If you own a home with brick exterior you need to monitor the condition of the brick and mortar. Your brick and mortar is the first line of defense against rain, snow, wind, and the overall integrity of the building.  Bricks will last a very long time. The mortar in between all of the bricks has an expected life of 25-50 years. Many factors will ultimately determine the rate at which the mortar and brick will require maintenance and repair. Identifying failing areas in the early stages will save money and avoid larger problems down the road.

Here are 5 things that you can look for…

  1. Mortar is meant to be in between every brick. As the mortar begins to decay it will wash away and fall out of the joint. During a visual inspection of the exterior you will easily be able to see areas where the mortar is gone. Pay close attention around the doors, windows, and ground level. If the mortar is missing this requires repair.
  2. Look for cracks in the mortar. No cracks are good but the larger the cracks the higher risk of additional damage. In the Greater Boston area we have winters with many rapid temperature changes. Water will get inside of the cracks and freeze and expand the cracks over and over.
  3. Are there spalling or cracked and crumbling bricks? Bricks are meant to remain intact. If bricks are damaged most likely there is something causing this damage that needs to be repaired. Individual bricks can be removed and replaced. There is no reason to ignore minor issues in fear of it being a major project. Simple routine brick and mortar repairs will save you money over time.
  4. Is there puddling around the foundation? Poor grading, gutter overflow, or down spout runoff will cause puddling. Bricks on older homes absorb water. This can be especially concerning in the northeast because of the freeze and thaw process that happens so many times per year. As the bricks expand and contract damage can occur.
  5. Is the condition of the caulking around doors and windows maintaining a tight seal? Is the caulking peeling or falling off? Failed caulking will result in water infiltration. Identifying damaged caulking and replacing it is something that should not be ignored.

Identifying these areas that are in need of repair will help expand the life of the brick and mortar on your exterior. It will also ensure that you get the maximum amount of life from your doors and windows. Individual bricks can be chiseled out and replaced. Mortar color can be made to match your existing mortar color.  Small areas of brick and mortar can easily be repaired while leaving the areas not in need of repair intact.

If your property is need of repair or if you want a professional inspection contact Fitzgerald Restoration. We have years of experience working in Brookline, Boston, Cambridge, and Newton, MA areas. We are working in your neighborhoods regularly. Give us a call to setup an inspection or brick and mortar repair.