Category Archives: Masonry

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.

Do I Need A Masonry Expert?

hiring a masonry expert

To put it simply, yes. Because masonry consists of building structures from individual units (stone, brick, concrete block, etc.), the process of binding these materials can get complicated. Constructing walls, buildings, steps, and other structures is a one-of-a-kind art. In addition, bigger jobs require heavy equipment, specialized tools, and a specific set of skills that takes years of experience. A masonry expert understands what it takes.

Expertise

Committing to a masonry project-both big and small- can be overwhelming. There are a lot of moving parts to manage. Oftentimes, there are several layers to masonry work, and the masonry expert understands that every step is crucial. Hiring a masonry contractor ensures that every part of the job is managed accordingly. From the vehicles to the equipment, to scheduling and planning, your contractor takes charge which means less worry for the homeowner. Ultimately, you are paying for the expertise and experience of the contractor.

Efficient Work

Contacting a masonry expert means avoiding unnecessary damage. At times, there are smaller masonry repairs that may seem simple to repair on your own, but without the proper knowledge, these simple repairs end up leading to more severe problems. Then immediate repair is needed. By hiring a professional, you will be spared unnecessary expenses and unnecessary time. Also, a competent contractor will finish the job in a timely manner and give you the results you deserve.

Licenses & Insurance

masonry expert worry free zone

One of the best advantages of reaching out to your Virginia Masonry Expert is compliance control. A legitimate contractor will assume liability and potential damages. In other words, they will hold proper licenses and be insured as a company. This means they are responsible for everything that happens. This gives the customer a worry-free experience as he or she will be handing over compliance obligations to the expert.

Contact Reliable Waterproofing & Masonry Today For All Of Your Foundation Needs In Virginia. We Service Most Of Virginia Proper.

5 Reasons To Contact A Masonry and Brick Repair Expert

masonry repair contractor

Because brick, stone, and concrete are prone to cracking and chipping, repairs are necessary over time. When considering masonry repairs, it is important to connect with the right masonry and brick repair expert in Virginia who can determine the problem that needs fixing in your home or business. Typically, masonry repairs should be addressed quickly to avoid dangers to both the structure itself and the entire building.

#1 Mortar Deterioration

Over time, the mortar between your bricks starts to buckle and disintegrate. If gone unchecked for too long, this can cause serious problems such as falling brick. Without a buffer between bricks, they begin to rub against each other causing them to loosen. This leads to damage and warping and can lead to unnecessary repair costs.

#2 Brick Erosion

When water moisture enters a building through brick and mortar, it begins to evaporate. Over time, because of this water infiltration, the brick and mortar naturally expands and contracts. This then leads to brick erosion which is essentially the crumbling of the mortar.

#3 Bowed Brick

Ignoring bowing brick is not a good idea. In fact, if the bowed wall is expanded more than 2 inches, this is considered serious damage. Because brick expands over time, it is important to keep up with maintenance and repairs. Typically, bowed brick begins towards the middle of a wall. However, if you start to notice that the damage has increased beyond the middle of the wall, call a masonry and brick repair expert straight away.

#4 Cracked Brick

Cracked brick may not be as troublesome as bowed bricks; however, it can lead to water seepage during heavy rains, which will lead to bulging bricks and possibly lead to damaging the inner wall. Even though masonry cracks are common, they are a fairly simple problem to fix. With the right masonry contractor, they should have it fixed in no time. Want to hear some more good news? These fixes are typically less expensive compared to other masonry issues.

#5 Efflorescence & Staining

efflorescence and staining brick wall

Although perhaps not as dangerous for the homeowner or business owner, any type of staining can take away from the natural beauty of your structure. For instance, efflorescence is the presence of soluble salts rising through concrete or bricks. Over time, this takes away from the natural stone’s appearance. This is very common due to natural causes such as low temperatures, condensation, rain, dew, and other moist conditions. Unfortunately, if left untreated, a professional mason must come out and use special chemicals to rid the masonry of this staining.

Contact Your Masonry and Brick Repair Expert Today

Reliable Waterproofing & Masonry is Virginia’s quality masonry repair business. We service within a 100-mile radius around Richmond, Virginia. If you need assistance with any masonry problems, please phone us today at 804-674-02734 or fill out a free estimate contact form.

5 Benefits of Brick Re-Pointing

benefits of brick re-pointing

Firstly, what is brick re-pointing? 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.

Spalling Brick 101

Colonial City

Spalling Brick Due To Weather

Spalling brick due to weather is inevitable after years of being exposed to the elements. Considering the weather patterns in Virginia– freeze and thaw cycles, along with extreme heat during the summer months- these elements can cause several issues with the brick on the exterior of your home or business. Extreme heat can cause bricks to crumble and crack which can potentially lead to an undesirable situation. However, deterioration due to freezing conditions seems to be the biggest culprit. This liquid water at or near the wall surface will not evaporate but it will freeze. Consequently, freezing water will damage the brick since water expands during the freezing process.

