concrete crack

Why Does Concrete Crack and How Can You Prevent It?

Have you ever had your driveway paved with a fresh layer of concrete, only to get frustrated when cracks break the surface a month later? If so, you’re not alone. But why does concrete crack? And what steps can you take to prevent it from happening? Here’s everything you need to know.

Why Does Concrete Crack?

If you have any doubts that concrete can crack, just take a drive through the city streets. This is the same kind of concrete that is used in your driveway! But why does concrete crack exactly? This can occur for any number of reasons, such as improper drainage of rainwater or improper pitch. You’ve also got to consider water getting into preexisting cracks and freezing, thus causing further damage to the damaged concrete. 

There could be underlying root systems that slowly creep up over time and break their way through concrete or upset the natural balance of the earth. Anything that has the potential to shift the ground and upset the natural resting position of concrete can cause concrete to crack. In addition to the shifting of the ground, premature drying can also cause surface-level cracks to spread like tiny spiderwebs, but there are also a few other types of cracks that can occur which can be easily prevented.

As you can see, there’s a lot to consider when dealing with potential cracking hazards.

Shrinkage and Expansion

Shrinking and expanding is another common cause of concrete cracking. As the concrete mixture begins to dry, it shrinks, and during this time there is a chance that cracking can occur if not laid properly and if an imbalance of water is used in the mixture. On the other hand, heat can cause concrete to expand and crack in the opposite way. If a sidewalk gets too hot and doesn’t have the space to expand, these cracks can open up on the surface and deep within the slabs. These types of cracks can generally be prevented by taking special precautions against shrinking or expanding to fight deterioration.

How Can You Prevent It?

There’s no need to worry about cracks in your concrete if you know how to prevent them. Firstly, it helps to install the concrete correctly. This essentially means laying it in a way that gets any potential water away from the soil underneath it once it’s dry. One way to do this is by compacting the subsoils underneath with proper tampers. Installing aggregates underneath will give the concrete a base to rest on that will keep it flat and level. Another way to prevent cracks is to use the correct loads of concrete. When the concrete is dry and finished, apply a sealant over the top that actually penetrates the concrete instead of simply glazing the top. In the cases of shrinkage and expansion, expansion joints can act as shock absorbers to contain the stress of expansion, as well as control joints to prevent shrinkage cracks from erupting across the surface.

No Cracks, No Problem

There are plenty of reasons why your concrete could be cracking, but that’s no reason to panic because there are several things you can do to prevent these cracks from occurring. The next time you find yourself wondering, “why does concrete crack?” you’ll have the answer and the solution ready.

Want to learn more about laying concrete and how to best go about it for your next project? Brickworks has you covered. Our team of professionals excels at all things concrete. Just contact us today or give us a call at 586-474-5881 for more information!

4 Tips For Hiring a Concrete Contractor For Smaller Jobs

When you’ve got cracks in the driveway and plants popping up in the middle of your porch steps, it’s time to get things fixed. Hiring a concrete contractor is a rational next step many people take, and for good reason: they are the best equipped for the job. But when the job is something small, how should you go about hiring a contractor? Here are some tips to help you out.

Understand Why They’re Difficult to Find

As you may very well be aware, it can be considerably more challenging to find a concrete contractor for a smaller job, but why is this? One of the main reasons for this is the fact that the cost for operating and using a concrete truck greatly exceeds the small amount of concrete that would actually be needed on a smaller project. A concrete truck can hold approximately ten cubic yards of concrete—much less than a smaller job would need—which is why not many concrete companies are willing to waste the time and money to deliver a few yards of concrete. This can leave homeowners in tricky situations, but there are contractors out there, like Brickworks, that are willing to help their customers out, whether it’s with a driveway, a sidewalk, or just about anything else.

Contact Family and Friends for Recommendations

If you’re looking to hire a concrete contractor for a small job, asking friends and family if they have any recommendations is a great place to start. For one, it’s a quick way to accumulate a few contractor options without much effort, plus, you’ll be more likely to receive a contact that is reliable, trustworthy, and knows their stuff—assuming that you trust the judgment of the friend or family member that you asked.

