common Problems with Brick, Stone, & Masonry in Richmond, VA

It is hard to escape the masonry problems that affect older homes in Richmond, VA. At one time or another, you are likely to encounter these issues. Nothing is indestructible, especially when it is constantly exposed to rain, snow, hail, wind, heat, and freezing temperatures. Your brick, stone, and masonry will get old and broken down, just like a roof, or any other part of your home or business. That is why you need to take care of it as you would any other part of your home or business. Some common problems that can affect brick, stone, and masonry are:commong brick stone masonry problems virginia

  • Crumbling – created through water damage, foundation failure, and/or age.
  • Chipping – caused by age, water damage, foundation failure, and a variety of other problems.
  • Flaking – caused by water seeping into bricks through pores, and heat making the brick expand and flake.
  • Cracking – floor, ceiling, wall, stair step, and foundation cracks are all things that you should watch out for.
  • Efflorescence – a white, crusty calcium residue left over when water evaporates and leaves a salt covering behind.

Masonry Problems & Repair Solutions by Reliable Waterproofing & Masonry in Virginiabrick stone masonry problems in richmond virginia

These issues are all common problems that affect brick, stone, and masonry, so if you notice these problems around your Virginia home, make sure to contact us here at Reliable Waterproofing & Masonry as soon as possible. These could be signs of more urgent problems, especially if you are noticing more than one. Luckily, we have a variety of solutions such as brick re-pointing, concrete restoration, masonry repair, foundation repair, and waterproofing.

So, no matter what your problem may be, we can help. Our team of professionals is experienced and knowledgeable in all areas of repair, and many of our repair tools and products are supplied by Earth Contact Products–also known as “the Very Best” in foundation repair and waterproofing products–so you can rest easy knowing you area receiving top quality repairs, products, and service. Contact us today to learn more about our foundation repair, waterproofing, and masonry problems and repair services. Our service area includes Richmond, Virginia and all of Northern Virginia. Give us a call today!

Enjoy Your Patio Again with Concrete Restoration in Virginia

Beautiful Concrete Repair for Your Virginia Home

Summer, a time to enjoy the outdoors. The problem might be that you won’t enjoy it because your patio space is run down, cracked, and uneven. These types of concrete repair problems are very common in our area. Reliable Waterproofing and Masonry is a local expert in concrete repair and restoration, and we can help you enjoy your outdoor space again. We offer the following concrete repair services:Enjoy your patio space with concrete repair in Virginia

Because of changing soil conditions beneath concrete, or even animals that burrow under your concrete, concrete can sink and settle. This can cause cracking and breaking of concrete. Concrete stairs can pull away from patios as well. With our services listed above we can lift and level concrete in patios, driveways, sidewalks, pool decks and more. We can also resurface concrete for a smooth finish for a beautiful patio space. If your patio is beyond repair, we also can help with concrete replacement. Start fresh with a new patio.

Add Value to Your Virginia Home with Expert Concrete Repair Services

When you repair or replace the concrete for your patio or pool deck, sidewalks or driveways you add a lot of value to your home. You add curb value for sure. The most important thing however is the fact that you will have a beautiful space that your familiy can enjoy for years to come. We also do brick re-pointing. If your outdoor space has brick, we can repair and re-point the brick for your space as well.

So if your are a Virginia homeowner and you have stopped enjoying your outdoor space because of concrete problems, call the team at Reliable Waterproofing and Masonry. We would be happy to provide you with a free quote so that you can start thinking about cookouts and family get-togethers in your outdoor space once again. We can’t wait to help. Happy Summer for Reliable Waterproofing and Masonry!

Spring Thaw Can Bring Masonry Problems to Richmond, Virginia

Masonry Problems in Richmond, VA

get brick repair for crumbling masonry in virginiaBecause Virginia is located along the snow belt line, many homeowners experience the damaging effects of freezing weather. As ice and snow melt, masonry issues such as spalling, can quickly be seen on chimneys, retaining walls, and brick paving. Don’t wait to address your masonry problems, contact our foundation repair experts to assess your home. Reliable Waterproofing and Masonry will repair masonry problems in Virginia before they become worse.

In Virginia, spalling occurs more frequently because there are more freeze and thaw cycles in this geographic location. The cycle usually starts in October and ends the following spring thaw. Freeze and thaw cycles are the main culprit for spalling brick damage. As excessive amounts of water enters the masonry system prior to freezing, water is absorbed and locked inside the pores.  During winter, the water freezes and expands. As the pressure expands, it destroys the masonry system. This causes crumbling, cracking, scaling and deteriorating over time. As soon as you notice masonry damage, get it repaired immediately. Ignoring necessary repairs will only get worse over time.

Since water penetration damages the interior and exterior of your home as well as the masonry, our experts will also look for the following issues:

  • Air leaks
  • Thermal bridging problems
  • Interior condensation
  • Damp, wet walls or insulation
  • Water leaks or water seepage
  • Existing freeze-thaw damage on chimney, below windows and other areas
  • Poor drainage from improper downspouts, gutters and other roof-wall interfaces
  • Rotting wood and wall coverings
  • Stained chimney exterior
  • Deteriorating exterior mortar
  • Water stains in ceiling and walls
  • Leaning or tilting chimney

If you notice cracks in the mortar or bricks, contact us immediately. We have brick and masonry solutions to keep your home stable before the spring thaw in Richmond, Virginia.

