Keeping Masonry Repairs at a Minimum

Having a brick house or chimney is thought by many to be a sure way to avoid doing exterior home maintenance. After all, brick lasts for decades – right? Well, while brick may last for years it is not totally maintenance free, not does brick mean never needing to call in a repair person. Brick home exteriors and chimneys do require some basic maintenance, else you will be faced with making masonry repairs.

Cracking – Because your brick home is exposed to all the same elements as a non-brick home, you still need to do some basic things. For instance, from time to time, walk around your home and see that there is no sign of the foundation cracking or having hairline fractures. The cracks are typically caused because the masonry has expanded and then contracted due to heat, cold or moisture.. However, it can also be due to things such as your home settling or the corrosion of any embedded metals. Common places to find cracks are in the corners of the structure, especially near the foundation.

Caulking or Sealants – This can be brought on by a number of things, the most common being the age of the home. Other causes are loss of adhesion due to too much sealant being used or either not having enough of a surface to which the masonry can bond.

Improper flashing – If the roof flashing was not properly installed or has become loose, water can leak down and cause problems for your brick house. To prevent this from happening be sure that the outer edge of the flashing extends to or even beyond the outside face of the masonry, and that the laps are sealed to prevent water from passing between the layers.

Thankfully, there are some proactive measures you can take to keep masonry work from being necessary. Here are a few steps to put on the Home Maintenance Calendar.

· Check for signs of water leakage or mold growth 2 times a year. If you see this, address it sooner not later.

· If your home has a sump pump, be sure that it is draining correctly. This should be checked once a year.

· Have your chimney inspected at least once a year, and have it cleaned as needed.

· Take time at least two times a year to walk the perimeter of your home and look for issues such as leaks, cracks, spalling, staining, brick displacement or crushed bricks. If you see any of these occurring, call in a masonry repair person.

Masonry repairs are not as common as non-brick siding repairs, but they should not be ignored. If you see any signs that your home’s masonry is in need of repair, talk to a pro to learn what should be done.