Research Their Experience

Just because the job is small doesn’t mean you want to work with a concrete contractor that doesn’t have the experience to get it done properly. Even if the contractor was recommended by a friend, you should ask to see some references of their past work to get a feel for their level of quality. It would also do you some good to ask for their certifications, such as a proper license, as well as insurance in the event that an accident should occur. It doesn’t matter if they’re paving your driveway, doing foundation repair, or fixing a cracked basement—you want them to be qualified if they’re working on your home. 

Get it in Writing

It’s vital that you and the contractor come to an agreement before any work begins. From there, you need to get everything in writing, from overall prices and the materials being used right down to the work schedule and an estimated project completion date. When it comes to contracts, you don’t want to leave anything up to chance. Even if you trust the contractor with your life, this is simply a formality that can prevent uncomfortable situations from arising.

Hire a Reliable Concrete Contractor You Can Trust

By following these tips, you’ll find a professional concrete contractor that successfully completes your small job quickly and smoothly, and one that will earn your customer loyalty. By treating small jobs with the professionalism of larger projects, you and any potential contractors can work together to get the job done and your home or business looking great.

Looking for professionals to help you with a project? The team at Brickworks is full of experience based on years of jobs and training. Contact us today or give us a call at 586-868-3234 to learn more and receive a free estimate! 

masonry training

Why You Should Consider Masonry Training

Learning a new trade is often a rewarding experience. It not only allows you to dabble in unexplored territories, but you could even make a career out of it if you work hard enough. This is especially true when it comes to masonry training. The only downside is the cost, as it is usually quite expensive to learn a new trade. However, that is not the case with Brickworks Academy.

Brickworks academy is a limited-time program that will teach you a wide variety of different mason-related skills and have you come out on the other side as a seasoned professional. But how do you know if the program is right for you? Here are some reasons why you should consider masonry training.

You’ll Learn a New Trade

Nothing is quite as exciting as learning something new, especially when you can use that new trade to make money and open the door to exciting opportunities. With Brickworks Academy, you’ll participate in two weeks of hands-on training where you will learn the ins and outs of masonry work, acquiring skills such as chimney repair, matching mortar and joint styles, and much, much more. If you love working with your hands to create and construct while being rewarded for your efforts, you might want to consider masonry training.

Masonry Training Opens Up Opportunities

Opportunities present themselves to us each and every day, and by seizing the opportunity to undergo masonry training, you’ll be opening the doors to many more. Those who pass the Brickworks Academy class with flying colors are even eligible to join the Brickworks team! Job opportunities will become immediately available as well, allowing you to use the skills you have just acquired in a real-world setting. By applying this knowledge, you will continue to gain valuable experience and build up a formidable line-up of projects for your future endeavors, providing support for your family as well as those whose homes you work on.

It Won’t Cost You a Penny

One of the best reasons for considering masonry training, at least at Brickworks Academy, is the fact that it is completely, one hundred percent free! Normally a training program like this can cost thousands of dollars, but Brickworks is offering their training service to anyone with the drive and determination to see it through to the end. This opportunity, valued at approximately $3,000, is entirely free of risk, allowing those that are interested the chance to complete the course without worrying about their bank account. You won’t even need to worry about paying for food during this time, as lunch and drinks will be provided daily!

Ready to Start Your Masonry Training?

There’s a lot to learn in the world of masonry work, but by undergoing the proper training courses, you’ll be able to confidently perform all of the masonry tasks of a professional and gain access to all of the benefits that come with it. With the opportunity to join the Brickworks team and learn all the skills of the trade free of charge, who could refuse? This year the program runs from February 28th through March 11th, so act fast!

