The 6 most common masonry problems
Last modified: 2019/02/08 | Approximate reading time 3 mins
Brick is a timeless material, known for its strength and versatility. It can be found in homes with classic architecture as well as in modern and bold-looking buildings. This material has several advantages and if well maintained, will remain beautiful for several years, even decades. When it comes to masonry problems, some are minor and easy to repair. Others are more complex and can cause serious damage if not treated quickly.
In this article, we’ll discuss masonry problems that are widespread and offer advice on the proper steps to take to start the renovation process.
The 6 most common masonry problems
Efflorescence is a common phenomenon on brick walls because it is a whitish crystalline deposit that occurs on lime or masonry cement products. It’s sometimes confused with mould but the difference is that efflorescence does not appear on surfaces made from organic substances. There are several factors that can cause an efflorescence problem, and you’re more likely to encounter this problem during the cooler and wetter periods of the year, ie, fall and spring.
With regard to possible solutions for this problem, it will be necessary to adapt according to the specific issue. As a result, a masonry expert should be consulted to diagnose and determine what to do. However, if you’re curious to know more, do ample research to discover further details about possible solutions. This will help you to discover what to avoid doing so as not to aggravate the problem.
2- The appearance of a bulging wall
This phenomenon may have a strange name but with far less sympathetic consequences. A bulging brick wall means swelling in a brick wall, usually caused by water infiltration, rusting on anchors, mortar deterioration or shifting on the exterior cladding. To identify a bulging wall, look for a section of your brick wall that has abnormal swelling. As soon as you discover the potential presence of such swelling, it’s crucial to contact a mason as soon as possible. This is because the wall could easily collapse at any time. The mason will be able to determine if it’s necessary to remake the entire brick wall or if you can simply repair the damaged section.
To learn more about bulging wall repair techniques as well as the price for doing the work, check out our article on the subject: Bulging Walls: How to Identify and Solve the Problem
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3- Mortar deterioration
Mortar used for brick joints can sometimes be of poor quality, or it may degrade over time. As soon as you notice signs of degradation, you must act quickly to avoid additional problems including water infiltration and the appearance of bulging. In our article How to Repair Mortar Joints, we explain the steps for replacing mortar that has deteriorated
4- Damaged bricks
Over time, bricks can become damaged, especially due to temperature variation or additional factors that can reduce the lifespan of the bricks. Once you’ve made sure that the section of damaged bricks isn’t hiding a bulging wall, it’s possible to proceed to the next step which will involve removing damaged bricks and replacing them.
Check out our article How to Replace a Damaged Brick for the steps and materials you’ll need. Note, however, that this is not a task for beginners who don’t have previous experience with manual work.
5- Cracks in the brick walls
Cracks in brick walls may indicate the presence of bulging walls, but this isn’t the only cause. In fact, it could signal a problem of any other order. For example, the crack may have been created by movement, and this could be due to a slump in the house or a problem with the foundation.
Since this could point to a serious problem, do not wait to find out what it is and take action as soon as possible.
In our first point, we illustrated the difference between efflorescence and mould. That being said, the latter can also lead to rather significant consequences if not dealt with quickly. In some cases, if the mould has not penetrated too deeply, simply cleaning the area can efficiently solve the problem. On the other hand, if the mould is embedded into the wall as well as any cracks or openings, more in-depth work will need to be done. It will further be important to determine what has caused the presence of mould to prevent it from returning.
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