brick home exterior

6 Benefits To Choosing A Brick Home Exterior

Searching for a new home can be a stressful process. Of course, buying a house is a massive purchase decision –– possibly the biggest one you’ll ever make –– so it’s important to get it right. No one wants to buy a house that develops myriad maintenance issues down the line, or that depreciates in value over time. Fortunately, a brick home exterior is a surefire indication of a home’s long-term viability. Here are six benefits brick houses provide new homeowners:

High-Quality Insulation

Do you find yourself constantly adjusting your thermostat? Cranking up the heat in winter and blasting the A/C in summer? If so, then know that with a brick home exterior, you’ll never have to worry about insulation problems again. Bricks are great at keeping harsh weather at bay, and you’ll also be able to save money on utilities as a result.

Low Maintenance

New brick homes are about as sturdy as they come. In fact, you can almost guarantee that a brick exterior won’t require any work beyond an occasional hose-wash for the first 25 years of its existence. Plus, older brick homes are still a good investment since regular upkeep like tuckpointing will prevent deterioration for long periods of time as well.

Enhanced Home Value

Brick homes tend to fetch a premium on the housing market –– particularly if they’re in good condition. While other factors influence property value, brick exteriors can boost a home’s sell-on potential.  

Eco-Friendly

Building a brick house won’t take much of a toll on the environment, and the materials used to make brick are plentiful. What’s more, construction crews can often salvage bricks from old structures to reuse at a later date.

Trouble Resistant

No one likes to think about hazardous possibilities like severe weather or fires. Yet, the good news is, brick houses are extremely resistant to both weather and fire. In fact, brick walls can restrict fires to a single room in a home and prevent them from spreading to other areas.

Classic Design

Brick homes are gorgeous and archetypal. They have a great look and feel about them, and there are a wide variety of customizable brick options available to prospective homeowners. (Make sure to check out our gallery to see a few for yourself.) Lastly, brick is unlikely to go out of style any time soon. Brick homes have always maintained a high level of popularity and will continue to do so in the future!

Final Thoughts

Purchasing a brick home is a fantastic way to ensure your peace of mind for the next 20, 30, or even 50 years. It’s easy to take care of a brick facade, especially if you partner with a professional masonry team. At Brickworks, we have years of experience constructing, repairing, and renovating brick and stone buildings. Whether you’re looking for a complete foundation-repair solution, or simple brick exterior maintenance, we’re ready to help you with your next home-improvement project. Call us here today at (586) 330-4843. Procrastinating and letting a problem get worse could end up costing you big time later on, so don’t wait another minute to protect the integrity of your home!


brick stains

5 Ways To Remove & Avoid Brick Stains

Brick houses are charming and classic in their appearance. Unfortunately, it doesn’t take much for stains on an exterior facade to ruin the entire look of a home. Indeed, even small amounts of water damage can contribute to significant brick stains and turn your lovely exterior into a true eyesore –– practically overnight! With that in mind, today we’ll focus on how you can prevent and remove irksome stains from your home:

Limit Exposure to Water

Bricks, though solid, are porous and therefore susceptible to water damage. As such, a majority of brick stains are caused, at least in part, by water. There isn’t much you can do to prevent certain water exposure –– like rain, for instance –– but you can take a few savvy measures to eliminate other forms of water damage. Always make sure your sprinklers don’t spray onto your home, for one, and inspect the foundation of any brick or concrete steps. If brick or concrete rests flush on top of soil, water will evaporate through your porch and can cause cracks or stains.

Apply a Brick Sealant

The best brick sealants will not only prevent stains, but they’ll also bolster the structural integrity of bricks buildings. As noted above, water can damage bricks in a number of ways, which is why utilizing a brick sealant that allows the bricks to “breathe” is so important. Note, never try and cover stains or “seal” bricks with paint. It won’t work, and the paint will chip after a short period of time.

Identify Your Stains

One of the most common forms of brick staining is caused by efflorescence. Efflorescence is a salt deposit left on brick surfaces as a result of exposure to water. At first, efflorescence may be soft or loose, but it will crystalize over time. Though this is a common brick-stain culprit, it’s not the only element that stains brick. Rust, mold, mildew, and calcium deposits (known as “lime run”) can also tarnish brick facades. Take the time out to identify the type of stain on your brick, since different stains require different cleaning methods.

Power Washes & Acidic Solutions

For those hell-bent on DIY home-improvement, it’s typically a wise idea to start any brick-cleaning with a power-wash free of chemical components. You may be able to remove a stain simply by washing your facade with water. If water alone doesn’t work, make absolutely certain you know what’s causing the stain before using any acidic solutions to clean your facade. Also, take all necessary precautions when handling potentially hazardous cleaning materials and acidic compounds!

Contact a Professional

The simplest way to deal with brick stains is to enlist the help of a professional. At Brickworks, we’re happy to perform regular inspections and maintenance to prevent and remove brick stains. Our team members have years of professional experience, and will restore your brick and stone surfaces to their pristine best. Don’t wait another minute –– call us today here at (586) 330-4920 to protect the beauty and integrity of your brick home!


tuckpointing

Tuckpointing 101: The Basics

Brick homes are beautiful, classic, and structurally stout. Yet, brick structures do require upkeep in order to maintain their integrity and vibrant appearance. Tuckpointing is one of the simplest, but most effective ways to ensure the quality of brick walls and facades. What is tuckpointing? Tuckpointing is the process of removing old, deteriorated mortar from in between bricks, and replacing it with new mortar. Here, we’ll explain everything you need to know about this essential maintenance procedure and answer a few FAQs as well:

How Often is Tuckpointing Required?