If you’re interested in learning more about masonry training or brick work in general, Brickworks has you covered. Contact us or give us a call at 1-(586)-868-3234 today!

brick porches

3 Considerations for Repairing Brick Porches

When masterfully crafted, brick porches can provide a welcoming and aesthetically pleasing entrance for your home. They come in a variety of styles and colors, shapes and sizes, each uniquely designed according to their homeowner's personal preferences and the home designs. 

However, no porch is immune to the forces of mother nature, and eventually, they all need to be touched up or even completely reworked from the ground up. In this case, you’re best off contacting a trained professional—like those at Brickworks—to get the job done right. Here are some things to consider if you plan on having repair work done to your porch.

The Cost to Repair Brick Porches

Until the act of walking up their porch starts to feel like climbing over a pile of rubble, many people put off repairs for far too long. Why? Because it costs money, of course! However, the value of an up-to-date porch far outways the price.

Determining the overall cost to repair brick porches depends on a variety of factors, such as the severity of the damage, the types of repairs being done, the cost of labor, the materials being used, the scope of the project, location, and much more. When all the variables are taken into account, the price can range from a few hundred dollars all the way up to a few thousand! To gain an accurate picture of what it’s going to cost you specifically, get in touch with a reliable and trustworthy masonry contractor that can give you an estimate.

What’s the Damage?

A few cracked or raised bricks don’t pose much of a problem, and you might even be able to do minor repairs by yourself, but when things become more serious you’ll want to have it assessed. It might be worthwhile to hire a mason to inspect your porch, as they would be the best equipped to determine its overall condition and what your best course of action would be—Brickworks can give you a free estimate today! 

Water damage from rain, wear and tear from use over time, structural deterioration, damage to the foundation, overgrowth of roots, improper installation, certain types of ice melt, and simply having an older home can all affect the condition of brick porches. If the damage is extensive enough, you might want to consider forgoing repairs and instead opt to replace the porch entirely.

Porch Design

You might not need to think about porch design very much if the repairs needed for your porch are mostly aesthetic, as the overall design will not really need to be altered. However, if enough repair work is needed, you might be able to tweak its appearance. When additional structural work is required and the whole porch more or less needs a full makeover, it’s the perfect time to shake things up with a little redesign. 

Depending on the layout of the front of your home, you can most likely do whatever you like with your porch. It might benefit you to speak with a professional about your potential options as well as do research on your own to gain a sense of something you might like.

Don’t Let Your Porch Crumble!

If you want your brick porch to look as though it's just been reworked from the ground up—and in your case maybe it has—then it’s time to consider hiring a professional. Here at Brickworks, we’re dedicated to ensuring that your porch is in tip-top shape, whether that means assessing it for minor repairs and cleanings or changing things up by redesigning and building it for you brick by brick.

How does your brick porch look? Is it holding up, or does it need a little love? Maybe it needs to be replaced completely! Regardless of its condition, Brickworks is here to help. Reach out today or call (586) 330-4920 to learn more about how we can best help you!


The Brick-Work World Of Joint Styles

With so many mortar joint styles available, it can be difficult for the untrained eye to distinguish the difference between them, or even know when one should be used over another. Not only do they affect the appearance and structure of the bricks, but they also play a role in the structure’s integrity, durability, and weather resistance, making it an extremely important factor in a chimney or wall’s construction. But how many types of joints are there? And which should you use? Here’s everything you need to know about joint styles.

The Concave Joint

Perhaps the most common form of mortar joint, the concave joint is done by using a striker tool or a blunt cylinder and running it along the joint to create a concave look that touches the ends of connecting bricks. You’ll find this joint type being used on the exterior of most homes, as it is one of the most superior and most consistent joint styles for water resistance.

The Vee Joint

This mortar joint is similar to the concave style, except that the curved joint is replaced with a distinct “V” shape. While still a viable joint choice, these are not employed as often and are considered somewhat rare. This is perhaps due to the fact that they are more intricate in execution and are more susceptible to water accumulation but make for quality joints nonetheless.

The Struck and Weather Joints

Mostly seen in older buildings—or those trying to replicate a classical look—these joints adopt a diagonal mortar angle with one edge touching the end of a brick and the other angling either up or down. Special care must be taken when performing these mortar joints so as to prevent water deterioration.

