Tag Archives: brick repointing

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.