tuckpointing

Solid Tuckpointing Vs. Spot Tuckpointing: Is There A Difference?

Though professional masons understand the difference between solid and spot tuckpointing, most homeowners probably don’t. (For the uninitiated: tuckpointing is the process of replacing old or worn mortar between bricks with new mortar mix.) After all, the distinction between the two may seem minor. However, knowing when to request solid tuckpointing vs spot tuckpointing could actually save you a considerable amount of money –– and spare you some major headaches. In layman’s terms, solid tuckpointing refers to the process of tuckpointing an entire wall, exterior, or building. Spot tuckpointing, conversely, involves only fixing a small area of a brick (or stone) fixture. Here we’ll explain the pros and cons of both, when it makes sense to spot tuckpoint, and when you should call a professional for solid tuckpointing assistance:

Spot Tuckpointing

Unsurprisingly, spot tuckpointing is a great way to deal with external damage on a wall. So, for instance, if something were to collide with the side of your home and knock a few bricks loose or cause a small divot in your wall, spot tuckpointing will help you make your exterior look good as new. In addition, spot tuckpointing may be required if a small section of your exterior is exposed to more wind, rain, and/or freezing temperatures than the rest of your home. Furthermore, individuals who are looking to sell their home and improve its appearance quickly may want to consider spot tuckpointing to spruce up any faded or cracked patches.

Solid Tuckpointing

Solid tuckpointing can act as a brick-repair method and a practice to prevent brick deterioration in the first place. Most experts recommend solid tuckpointing on new brick homes after roughly 20-25 years (depending on weather and several other factors). However, as a brick home ages, you may need to tuckpoint more often to maintain the integrity of a wall. It’s also best to choose solid tuckpointing if you’re looking to enhance the overall appearance of your home. Lastly, if you’re concerned about potential long-term foundational issues, then solid tuckpointing is the way to go.

Spot vs Solid Tuckpointing DIY

As we covered in a previous blog, it is possible to tuckpoint on your own. And dedicated homeowners can indeed spot tuckpoint to positive effect. However, solid tuckpointing is a time-and-labor intense project that is better left to the professionals. In addition, messing up while spot tuckpointing can contribute to discolorations and inconsistent blotches in brick exteriors, as well as the potential for further cracks and damage.

Contact a Professional

Brick homes are classic and durable, and a little maintenance will go a long way to protecting your house for years to come. So don’t put off vital upkeep like tuckpointing if your home is overdue for a “check-up.” Remember, when you partner with Brickworks Property Restoration, we’ll make certain that your tuckpointing project goes as smoothly as possible –– in terms of both aesthetics and structure. Don’t wait to address a potential problem with your home’s facade –– call us today at (586) 330-4920!


masonry contractor

What to Look for When Hiring a Masonry Contractor

The choice of hiring a professional to perform brickwork and masonry on your home is an important one. The truth is, not all home-improvement contractors operate in the same way, and the quality of masonry, equipment, and practices used will make a big difference on the end result of a project. Because this decision carries such weight, today we’ll explain how homeowners can find the perfect masonry contractor for their situation:

Experience & Certifications

One of the simplest ways to determine the trustworthiness of any business is to see where it stands within its own industry. As such, research any masonry professional before you hire them, and ask if they’re certified by leading organizations in their field. What’s more, experience is imperative when it comes to brick repair and masonry. There’s no substitute for many years worth of working knowledge gained in the field!

Prior Work & Customer Reviews

As with any major purchase decision, it’s a good idea to look at the prior work history of any masonry contractor before you hire them for a job. Furthermore, genuine customer reviews will give you good insight into what kind of service you can expect from a brick-repair company.

Versatility

Making substantial foundation repairs requires a different skill set to removing stains from brick surfaces. The best masons understand how to tackle projects of all varieties –– inside, outside, chimneys, porches, brick, cultured stone, etc. Also, it’s worth noting that just because a problem may appear simply cosmetic in nature, even small cracks could indicate major structural deficiencies. So it’s imperative only to hire professionals who know how to address a multitude of home-improvement issues.