The Flush Joint

Creating a flush joint can often feel like layering a cake. As mortar is applied and bricks are laid on top, excess mortar is likely to secrete from the joint areas. Rather than creating a pattern inside the joint, the excess is simply scraped off, making it flush with the surrounding bricks. This is much rarer than other joint styles, as having a flush mortar joint makes it much more difficult to adequately waterproof the wall, which can lead to weathering after many years.

The Extruded Joint

The extruded joint is done just as you would a flush joint, but with one detail removed: The excess mortar is not scraped away. This is seldom seen among experienced workers, as it can cause unevenness and drooping. There is little uniformity to the way this type of joint is done, and structures that have implemented it often deal with water damage unless another component is involved.

The Raked Joint

Also known as a pushed-back joint or a recessed joint, it is another one of the most often seen styles. This is done by taking a wheel with a skate and a nail in it that scrapes along the wall to remove an inner layer of mortar. It is then gone over with a wire brush, creating a flat line of mortar that is not flush with the brick, but just shy of it. This makes the brick “pop” and is considered one of the most well-crafted joint styles.

The Grapevine Joint

Virtually identical to the flush joint in execution, the only major difference here is that the beam used to create the concave is much smaller. This allows for excellent water resistance as the tops and bottoms of the joint take on a flush joint appearance, with the center being concave. It is the ultimate hybrid of the concave and flush joint.

Looking For a Professional?

Mortar joints hold bricks together in a tight bond that is crucial to the structure’s long-term viability. Some joint styles are stronger than others, but the personal preference of joint aesthetics is also a factor to consider. Whichever type of joint style you decide to implement, hiring trained professionals—like those found at Brickworks—should be your top priority to ensure your mortar joints are matched properly.

Are you interested in learning more about the different types of mortar joints and who you can hire for personal brick repair? Brickworks offers customers quick and efficient work at an affordable price. Contact us and grab your free estimate today or give us a call at (586)-330-4887.

Do You Need a Chimney Heat Shield?

With winter on the way, many of us will be firing up our fireplaces to stay warm and cozy for the holidays. When was the last time your chimney was inspected? If it’s been a while, you may want to have it checked out, especially if it is older. Many get worn down over the years and homeowners are none the wiser to the state of their flumes. Cracks, gaps, and deterioration can form with prolonged use, causing leaks, smoke buildup, structural weaknesses, and even fires. Luckily, there’s a solution. Applying a chimney Heat Shield might just be the best thing you could possibly do for your fireplace. But what is it? And do you really need it?

What is a Chimney Heat Shield?

Before deciding whether or not you need a Heat Shield, it might first be helpful to understand what exactly it is as well as its benefit to your chimney. Essentially, a Heat Shield is created by adding a sealing layer all throughout the inside of the chimney to plug up any cracks or spaces in the flue. It can be made out of a few different materials, such as a chamber coat or cerfractory foam. These coatings are smooth, sealing, and heat resistant, allowing smoke and heat to escape without causing damage to the chimney or endangering your home. Chamber coat is applied manually by a chimney sweep, while cerfractory foam is applied via spray and smoothed out with a large brush. Some methods involve lowering the material down through the top of the stack and applying it on the way back up.

How Much Does a Chimney Heat Shield Cost?

The cost of installing a Heat Shield can be measured in more ways than one. As far as the traditional cost goes, the cost can lie anywhere from $5,000 to $8,000. That being said, the cost to have your chimney completely redone is much more expensive. Not to mention the cost of repairs in the event of a fire caused by a poorly made or clogged smoke chamber! It is also a much quicker process than building a new one, especially where there is no need for a total replacement. You’ll also save money in the long run by fortifying your current chimney with Heat Shield, as the sealant will work to protect it from deterioration for many, many years. It is definitely the best solution to ensuring longevity for your fireplace.

Why is a Chimney Heat Shield Important?

