Is Your Mortar in Need of Repointing?
If you’ve noticed some spots of mortar on your brick home that are crumbling or simply in need of repair, it might be time to give the brick exterior of your home a little TLC. Brick is an excellent material. Not only does it provide a classic look that never feels outdated, but it adds a fair amount of traditional curb appeal to your home. However, like any stone or brick material, damage over time is unavoidable. Harsh seasons, like the winters of Massachusetts and Utah, can negatively affect the condition of the brick itself and the mortar holding brick material in place. Over time, the mortar crumbles and falls away from the brick.
Depending on the integrity of the bricks, it may only be the mortar that needs repairing. This is a fairly simple job for a professional contractor. Choosing a reputable contractor to handle your masonry restoration can make or break the outcome of your home’s exterior. Of course, you could try your hand at doing repair work on your own, but without the knowledge, your end result is likely to look shoddy at best. Remember, the exterior of your home is the first thing to draw the eye, make sure that you’re not just repairing your masonry, but restoring it properly.
A significant part of mortar restoration is the process of matching what is currently between the exterior bricks. Of course, if there is major damage to the brick itself, it becomes necessary to match and replace both. You may have heard the expression, “only as good as the weakest link”, and that is an accurate expression to describe the exterior of your home. A quick trip to the hardware store may present you with a few mortar mix options, but make the wrong mix choice and you could be compromising the integrity of an entire wall.
The wrong mortar may look like a step in the right direction when looking at your walls from a distance, but in fact, the wrong sort can accelerate the deterioration of the mortar and brick. A professional masonry restorer will create a unique mix of mortar after an initial mortar analysis has been conducted. Although this isn’t always necessary, if the mortar has performed well over a prolonged period of time, there’s a higher value of replicating the past mix. It will not only match the original but help other points of mortar fare better in the future.
What Does Aftercare Look Like?
After matching different characteristics of your current mortar, a professional contractor will begin the repointing process. It’s not always necessary to repair every bit of mortar, only the areas that are structurally unsound, or that are at risk of damage. After a contractor prepares your brick for repointing, applies the mortar, and cures the material, you can begin to enjoy a fresh and aesthetically pleasing exterior.
Thankfully, the mortar aftercare isn’t up to your imagination. In most instances, a contractor will write down specific instructions outlining the procedures to follow during and after the new mortar has cured. If your contractor hasn’t noted that they’ll give you these instructions when you meet with them, make it a point to make those written instructions a part of your contract. It’s unfortunate with a contractor does a fine enough job, but you, as the homeowner, aren’t told how to take care of it in the future. Make that outline a priority.