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! 

brick sealant

What You Should Know About Sealant For Bricks

Brick is widely loved for being a charming and durable home exterior –– and for good reason. Brick can withstand severe storms, termites, and fire. However, in order to protect your brick exterior’s longevity and integrity, some occasional maintenance is required. Bricks are susceptible to water damage due to their porous nature, so one of the best ways to shield your brick from deterioration is by applying sealant for bricks. Here’s everything you need to know about brick sealants for your home:

How Brick Sealant Works

Brick sealant provides a water-repellent coating that helps prevent water from penetrating cracks in the brick. Brick deterioration is most frequently caused by moisture entering the bricks and then freezing in cold weather. Sealant for bricks prevents the moisture from entering, which in turn stops water from leaking into your home and reduces brick cracking. The most effective brick sealants utilize nano-technology that permeates the brick itself to fill cracks and decrease porosity, as opposed to just forming a thick film on the surface of the brick. Ideal sealants will form a breathable coating that allows moisture to evaporate, which is necessary to prevent mold growth and frost damage.  

When Sealant For Bricks Is Needed

If your bricks are cracking or spalling (chunks of brick are falling out), then sealing your bricks is a great way to prevent further damage, stop water from leaking into your home, and curb mold growth. Additionally, if your foundation has suffered water damage as well, waterproofing your foundation can help protect your home and your bricks from further degradation. Brick coating is recommended especially if your bricks are over ten years old and if water is leaking into your home. Much of the early deterioration bricks suffer occurs internally, which makes it difficult to know the true damage to its durability. Therefore, preemptively sealing your bricks is recommended to prevent water damage before it turns severe enough to present visible manifestations.   

Best Kinds of Sealant For Bricks

There is a wide variety of brick sealants, and they each have their own unique usage scenarios. Therefore, selecting the right brick sealant for your home depends on the current degree of water damage, the age of your home, the degree of sealant you want, and many other factors. However, in the majority of cases, choosing a penetrating sealant that allows bricks to “breathe” is ideal to prevent water damage yet still allow excess moisture to escape. Siloxane is a good choice for this type of penetrating sealant because it enters the brick to fill cracks internally. 

So Do You Need a Sealant for Your Bricks?

Overall, if you are experiencing leaking or visible brick damage, then pursuing a brick coating is recommended. Additionally, if you are looking to prevent water damage and ensure the longevity of your brick’s appearance and durability, then brick sealant is an ideal option. It is possible to apply brick sealant yourself, but it is important to find the proper type of sealant for your home. To help you select the right brick sealant and even apply it for you, contact us at (586) 330-4845. Our trusted experts at Brickworks Property Restoration can help you protect your bricks and home!

Brickworks - What Does a Chimney Sweep Service Provide?

A good, professional, reliable chimney sweep service will clear your chimney of glazed creosote build-up and thereby ensure years of worry-free fireplace use.  When creosote builds up in your chimney, the next fire you burn in your fireplace could ignite.  While a chimney sweep service provides a clean and safer chimney, the real service that a chimney sweep provides is peace of mind.  This is exactly what Brickworks Property Restoration strives to do for each and every client we work with.

Why is a Chimney Sweep Important?

Like any fire that occurs in your home, a chimney fire can be catastrophic.  The fires you burn in your fireplace release gases and create soot that builds up on the interior walls of your chimney.  The more you burn, the more likely it is that you can have a fire in your chimney.  For a long time, the work of clearing chimneys of creosote build-up was not only thankless, but unreliable.  There is still a lot of bad press about some chimney sweep services that swindle their customers without doing much cleaning of their chimneys.  With Brickworks Property Restoration, however, you will work with a company that prioritizes excellent customer service and employs an amazing product that eliminates the build-up of creosote.  This product is called Poultice Creosote Remover, or PCR.  We apply the PCR, as a poultice, directly to the creosote build-up, which is absorbed by the PCR.  A day or two after application, we will then clear your chimney and flue of all creosote build-up.

Brickworks Property Restoration can provide you with regular chimney sweep services to ensure that it remains in good condition.  We recommend a thorough cleaning approximately every four years, and we can recommend a number of practices for the most efficient burning of wood, which will prolong the life of your chimney and minimize the risk of a chimney fire.  If you notice that you have a larger amount of soot in your fireplace, it could be an indication of build-up in your chimney.  This makes your selection of a chimney sweep all the more important.  Not all chimney sweep services are created equally.

