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Repointing (Mortar Repair)
Mortar Analysis & Matching
Cracks, Settlement & Leaks
Deteriorated Masonry
Masonry Cleaning & Paint Stripping
Historic Stuccos & Renders
Chimney Problems
Changing the Color of Masonry
Water Repellents

 

Western US Office
Salt Lake City, Utah
(801) 505-4977

Eastern US Office
Boston, Massachusetts
(781) 488-3088

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Our Consultation Services Give You the Expertise Necessary to Limit Your Risk

Expert Assessments of
Historic Masonry
Buildings

Developing
Comprehensive Scopes of
Work Based on Project
Objectives and Available
Financial Resources

Writing or Reviewing
Specifications

Providing Cost Estimates
for Budgeting and Planning
Purposes

Eliminating Costly
Contractor Change Orders

Recommending the Best
Masonry Materials and
Restoration Products


   

Masonry construction is both strong and durable, but is also susceptible to cracking due to the many forces acting upon it. When working on historic structures, making the correct decisions on how to properly deal with cracked masonry is very important. Your masonry is likely bearing the weight of everything above it. Repairing cracked masonry with the wrong materials and/or methods often leads to additional failure of the masonry.

Our approach is to:

  1. Thoroughly evaluate the structure and the characteristics of the cracks.

  2. Identify the cause of the cracking.

  3. Determine the best approach to repair the damage.

  4. Perform the actual repair.

  5. Monitor the effectiveness of the repair.

Properly evaluating and repairing cracked or settled masonry is definitely the job of an experienced and seasoned professional.

 
 





Because the masonry in most historic buildings is structural in nature, cracks may be more serious than just an aesthetic problem.


 

   



Frequently Asked Questions
about Cracks, Settlement & Leaks:

Question: What caused my masonry to crack?

Answer: The answer is not simple. There is a myriad of things that can cause masonry to crack:

  • Post-construction settlement.
  • Tremors or earthquakes.
  • Heavy equipment working nearby.
  • Faulty original engineering or construction.
  • Redistribution of weight loads due to remodeling or building additions.
  • Excessive snow or wind loads.
  • Material failure.
  • Expansive soils.
  • Plant roots.
  • Thermal expansion and contraction.
  • Poorly bonded masonry.
  • Using incompatible building materials.
  • Accidental impact from vehicles.
  • Failure to adequately compact the earth prior to construction.
  • Lack of adequate water drainage away from the structure.
  • Excessively hard mortar.
  • And much more.

Question: How can I determine what caused my masonry to crack?

Answer: This is a job for an experienced expert who has been a long-time student of the nature of cracked masonry and its causes. Often, special monitors can be used to gather information to provide clues regarding the cause of cracked masonry. There are other specific observations and measurements an experienced expert can make.

Question: Do all cracks need to be repaired?

Answer: No.

Question: Why should I repair my cracked masonry?

Answer: Left unrepaired, some cracks provide an opening for water, insects, wind, plant life, and dust penetration. Each of these has the potential for causing further damage.

If not repaired so the weight load is redistributed, the crack may travel further or even get wider.

If you are trying to sell your building, unrepaired cracked masonry is a huge negative in the mind of potential buyers and therefore negatively influences the building’s value. A properly repaired crack will aesthetically look much better and may not even be noticeable.

If the crack is not properly repaired but simply filled with mortar, the crack will appear very obvious and the mortar-filled crack will likely reopen in the future. Mortar cannot succeed as "glue" in holding cracked masonry together.

 

 
 


Sometimes grout injection is an appropriate repair for cracked masonry. The gray color you see against the orange background is the cured, injected grout.
   

Question: What are some of the ways to repair cracked masonry?

Answer:

  • Installing piers to provide support for a settling foundation.

  • Installing the correct mechanical devices in the masonry in order to redistribute weight, counteract forces, and add strength.

  • Epoxy or grout injection.

  • Repointing the crack with mortar. This is like trying to “glue” the cracked masonry together and then crossing your fingers that it will last. Because of masonry’s weak tensile strength, this option rarely lasts in the long run.

Question: How do I know if my cracking will cease?

Answer: Cracks are usually either dormant or active. Dormant cracks are cracks that were created in the past, and are not continuing to spread or widen. Active cracks are cracks that are still experiencing movement and are still in the process of spreading or widening.

Skillful and expert observation and/or monitoring can assist in determining if your cracks are dormant or active. The materials and methods used to repair cracks will largely depend on the answer to this question.


Abstract Masonry Restoration has extensive experience with cracks, settlement, and leaks you can trust to fix the problem correctly. Contact us for professional assistance.

 
       


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