Old stone homes offer many advantages like striking beauty, longevity, energy efficiency and strength against the elements. But like any home, there are repairs needed at times to maintain all of these wonderful attributes. One issue that can arise is the need to re-point brick due to crumbling mortar. When finding a professional to re-point the brick on your historical home, you should look for someone that can ensure they re-point the brick to help it last the test of time.
There can be many places throughout the walls of your home that need re-pointed. To the untrained eye, they could be hard to find. An expert can walk the property with you and show all the areas that have been affected and how to move forward from there. Do not be afraid to ask questions and get the answers that help you to understand this process. That is the purpose of calling a professional.
Houses are not the only structures that benefit from re-pointing. Other buildings that often need re-pointing are:
- School Buildings
- Storage facilities
- Stone Ovens
- Stone or Brick Fencing
- Any building close to water and moisture
Re-pointing brick sounds like a serious and daunting task, but professionals are experienced in the business of building beautiful and sturdy homes. The process goes something like this:
- They will begin by mixing the mortar. There are different kinds of mortar to choose from and which mortar they choose for your home will depend on which type your house already has. An expert should be able to analyze the type of mortar you have and match it precisely in order to ensure maximum results. Some professionals might use Portland Mortar because it is a fast, inexpensive option, but the results would not be of a high quality. Lime mortar is preferred by many professionals because while strong, it still has slight flexibility to it. The best professionals will take the analysis of your existing mortar and match it as closely as possible to give the area a seamless look. The mortar should be lighter than the bricks to allow buildings to shift when the foundation settles. Without a small amount of flexibility for movement, more cracks and crumbling may ensue.
- They will chisel out any loose mortar. It is crucial to get all of the loose pieces out from in between the bricks to make sure that no fresh mortar is applied over damaged pieces.
- They will then get a trowel loaded with mortar and fill in all the now empty spots where damaged mortar had previously been.
- Pushing and packing the mortar into the new space is a vital part of the process. They must carefully seal the bricks, not leaving any gaps where moisture or air could displace the brick.
- After all the necessary applications and drying have been finished, professionals take the time and care to clean up any excess mortar on your brick.
Mortar is not just the glue used in brick and stone construction. It is the cushion between the stones that adapts as the building shifts, settles, expands and contracts. It is the irrigation channel that diverts water away from the stones, protecting them from unsightly salt deposits the can cause efflorescence and sub-surface freezing that can cause cracking.
- Efflorescence can be a white and powdery deposit or a spot with a bleached-out appearance that can be seen on bricks and stonework. It occurs as an effect of salinated water. The water that absorbs into the ground around the foundation of your building can rise and absorb into the masonry.
- When water freezes, it expands. The damp that is absorbed into your masonry will expand during freezing weather. If the proper mortar was not used, it may not expand and contract appropriately which will lead to cracks and crumbling.
If you have an area built of masonry bricks that appears to be deteriorating, you should contact a professional immediately. Re-pointing bricks is an easy way to refresh the appearance of a building or retaining wall.