The great news about tuckpointing is that, when done correctly, you won’t have to worry about replacing mortar again for decades. Typically, experts recommend that homeowners tuckpoint every 20-25 years. It’s worth noting that tuckpointing won’t last quite as long as an original application of mortar. Other factors that could influence how long mortar lasts include the climate (specifically how wet or cold an environment is), the color of the brick, and quality of the mortar application. You can tell if you need tuckpointing done by running a sharp surface along mortar joints. If that produces a fine powder, then your home could need tuckpointing. Loose bricks will also indicate that it’s time to tuckpoint.

Why Should I Tuckpoint?

Tuckpointing serves two critical purposes. First, tuckpointing when necessary will restore the structural integrity of brick facades that would otherwise deteriorate over time. Neglecting to tuckpoint could lead to structural damage and expensive repair costs. Secondly, professional tuckpointing enhances the appearance of brick walls and chimneys.

Tuckpointing DIY Tips

If so inclined, homeowners can choose to tuckpoint their own houses. To do so, you’ll need (at least) the following equipment to get started:

  • An angle or tuckpoint-specific grinder
  • Chisel
  • Tuckpointer blade
  • Hammer
  • Hammer Drill
  • Mortar Gun
  • Trowel
  • Safety Goggles
  • Earplugs
  • Hose
  • Brush
  • Mortar mix

To begin, you’ll want to use the angle grinder to grind away at both the horizontal and vertical joints along the brick surface. Next, use a rotary hammer drill to remove the remaining mortar. You can also use a chisel to chip away at any left over flakes. Brush the joints down and wash them with water. From there, you can apply new mortar to the joints with a trowel and tuckpointer blade. Lastly, after waiting around a half hour, smooth out the mortar and brush away any debris. (Note that this is not a step-by-step breakdown of the tuckpointing process, but rather a quick overview.)

Benefits to Professional Tuckpointing

While it may be tempting to try and tuckpoint parts of your home by yourself, it’s often a better idea to simply contact a professional to perform this task. Tuckpointing requires special equipment and a fine attention to detail. It’s easy for untrained individuals to accidentally chip or damage bricks when removing old mortar. What’s more, an improperly tuckpointed wall will probably require more future work (and time and money) than one tuckpointed by a professional. Lastly, professionals understand how to tuckpoint facades and restore the surface to its original quality and color. Ameatuer tuckpointing jobs may appear inconsistent by comparison.  

Final Thoughts

Need help tuckpointing your home? Then don’t hesitate to contact us here at (586) 330-4843. At Brickworks, we strive to provide excellent service for all of your home-improvement and masonry needs. We’ll work with you to deliver a cost-effective solution that will protect both your exterior walls and the natural beauty of your brick home!


5 Maintenance Techniques for Avoiding Chimney Fires

A fireplace is a wonderful addition to any home. However, without proper fireplace and chimney maintenance, a fireplace can prove extremely dangerous. Indeed, chimney fires occur more often than many homeowners realize, and chimney fires can range widely in size and scale. Some are hardly noticeable, while others can lead to house fires, massive property damage, and even personal injury or death. Given that fact, it’s important for everyone with a fireplace to check out these five maintenance techniques to prevent chimney fires:

Get Your Chimney Inspected & Cleaned

One major contributor to chimney fires is a substance called creosote. Creosote is a natural byproduct of burning wood, and this dark, oily substance will collect inside the walls of a chimney over time. The problem, of course, is that creosote is extremely flammable. So even if creosote isn’t the cause of a chimney fire (as it often is) its presence can add to the damage. The best way to deal with creosote is to contact a professional for regular inspections and maintenance.

Add a New Lining

Even small holes or cracks in the lining of your chimney can cause dangerous gas leakages and/or chimney fires. Often, these cracks are subtle, which is why it’s important to install a product like HeatShield, for instance, to restore the integrity of your chimney lining.

Burn Dry, Seasoned Wood

Wood that’s wet or that hasn’t been properly seasoned will burn differently than wood prepared specifically for a fireplace. Of particular concern is that “wet-wood” fires produce a lot of smoke. And more smoke means more creosote build-up, which in turn translates to a greater possibility for hazardous fires.

Manage Your Fires Responsibly

Unsurprisingly, bigger fires present a greater risk than smaller, well-maintained fires. What’s more, it’s never a good idea to use combustible liquids or materials to start a fire. Even burning something like newspaper will increase the likelihood of a chimney fire. Keeping your fires small, and only using high-quality wood will help prevent destructive outcomes. Lastly, never leave a fire unattended.

Remove Blockages

Good air flow is key to safe and efficient chimney usage. Therefore, anything that blocks air flow within a chimney –– from creosote, to twigs, to birds nests at the top –– can affect its performance. Using creosote-remover powder in between inspections is also a smart way to reduce the risk of chimney fire. (Note, using products like creosote-remover powder should not be considered a substitute for regular inspections and cleanings.)

The Bottom Line

If you’re concerned about the safety of your chimney or fireplace, then don’t hesitate to reach out to a professional! At Brickworks, we have years of experience inspecting, cleaning, replacing, and repairing chimneys and chimney accessories. Our team members are skilled professionals who will ensure that your home-improvement project goes as smoothly as possible. Remember, maintenance and preventative measures will not only protect your home, but they’re also extremely cost-effective. Don’t wait until you have a problem with your chimney to address it –– be proactive and make the call today at (586) 330-4887!