If your home contains a fireplace, it is very beneficial to have a Heat Shield installed. But why? What does it really matter? Well, it matters a great deal, actually. For one thing, a poorly constructed smoke chamber causes creosote to build up inside the chimney, blocking the air passage and leading to a draft-back of smoke or even the potential of starting a fire. The sealing aspect of the shield will also prevent carbon monoxide from leaking out of cracks, thus preventing your family from succumbing to toxic fumes. By applying a layer of a Heat Shield, the smoke will be able to rise and exit your home more easily, preventing any unwanted contamination from occurring. The last thing you need is a fire breaking out inside your chimney, which could tear it apart from the inside out, spread to your home, or cause the bricks to crumble onto your home. The smooth layer of fire-resistant sealant is more than enough to protect your family and home.

Looking to Fortify Your Chimney?

Applying a chimney Heat Shield is an effective restoration method that assists in securing the safety of your home and your family. It is not only reliable and affordable but having it applied is the fastest method for restoring your chimney to its former glory. Here at Brickworks, we have trained and licensed professionals that can inspect your chimney and apply a protective layer of Heat Shield coating in no time at all. Interested in learning more? Contact Brickworks today for a free estimate or call (586)-330-4920.

fixing crumbling brick

3 Expert Suggestions For Dealing With Crumbling Brick

What causes crumbling brick? Water (erosion and freezing), constant weather, and other external factors cause bricks to crumble and deteriorate. Bricks are porous structures, meaning that they absorb moisture very easily. When bricks absorb too much moisture, they begin to lose their adhesiveness and will start to crumble and wear away. This is why it’s important to properly maintain your bricks and know how to spot signs of damage before they begin to worsen. Let’s take a further look into what makes bricks crumble, how to prevent it, and what to do if it eventually occurs.

What causes crumbling brick?

There are a variety of reasons that cause bricks to deteriorate — one of the main reasons is water. Water has many interesting properties that have harmful effects on masonry. Firstly, water erodes bricks and carries away sediment with ease if given the chance. This is especially harmful to mortar (the cement-like paste between bricks that holds them together). Also, water expands when it freezes. If water is trapped inside bricks or in cracks in the wall, freezing water can dislodge and even remove bricks, causing the need for repair or brick replacement. However, in comparison to the life expectancy of home components, bricks typically have a long shelflife of around one hundred years if maintained properly.

How to prevent crumbling brick

The best way to prevent damage to your bricks is to be proactive instead of reactive. This is why it’s important to regularly inspect your home’s brick exterior every few months or so. The inspection doesn’t need to be extensive, however, you should take some time to carefully assess any potential damage. Also, check to see if any water is being allowed to sit or get into your bricks. Faulty gutters and drainage systems can cause water to come into contact with bricks: this should be corrected before erosion starts to worsen. Keeping your exterior brick walls clean and free of plant life is another way to prevent damage; you may also apply masonry sealants to your bricks to protect them. Make sure to use the right kind for your bricks so they remain porous but more protected from the elements.

How to repair crumbling brick

If your brick has already started to crumble, can it be repaired? Yes, it can. You may DIY, however, it’s recommended that a professional does this so further structural damage doesn’t occur. Crumbling and cracked bricks can be replaced with newer bricks and then sealed back into place. Additionally, deteriorating mortar can be replaced with tuckpointing — removing damaged mortar and replacing it with fresh material. 

Hopefully, you now know how to spot the early signs of crumbling bricks, how to prevent this from happening, and how to repair the damage that is already done. If you have further questions, need more information, or want a repair estimate, contact Brickworks, the home repair experts, or call us at (586) 330-4843.

masonry repair

When to Call a Professional for Masonry Repair

When is the right time to call a masonry repair professional? Mainly, if there are signs of mortar erosion, stones beginning to chip, or bricks moving out of place. Masonry is a difficult field of repair because of the time and attention to detail required to complete a job correctly. If you have no masonry training or have no stoneworking experience, it’s important to hire a professional so no further damage is caused. You don’t want to pay more money for a botched repair. Catching the early signs of deteriorating stonework can save you from experiencing more problems (structural and financial) down the road. Whether you need to call a professional for chimney repairs or brick replacement, here are some main masonry issues you want to be on the lookout for.

