Question: What causes masonry to
Answer: As indicated above,
masonry is subject to a wide variety of
complex forces. Among these are:
- Expansion and contraction due to
- Efflorescence (expansion of soluble
- Thermal expansion and contraction.
- Expansion of rusting metal contiguous to
the masonry units.
- Moisture trapped behind painted masonry
unable to escape.
- Masonry "sealed" with an inappropriate
- Effects of acid rain.
- Failure to properly repair mortar joints
(repointing) soon after initial mortar
- Using an incorrectly formulated repair
mortar for repointing.
- Failure to repoint.
- Incompatible materials with differing
physical characteristics contiguous to
- Imperfections in the masonry units
resulting from the fabrication or
- Incorrectly installed masonry units.
- Poor detailing, design, and
- Wind erosion.
- Biological growth (plant life).
- Rising damp (the vertical migration of
water through masonry by way of
- Splashback (water falling from the
roofline, hitting the ground, and
splashing up on the masonry).
- Being hit by vehicles, lawnmowers, and
other such things.
- Birds and other animals.
- Seismic activity.
- Several of these forces often work
simultaneously on the masonry. The best
way to identify the causes of
deterioration is to call on the
expertise of an experienced and trained
professional who has a keen
understanding of masonry materials
science. Only after the cause has been
determined can the most appropriate and
enduring intervention method be
Question: Why should I repair my
Answer: Deteriorated masonry
can quickly lead to more serious structural
problems. Once masonry begins to
deteriorate, the rate of deterioration grows
exponentially. Repairing masonry as soon as
possible costs much less in the long run and
protects you from much greater damage and
expense in the future. At the end of the
day, the masonry will look better repaired
than it does in a state of deterioration.
Question: How can my deteriorated masonry be
Answer: The cause and extent
of the deterioration, as well as the
environmental conditions the masonry is
exposed to, determine the best way to repair
masonry. Among the repair options are:
- Composite Patching -
Replacing the areas of deterioration
with a specially formulated repair
mortar that closely matches the color,
texture, and physical characteristics of
the host masonry.
- Dutchman Patches -
Replacing small areas of deterioration
with new masonry that is carefully
shaped to precisely fit the void created
as a result of removing the deteriorated
portion of the masonry. Dutchman patches
are usually done on stone rather than
brick or terra-cotta.
- Remove and Replace -
Removing the entire masonry unit, then
replacing it with new masonry.
- New Veneer - Removing
the entire exposed face of the masonry
to a predetermined depth, then replacing
it with new masonry.
- Retooling - Reshaping
the masonry unit where it sits without
removing any part of it.
- Consolidation -
Carefully removing the badly
deteriorated masonry material, then
applying various specialty treatments
that strengthen and consolidate the
remaining masonry unit. The masonry is
not restored, but rather preserved in
its existing condition.
Choosing the best method to repair
deteriorated masonry is a critical decision
that should be done by a trained,
experienced, and competent professional.
This will give you peace of mind that the
repaired masonry will not only look good,
but it will also endure the test of time.
Question: How can I prevent my masonry from
deteriorating in the future?
Answer: Have an experienced,
trained, and professional craftsman
determine the cause of the deterioration,
then make the appropriate intervention using
compatible materials. Since several of the
above causes of deterioration originate from
water coming in contact with the masonry,
locate and stop the water contact.
If appropriate, consider having specialty
masonry strengthening and/or consolidation
treatments applied to masonry that is prone
to deteriorate. Additionally, consider
having a penetrating and breathable water
repellent applied to your masonry.
Call today for Questions
The thoroughly trained and seasoned experts
at Abstract Masonry Restoration are skilled,
equipped, and ready to help you with your
deteriorated masonry. Contact us for
professional assistance with any
deteriorated historic masonry you may have.