Full Service Chimney Sweep Company

We are a full-service chimney service.  While clearing chimneys of creosote is the most important service any chimney sweep can offer, there are associated services that we provide, which help to ensure the long-term well-being of your chimney.  Our services include:

If you would like more information on our chimney sweep services or would like to schedule a time for us to provide one or more services, call Brickworks Property Restoration at (586) 868-3234 and we will be happy to help you.

Why our Foundation Repair Company Doesn't use Subcontractors

The function of your home’s foundation is to provide structure and strength to your house. Your foundation is vitally important as damage, cracks and other foundation problems can gradually get worse over time, causing serious problems for the stability of your home. Realizing that you need foundation repair is stressful, but the team at Brickworks Property Restoration can guide you through the process, explaining each and every step along the way.  Our focus is always on giving our customers the most positive experience possible.

Foundation Repair with No Subcontractors

Brickworks Property Restoration has more than ten years of experience in the foundation repair business. We have made a decision as a company to invest in our own employees, rather than hiring a large number of subcontractors in order to cut costs.  As a result, we can guarantee that our employees are trained and provide the high level of service that our company is committed to.  Working directly with our own team of employees also allows us to have more control over the final product, the timeline and the quality of work.

Brickworks Property Restoration gets much of our business from customer referrals and we believe that is in large part because of our business model.  We do foundation repair work ourselves and we stand behind our work with a 100% satisfaction guarantee.  In addition, we only work with one of the top foundation repair suppliers in the country, so we also offer a lifetime guarantee on the products we use and a 25 year warranty on labor.

High Quality Foundation Repair in Michigan

The team at Brickworks Property Restoration understands how scary and stressful a foundation repair can be. While you may see signs of a foundation problem (wall cracks, settling/sinking, uneven floors, and doors that stick), since you cannot actually see the crack in your foundation, it is easy to put off a repair for fear of a costly bill.  Our crew will quickly ease your mind, explain the issues that we find and carefully outline our plan for repair and the anticipated cost. You will not have to worry about hiring us and then finding that a team of subcontractors return to your home for the repair job. All of our staff will be employed by Brickworks and will meet or exceed our repair standards.

Brickworks Property Restoration can complete all types of foundation repair.  For more information about our services, call us at 586-868-3234 if you are concerned about your home’s foundation.

Why Foundation Piering is Vital for Most Foundation Repair Jobs

Does your home reside on unstable soil? While this might not sound alarming at first glance, unstable soil can negatively impact the health of your home’s foundation, causing it to weaken. With loose soil around your foundation, the walls of your home can become unstable over time. If this is a situation that you’re currently dealing with or if you are looking to prepare your home for the future, foundation piering is an ideal way to repair and secure the foundation of your home. At Brickworks Property Restoration, we specialize in foundation piering and want to let you know why foundation piering is vital for most foundation repair jobs.

Foundation Piering Basics

For those that aren’t familiar with foundation repair jobs, let us introduce you to foundation piering. Foundation piering is a foundation repair process that digs steel pipe pilings into your unstable soil to help correct any foundation issues that you’re currently having or may have down the road. Foundation piering helps raise your foundation back to its original level. Once your home’s foundation is back to the appropriate level, these pipe pilings will lock the corrected elevation in place so that you do not have foundation issues down the road.

The Importance of Foundation Piering

Foundation piering not only repairs the foundation issues that you have, but it also prevents the unstable soil around your home from causing any additional issues down the road. Investing in foundation piering will help ensure that your home is secure and lasts for a lifetime!

Foundation Piering Advantages

At Brickworks Property Restoration, we believe that there are many advantages to investing in foundation piering when it comes to your foundation repair needs. First and foremost, foundation piering is a much more affordable foundation repair option than many of your other repair options. Additionally, this type of repair allows you to continue to live in your home with minimal interruption while the foundation piers are installed. Lastly, foundation piering levels your foundation and secures it from any foundation damage down the road.