Since spalling brick due to weather is very common, it is important to have it inspected by an expert in brick and masonry. At Reliable Waterproofing & Masonry, we have over 30 years of experience in brick and masonry. In fact, we began the business to deliver Virginians with a full range of services that range from re-pointing and chimney repair to paving and foundation repair. Our objective is to get your home back to safety and provide the aesthetic exterior appeal you prefer. Our professional team produces quality workmanship for all brick and masonry issues.

Prevention

spalling brick

Firstly, it is important to prevent spalling brick due to weather if possible. Luckily, there are some steps that can help deter and possibly remove its effects. For example, finding the source of moisture is essential. If the moisture problem is not solved then fixing spalling bricks is only a temporary fix. For instance, if a window or chimney is leaking water directly onto a brick, call a professional to stop the leak before it permeates the area indefinitely. Ultimately, protecting the area of brick from too much moisture is necessary to avoid crumbling brick.

Finally, after the moisture issue is resolved, it is necessary to capture every specific area of brickwork that was affected. Leaving behind any spalling bricks means there is potential for areas to get saturated with moisture once again. Unfortunately, this could lead to ongoing crumbling and cracking even after repairs occurred.

Repair

Once the brick is permanently damaged, it will require a masonry and bricklaying expert to replace these damages. After these dismantled bricks are taken out, the area must be thoroughly cleaned of any remaining moisture, dust, or dirt. New mortar is then placed around the hole and replacement bricks can be inserted. This is a tricky process and takes a particular level of skill to master correctly. To mirror existing mortar seams with a similar look and finish is more difficult than it may appear. In addition, more significant repairs are required when spalling is extensive. For instance, sometimes entire walls and chimneys need to be completely rebuilt to eradicate spalling.

Call Your Trusted Masonry Team

Only skilled masons should attempt to repair widespread late-stage spalling. We are a name you can trust in the area and we provide friendly, reliable, and timely service. Give us a call at 804-674-0273 for a free estimate!

Masonry In Northern Virginia

Richmond, Virginia with water bridge leading into the city

At Reliable Waterproofing and Masonry, we take great pride in providing Virginians the service they deserve. Our service area can cover all of your masonry needs in northern Virginia. Our reliable team provides these essential services: foundation repairwaterproofing, masonry, brick repointing, and concrete restoration. Moreover, we roughly cover a 100-mile radius around Richmond, VA.

Masonry is a concept that is typically associated with a brick and mortar business. It is thought of as an original brick laying profession that our forefathers established when they first crossed the Atlantic to improve the livelihoods of their families and communities. Here, at Reliable Waterproofing and Masonry, we are proud of the dependable services we provide to all of our Virginian people.

commong brick stone masonry problems virginia

In fact, our masonry repair services provide essential expertise to solve all of your masonry needs. Our reliable team can repair and consult on the following: bricklaying, cinder block application, block foundations, chimney, retaining walls, and many other bricklaying applications. Ultimately, if you need a brick and mortar service that will repair any faltering masonry job, call us today!

Contact Us for a Free Estimate

We believe in providing quality masonry in northern Virginia. Please contact us today at for a free estimate. Call us at 804-674-0273 for any questions regarding your masonry needs and all other foundation, waterproofing, and concrete restoration.

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Preventing Frozen Pipes in VA

Problems with Frozen Pipes during VA Winters

water shut-off valve, frozen pipes, water leaks Richmond

Did you have a problem with frozen pipes or broken pipes last winter? Each winter, thousands of homeowners in Virginia lose water service due to frozen and broken pipes and water meters. It’s not too soon to start thinking about how to prevent problems this winter.

Repairing and replacing frozen pipes and water-damaged walls, floors, and items on the floors can be expensive and time-consuming. The homeowner has a further expense by being responsible for paying for water that leaks from a broken pipe. It can cost more than $100 to replace a broken water meter. The following article explains ways of preventing frozen pipes in VA and what to do when a pipe does become frozen.

What can I do now to prevent pipes and meters from freezing?

There are several things you should do before the weather gets below freezing again:

  • Find the location of your main water shut-off valve. If a pipe freezes or breaks, you’ll know where to shut it off immediately.
  • Identify which areas of your home are most vulnerable to frozen pipes, including basements, crawl spaces, unheated rooms, and outside walls.
  • Insulate your pipes and water meter. By wrapping exposed pipes with insulation or electrical heating wires, you will protect your pipes from freezing. If you do it yourself, make sure that you follow the manufacturer’s instructions to avoid a fire hazard.
  • Eliminate sources of cold air sources near water pipes by repairing broken windows, insulating walls, sealing crawl spaces and preventing drafts near doors.  Reliable Waterproofing & Masonry offers services in both crawl space sealing and foundation repair to avoid problems with freezing.
  • Disconnect hoses from outside faucets and, if possible, shut off outside water valves.
  • For outside meters, make sure the lid to the meter is closed tightly. If snow falls on top of it, don’t worry because snow acts as a good insulator.