Deteriorating Mortar

Mortar is the sealant-like paste that is used to fill the gaps between the individual bricks of a structure. It’s similar to concrete in a way because they are both wet during application and dry as they set. Mortar connects bricks together despite their textural imperfections and helps distribute the weight of each brick evenly across their surface area. However, mortar is made of sand, concrete or lime, and water: this means mortar will deteriorate over time for a few different reasons. Rain, wind, friction, and time will gradually wear down mortar over the years, signaling that you should think about masonry repair. Thankfully, a professional mason can use techniques such as repointing and tuckpointing to replace degraded mortar while restoring it to its original state.

Bulging And Shifting Bricks

Brick and stonework can be susceptible to bulging, warping, and shifting over time. Alternating temperatures — especially in the midwest and northern climates — and weather conditions shrink and expand masonry, allowing mortar deterioration and shifting stones to occur. Moisture can seep into cracks in the stonework, freezing and thawing with the changing cycle of weather. Also known as “frost boil”, this shrinking and expanding can cause bulging, shifting, and displaced bricks. It’s important to call a mason if you see any early signs of shifting, bulging, or fallen bricks. Infrastructure damage, foundation problems, and further masonry problems can occur if this problem is left unchecked.

Cracking and Chipping Stone

Probably the most obvious sign that your home requires masonry repair is when your brick and stonework have structural damage — cracks, chips, and chunks missing. Even though stone and brick are strong building materials, they’re not wholly invincible. Strong, sudden impacts and gradual weathering can cause this cracking and chipping to occur. Like a crack in a windshield, if untreated, the imperfections in the bricks can grow, causing more structural damage; letting this kind of problem go untreated will compound further problems down the line. Here are some bonus masonry resources for when you should know when to call a professional.

If you need to hire a stoneworking professional for masonry repair or just want a free estimate, contact the home restoration experts, Brickworks Property Restoration, at (586) 330-4887 today. 

mortar joint selection

Mortar Joint Selection

Brick homes offer a timeless beauty and rustic aesthetic, so it’s no wonder that they are growing in popularity. If you are thinking about moving to a brick home or updating your current walls, then there are a few key factors you must consider. Although most people focus on choosing the type of brick and layout they want, deciding on the mortar joint style is also important, as it affects both the appearance and longevity of your brick. 

Joints make up the space between bricks and are filled with mortar (a binding paste made of sand, cement, and lime). Given the variety of joint styles, techniques, and purposes, it can be difficult to choose between them. Here is a closer look at mortar joints to help you find the right one for your current or future home: 

Types of Mortar Joints 

There are many types of mortar joints, but some of the most common options include the concave, V, struck, weathered, raked, flush, extruded, squeezed, beaded, and grapevine joints. Some joints are more suited for exterior walls, while others are better for interior walls. This is due to the different levels of water resistance between joint slopes and designs. Concave, V, flush, and extruded joints are best for exterior or outward-facing walls. Interior walls are mainly chosen for aesthetic over function, so these joints typically have poor water resistance or drainage. Examples of interior joints include the grapevine, raked, struck, weathered, squeezed, or beaded joints.   

Choosing the Right Mortar Joint for Exterior Walls

Concave joints are typically considered to be the best option for exterior walls due to their superior water resistance and sealing abilities. Flush joints are another good choice, but they require careful installation in order to be completely water resistant. Flush joints must be either in-line with the brick or slightly back, because an extruding flush joint can accumulate water on its top. 

V joints, however, must be properly installed to avoid water accumulation on the “V” groove created in this method. This is a difficult task, so V joints are usually avoided for exterior walls. Extruded joints are convenient because they do not require tooling, but because they extend past the brick, they are exposed directly to weather conditions and often degrade more quickly. Therefore, these methods are typically not recommended due to the higher likelihood of water or weather damage. However, if your brick happens to use one of these styles, it is still possible to increase the water resistance of your brick with brick sealants.