As you can see, foundation piering is vital for most foundation repair jobs. If this is a service that you are interested in or one that you’d like to learn more about, simply give our foundation piering experts at Brickworks Property Restoration a call today at (586) 868-3234. We even offer a free foundation piering estimate, so what do you have to lose?

When is the Last Time your Chimney Was Checked for Structural Integrity?

The chimney of your home may not be an area that you stress about frequently, but it is in fact a very important part of your residence. When is the last time that your chimney was checked for structural integrity? If it has been a very long time or if it has never been checked, there’s no better time than now. The first important step is to find a reliable, affordable and experienced chimney expert that can properly evaluate your chimney’s structural integrity. There’s no better choice for you as a homeowner than our dedicated team at Brickworks Property Restoration.

Maintaining your Chimney

A study completed by the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) found that 36% of residential home fires are caused by creosote buildup, which is found in chimneys where wood is burned. There’s no better way to ensure that this buildup doesn’t occur in your home than to have your chimney checked regularly for its structural integrity. This is not the only thing that you need to consider when evaluating your chimney. There may be brick damage that has developed over the years that needs to be addressed. At Brickworks Property Restoration, we are committed to finding the perfect match for your existing chimney so that you will not be able to tell that a repair was completed by our team.

Guarantee the Best Brick Match

When it comes to strengthening the structural integrity of your chimney and repairing any brick damage, our repair specialists guarantee that your new bricks will be a perfect match. To make sure this is the case, we utilize the most up to date color chart to provide you with the most ideal brick match. Additionally, we have access to 15-20 masonry supply yards to find the perfect brick match. Before completing the repair, we will always bring 2-3 brick samples to your home to make sure that you are comfortable with the brick that is chosen.

Free Chimney Check

There’s no better time than now to check the structural integrity of your chimney. To make this easier for our potential clients, take advantage of the free chimney check that our team at Brickworks Property Restoration offers. All you need to do is call in the request and we’ll let you know the state of your chimney.

So, if it has been a long time since your chimney was last checked for structural integrity, it’s time to do something about that! To request a free, no obligation chimney evaluation, give our staff at Brickworks Property Restoration a call today at (586) 868-3234.

Use Tuckpointing and Repointing to Extend the Life of Your Masonry

Brickworks Property Restoration can extend the life of your home’s masonry.  Like all materials that are exposed to the elements, masonry is also vulnerable to degradation.  However, with proper maintenance, and by employing the processes that we have experience and expertise in using, your brickwork will last a very long time.  We understand that masonry work can be expensive, and that is why we have developed the expertise that is necessary to minimize the cost to you.  We can help extend the life of your masonry work by employing proper maintenance techniques.

What is Tuckpointing and Repointing?

So what are the proper maintenance techniques for masonry work?  We recommend the tuckpointing and repointing processes.  Here is a little more information about each technique.

Tuckpointing is a method of using two contrasting colors of mortar in the joints of brickwork, with one color matching the bricks to give an impression that extremely fine joints have been made.  Tuckpointing is the art of finishing the mortar joints in exposed brick or stone masonry with suitable cement or lime mortar, which protects the joints from the effects of weather.  It also improves the esthetic appeal of the structure.

Repointing is the process of renewing the pointing, which is the external part of mortar joints, in masonry construction. Over time, weathering and decay can create voids in masonry unit joints, which allows water and moisture to penetrate the masonry.  This occurs most often in brick masonry.  Water can do severe damage to masonry.  Tuckpointing and repointing restore masonry to a state that resists penetration by water.

The process includes removing the mortar that has been compromised by the elements from the masonry joints and installing new mortar. When installed properly, tuckpointing and repointing will prevent expensive repairs and foundation damage from occurring.

There are some easy ways to determine if your masonry work needs our attention.  You may notice:

  • Gaps forming between the masonry and the mortar
  • New cracks in the mortar
  • Bricks or stone in the structure have loosened
  • Puddling or dampness on the masonry structure
  • Water has infiltrated interior walls

Masonry Repair Services

If you notice any of the signs listed above, your masonry structure may be at risk. Brickworks Property Restoration will help restore your masonry structure to full structural integrity.  We have worked hard to establish a reputation for professionalism and trustworthiness.  If your masonry is in any state of deterioration, give us a call at 586-868-3234 and we will be happy to serve you.