Masonry Solutions for Homes in Richmond, Virginia

brick re-pointing will fix masonry problems in virginiaRegardless of what is causing your masonry problems, our experts will provide the best repair solution. Since the freeze and thaw cycle causes settlement in your masonry and bricks, we offer foundation repair solutions to restore your foundation and increase your home’s value. ECP steel piers or helical piers are installed beneath the foundation to stabilize and strengthen your foundation. Also, piers are used to prevent further masonry issues from occurring.

When the bond between bricks and mortar fails, masonry repair and brick re-pointing will help renew and repair old masonry. We take great pride in preserving the natural beauty of your masonry. This is why we use the proper equipment and material to remove old mortar, and replace it with the appropriate color and texture.

Contact Reliable Waterproofing and Masonry for professional, quality masonry service in the Richmond, Virginia area. We’ll find the best solution to keep your home safe and dry for many years to come.

Can Masonry Problems Lead to Water Problems in Your Virginia Home?

Masonry Saturation and Leakage in Virginia

Masonry can provide a good moisture barrier. However, there are factors that can lead to water leakage. Some of these factors are:
Masonry saturation solutions by Reliable Waterproofing & Masonry

  • Weather exposure
  • Density of masonry surface
  • Porosity of the masonry unit or mortar joint
  • Voids in masonry

All of these play a role in how resistant the masonry is to water penetration. Saturation happens when water passes through the masonry or absorbs entirely into the masonry wall. The moisture buildup can lead to water entering the living space of your home.

The most common area where masonry saturation causes leaking into the home is where the chimney passes through the roof. If you see staining on the ceiling where the chimney passes through, this is caused by masonry saturation.

Another area of concern for masonry problems are room additions. The leak commonly occurs at the top of the interior opening of the addition. Any opening in a masonry structure with exposed masonry above can result in leaking. Any time exposed masonry above a room opening leaks, it is probably due to masonry saturation. If you see signs that you have water leaking into your home due to masonry saturation, the experts at Reliable Waterproofing & Masonry can help.

Masonry Saturation Solutions in Virginia

The professionals at Reliable Waterproofing & Masonry will come and inspect your home for masonry saturation. Some of the things we will look for and repair are:

  • Obvious voids that need tuck pointing on the exterior masonry surface
  • Check for voids in the flashing and raise the height
  • Exterior problems can be repaired with waterproofing products

When determining the cause of water leaking into your home, masonry saturation is sometimes overlooked. Leakage diagnoses can be a tedious process. Let the experts at Reliable Waterproofing & Masonry give you a free inspection and find the source of the leakage and do the proper repair needed to keep water out of your home.

We do brick re-pointing to keep water from entering your home. This process starts by removing any old pointing to a depth equal or slightly more than the width of the joint. Then new mortar is installed using the same color as the original mortar. The mortar will take a day to set.

We have over 30 years of experience in waterproofing, foundation repair and masonry services. We will inspect your home for masonry saturation and repair the water leakage into your home. We use only the best products available for masonry repair. If you are in need of masonry repair, don’t hesitate to contact the professionals at Reliable Waterproofing & Masonry. We have the solutions for you and will stop water leakage due to masonry saturation. Contact us today!

 

Masonry and Brick Problems to Watch for in Your Virginia Home

Symptoms of Masonry and Brick Problems in Virginia

Masonry and brick are subject to deterioration, especially at the mortar Brick and masonry repair in Northern Virginiajoints. Mortar consists primarily of lime and sand so over time, this lime and sand can deteriorate due to rain and other sources of water. Look around your Northern Virginia home and look for some of the symptoms of masonry and brick problems such as:

  • Settlement cracks – These masonry cracks are usually stair-step cracks in your masonry. 
  • Expansion cracks – A vertical of stair-step crack that is usually located in the upper portions of the masonry can be caused by thermal expansion. Bricks expand when heated by the sun and if expansion joints are not present, can cause cracks.
  • Steel expansion cracks – Cracks that occur at the upper corners of doorways, garage doors, or windows is usually caused by the steel lintels that support the masonry above these openings.
  • Bulging or bowed wall cracks – Cracks can appear throughout an entire wall or the wall is bulged or bowed. This is usually the symptom of age related failure due to improper reinforcement of the masonry.

If you see any of these signs of masonry or brick problems, contact the professionals at Reliable Waterproofing & Masonry. We have the solutions for your masonry and brick problems. 

Brick and Masonry Solutions from Reliable for Virginia Homes

Water entering through any voids you may have in your masonry or brick

Masonry and brick repair in Richmond, VA

After re-pointing

can cause significant damage to your home. Reliable Waterproofing & Masonry uses the process of re-pointing to remove any old point to a depth of equal to or slightly more than the width of the joint. Depending on the depth of the joint, one or more pases will be made with the mortar and we will match the color of the current mortar. The mortar will take a day to set and cure.

You can be reassured that the products we use are the best in the industry and the new mortar will match the original mortar type, color and texture of the existing mortar to avoid incompatible materials and make sure that it looks good as new.

Reliable Waterproofing & Masonry can also repair any chimney repair you needs. Don’t ignore a chimney that is leaning or is in need of brick repair. This can be a danger to you and your home.

For any of your masonry and brick repair in the Northern Virginia area including the cities of Richmond, Petersburg, and Hanover, contact the professionals at Reliable Waterproofing & Masonry. We have over 30 years of experience in the Northern Virginia area. We will get your masonry and brick repair done and your home will look like new. Don’t let the cracks in your bricks be ignored. The sooner they are repaired, the least amount of damage that will occur to your home. Contact us today!