What should I do when it gets below freezing?

When the outside temperature is consistently below freezing, there are a few precautions that you can take to prevent water pipes from breaking.

  • At night, when it is coldest, turn on a small trickle of water from both your cold and hot water faucets. The cost of the extra water is minimal compared to the cost of repairing a broken pipe. If you don’t want to waste water, collect it in a bowl for feeding pets or watering plants.
  • Leave open cabinet doors, even just a crack, to expose pipes to the warmer air in the room.

What if I’m going to be gone for more than a few days?

If you plan to leave your home for more than a few days, it is wise to take a few extra precautions.

  • Don’t turn your thermostat down below 50 degrees. It is important to keep a minimal level of heat inside the house.
  • Ask a neighbor, friend, or relative to check your home occasionally to make sure the heat is working and pipes aren’t frozen.
  • Consider purchasing a freeze alarm, which costs less than $100. It will call any specified number if the indoor temperature drops below 45 degrees.

What should I do if my pipes do freeze?

If you do have the misfortune of a frozen pipe, there are certain steps you should take first.

  • Turn your water off immediately at the shut-off valve. Freezing may have caused the pipes to crack, and thawing them without turning off the water may cause them to leak through undetected cracks.
  • Apply heat to the frozen pipe by either warming the air around it by raising the room temperature or using a space heater. You can also apply heat directly to the pipe with a hairdryer or hot water. For safety purposes, keep an eye on space heaters and avoid the use of kerosene heaters or open flames.
  • When the pipes are thawed, turn on the water gradually and check for any cracks or leaks.
  • If you do have a cracked or broken pipe, your only choice is to a plumber to repair it before you turn the water back on.

These simple measures can assure that you won’t have a problem with frozen pipes or water meters next year. Contact us if you have further questions about how to insulate your crawl space and repair problems with your masonry or foundation wall to avoid frozen pipes.

Protect Your Virginia Masonry from Moisture

When we look at homes made of brick and stone, we tend to think of them as some of the most sturdy and durable homes built. However, many times that isn’t necessarily the case based on who your contractor was and what kind of job they did, the porosity of the brick and mortar, and other contributing factors. It’s important to protect your Virginia masonry from moisture. This will protect your home and your family from structural problems or problems with dangerous mold and moisture.

How Does Water Get In?

spalling brick virginiaThere are a few ways that water can get into your masonry. The first way is through the joints. What are joints? Joints are the spaces between the bricks. They are filled with mortar to make sure that the bricks will stick together and stay stable. They also fill the cracks in between the bricks so that other things, like water and critters, don’t get into the home. However, they are some of the most porous parts of the masonry. They become saturated with water and that lets the water in. This can not only cause moisture problems, but it will cause problems with your brick wall’s stability.

The next way water can easily get in walls is if there are cracks in your masonry. Cracks in the masonry are an easy entrance point for not only water and moisture but also insects and other unwanted entities. Water, especially heavy storms and wind, hits the side of the home and will drain into the first available entrance–the masonry crack. Masonry cracks can also be an indication that there is a bigger problem at play: foundation issues. Foundation issues should be resolved as soon as possible because the longer that you leave them the more expensive they become.

Additionally, in brick walls which are brick veneers as opposed to full brick structures, if the construction was poor there may be gaps between the flashing and the wall. This is a fantastic entry point for water, but not a good problem for you to have. Water will then be inside of the wall and have no place to evaporate or get out if proper waterproofing and drainage measures haven’t been taken. In this scenario, there could be major waterproofing problems.

What Happens Once It’s In? How Can It Be Prevented?

masonry repairWhen water gets in, it begins to break down the joints and this can cause severe damage over time. Additionally, when water does get in, it will begin to cause mold. Mold, especially black mold, can be dangerous and even deadly. If you spot mold in your home, you need to resolve it immediately. Plus, water doesn’t only cause problems with mold and moisture, it can also cause problems with your home’s foundation.

If you see cracks in your masonry, it’s time to call a foundation repair professional like those at Reliable Waterproofing & Masonry. Foundation repair is never a D.I.Y. job, and it will only get worse and more expensive the longer that you leave it. Plus, your home will be open to more water coming in through masonry cracks and causing bigger problems. It’s best to get it fixed as early as you can.

Once you have made sure all foundation issues are resolved (and cracks sealed with that), the next step is to make sure that you have the proper waterproofing including flashing on your roof. Flashing is used to direct water off the roof and away from the side of the home. In many homes, the water runs off the roof and directly onto the side of the home which causes saturation of the porous bricks. Flashing allows the water to be pushed away and not touch the side of the home. Another important thing to do is brick re-pointing. This should be done every so often on your masonry to make sure that your mortar is still holding up and providing the strength and stability that your brick veneer needs.

Reliable Waterproofing & Masonry Are Your Moisture Experts

Give us a call today to discuss any questions and to get more information on your specific situation. We are happy to schedule a free estimate and get to work on resolving your masonry waterproofing problems. Give us a call today to get started!

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.