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Maintenance And Inspection Of Brick And Mortar Work

Brick and masonry work is beautiful, and when done right, it will last a lifetime. The mortar, sealant, and flashing may not last as long. Inspection of the mortar and the brickwork will allow you to catch a problem early and repair it, keeping your brick looking great. 

Inspection Intervals

Bricks can last for a hundred years, but the mortar that holds them together may only last twenty years. And the sealants used around windows and doors that abut the wall may last as little as five years. If the wall was constructed prior to you owning the property, that mortar might already be twenty years old, and you are not even aware of it. The recommendation for inspection of the bricks and sealants is every two to five years unless you see a problem, in which case it needs to be inspected right away.  

Mortar Problems

The mortar joints hold the bricks in place but repairing them is possible. The key is to recognize the problem with the mortar. Mortar that is chipping or coming out of the joints needs replacing because over time the structural integrity of the brickwork will decrease if more and more of the mortar is affected. Look for loose or flaking mortar, soft spots in the mortar, or areas where the mortar is missing entirely from the joints. These areas need repair, and a qualified mason should complete the work to ensure it is correct. 

Sealant and Flashing Problems

The sealant around the doors and windows that pass through brick walls is a common point of water intrusion problems. The sealant can come loose or become brittle over time, and if it is let go, deterioration will continue until you have a much larger problem with water and air movement around the frames and sills. Some openings will have plastic flashing around them as well. That flashing should also undergo inspection and you should have replacement flashing installed if you find a problem. 

Repointing and Replacing Bricks

If there are areas that are missing bricks completely or large sections of mortar missing, it is possible to fix the brickwork. A mason will clean out any loose debris from the joints and replace the mortar with new mortar in sections. For a wall that is a focal point, the mason may recommend removing all the mortar and replacing it all to keep it consistent. Repointing is common, and when done right it will extend the life of the brickwork for many years to come. 

Reach out to a company like G.H. Erickson & Son to learn more.