How do you know when your brickwork or stonework around your home needs to be restored? There are many visual symptoms to look for and we’re going to review those here. This restoration could be fixing the existing bricks or stones, or it may need replacement bricks or stones. Even when the bricks or stones look sound enough to leave, once the old mortar is scraped out, they could crack or crumble themselves, thus needing replacement.
Chipping, Cracking, Discoloration
The restoration process can be more serious if there are portions of the bricks or stones that are chipped, cracked or discolored. If the mortar is cracked or crumbling, chances are the brick or stone around it are weakened as well. This can happen when the elements get to it, allowing moisture to penetrate.
Once there is moisture behind the bricks or stones, when the weather turns cold, that moisture will freeze, thaw, refreeze, rethaw, etc. This causes the materials to contract and expand at different rates, thus the brick, stone, and mortar all breakdown.
Before the restoration can be done, the cause of this problem needs to be identified and remedied. That may be a roof repair, chimney or wall flashing replaced, chimney cap replaced, etc.
At The Base Of Things
Sometimes the problem is not at the top, but at the base. The footer or foundation could have issues that is causing the wall to have weak areas. An unstable foundation will cause the mortar to pull loose and become separated from the bricks or stones. This leaves gaps in between the mortar and the bricks or stones creating a horizontal stair step pattern. In this instance, the house needs to be leveled before the brick or stone restoration can begin.