Choosing the Right Mortar Joint for Interior Walls

Brick can make an attractive accent wall in the inside of your home. Since the brick will be protected from rain and other weather conditions, you have much more flexibility in choosing the joint style. Struck joints are a popular choice for interior walls due to the unique sloped appearance they provide. For an antique and matte finish, grapevine joints can be a good choice. These joints are made with a metal blade with a raised bead that makes an indented line in the center of the mortar. Beaded joints, on the other hand, have an extruded line in the center that sticks out past the edge of the brick to provide a unique architectural look. Due to the protected nature of interior walls, you can choose the mortar style that looks the best to you or which matches the appearance of your home the best. 

Get a Professional’s Opinion

Given the number of options available, it can be difficult to choose the right joint for your home. If you need assistance choosing, installing, or repairing your mortar joints, then contacting the experts at Brickworks Property Restoration can help. We have over 10 years of experience and use a specialized mortar to ensure your bricks look cohesive and last as long as possible. Contact us for guidance or installation today!

chimney mortar

How We Take Care of Chimney Mortar

Chimney repair can be expensive, so properly maintaining your chimney’s bricks and mortar is important for your checkbook and your home’s safety. Chimney mortar is a paste consisting of a mixture of sand, cement, and lime. In combination with mortar joints, mortar holds bricks together, keeps out air and moisture, and helps prevent the bricks from cracking or spalling (breaking off). Over time, exposure to the elements wears down the mortar, and gaps or cracks may appear. To help prevent and address chimney mortar damage, here are some useful tips from our experts at Brickworks Property Restoration: 

Perform Basic Chimney Mortar Maintenance  

To keep chimney mortar in good condition for as long as possible, there are some general guidelines you can follow. As a start, always clean your fireplace after use, use dry wood, and regularly check for signs of deteriorating or cracking bricks. With proper care, mortar typically has a lifespan of 20-30 years, but regular inspections are still recommended to identify cracks and gaps before more serious damage occurs. 

Schedule Routine Chimney Mortar Inspections to Find Damage Early

It can be hard to tell when bricks on your chimney are cracking or spalling by looking up from the ground, so hiring professionals to inspect your chimney periodically is key for preventing severe damage before it happens. Inspections can also help find if internal chimney damage is present. By identifying cracking or damaged bricks early, the repair process is made much simpler and more inexpensive. Warning signs for chimney masonry repairs include white stains and rust, cracked bricks, excessive or black smoke, and more. Wood-burning fireplaces can also experience an internal buildup of creosote, which is flammable and can lead to house fires. Since it often accumulates inside your chimney, it can be easy to miss, which is why inspections are crucial. 

Our Chimney Mortar Repair Process

Mortar maintenance can only go so far; eventually, at least minor repairs will be needed. To repair mortar, it is first necessary to repoint the bricks by grinding or chiseling away the old mortar and restoring the integrity of mortar joints. Restoring brick mortar joints involves using a  process called tuckpointing, where a pointing trowel or fingers are used to apply mortar between tight joints. 

There are many different types of mortar available, so having an expert analyze your existing mortar to find the right match is important. Mortar is typically only workable for 90 minutes, so quick and efficient work is necessary. Although you could apply mortar yourself, given the complexity and nuances of the steps involved, it is recommended to at least contact experts for advice before beginning.  

Receive Professional Guidance

Although it is possible to perform chimney mortar repairs yourself, it can be difficult due to the materials and techniques required. To avoid costly mistakes, it is recommended to first contact a chimney repair specialist to help you identify your current mortar mixture, your next best steps, and if further interior chimney damage is present. Whether you just need a routine inspection or serious repair work, our masonry experts at Brickworks Property Restoration can help. Call us at (586) 330-4843 for help planning your next chimney maintenance project!