Value

Though it’s understandable for homeowners to try and save money by finding a low-cost brick-repair solution, the cheapest options don’t always represent the most value. In addition, some contractors will include additional charges for specialized equipment or materials if needed. And of course, the quality of the work and the equipment is often reflected in the price. Given all that, homeowners should seek out contractors who provide tangible, long-term value. It doesn’t make any sense to hire a cut-rate professional who doesn’t adequately address your masonry issue. Better to identify the company that can offer value for years to come.

Long-Term Support

Naturally, any completed masonry project should provide a homeowner peace of mind for years after the fact. Still, the most progressive brick-repair companies don’t just help homeowners solve existing issues, but also prevent future problems from occurring. Ask any prospective contractor how you can protect your home from common issues like brick stains or chimney fires; how willing they are to help you will tell you a lot about their commitment to service.

The Bottom Line

At Brickworks, we strive to help homeowners handle any issue they have with their house –– from tuckpointing and chimney maintenance to full-scale foundation renovations. We have years of industry experience and every member of our team is reliable and professional. With Brickworks, you’ll have a partner you can count on. So call us today at (586) 330-4887!


home foundation repair

7 Signs You Need Home Foundation Repair

As unwelcome as the prospect of foundation repair is, ignoring the warning signs won’t do you any good. In fact, failing to contact a professional if you suspect that you may be experiencing problems with your foundation is one of the least responsible things you can do. The longer you wait to take action, the more it’ll end up costing you in the long run. So, to protect your home and your wallet from a potential crisis, always be aware of these seven signs that indicate you need home foundation repair help right away:  

Interior Cracks

While cracks on porches or on the exterior of your home could indicate foundation trouble, cracks in the floor or on the walls of your basement are generally much more concerning. Horizontal or vertical, big or small, cracks on the inside of your home often indicate something isn’t right with your foundation.

Unstuck Doors & Windows

When a home’s foundation shifts, it can cause doors to become stuck or to come off their hinges. Similarly, you may also spot a gap developing between an exterior wall and a window. If you have trouble closing or opening windows, your foundation may be shifting.

Bowing Walls

Bowing or curved walls in your basement is never a good sign. Should one or more of your home’s walls begin to bow, it’s a strong signal that all is not well with your foundation.

Water Damage

Water can cause a myriad of home-masonry difficulties, from brick stains to foundation safety. As such, any homeowner that finds standing water in their basement or who lives in an area with high rainfall should constantly monitor the status of their foundation.  

Sagging or Uneven Floors

One quick way to tell if your home is starting to slant is to pour a glass of water out and watch its progress. Floors can become uneven over a long period of time and it’s possible for a homeowner to overlook this subtle change. Furthermore, sagging floors also suggest foundation issues –– especially on an exterior porch or within a crawl space.

Popped Nails

Sometimes minute movements within a home’s foundation will cause nails to pop from the drywall and leave a small indentation. While it’s relatively simple to pound them back into place, doing so won’t alleviate major structural damage. Watch out for this hidden housing problem.

Leaning Fixtures

Eventually, when a foundation is no longer stable, fixtures within the house like walls or chimney may begin to lean or “pull away” from the rest of the structure. At this point, substantial foundation repairs will be required and letting the building deteriorate any further could lead to collapse. Make sure to keep an eye out for the other warning signs, but if your walls are “leaning” in any fashion, enlist the help of a professional immediately.

The Bottom Line

The bad news is, foundation trouble won’t go away on its own. Fortunately, you don’t have to tackle this issue all by yourself. If you need foundation repair assistance, don’t hesitate to make a call. Contact the Brickworks team today for help. We have years of experience in home masonry, and we’ll work with you to find the best, most cost-effective solution available. Call us here at (586) 330-4920.


fireplace safety

8 Fireplace Safety Tips To Keep You Safe This Winter

There are few things more enjoyable than curling up in front of a warm fireplace on a snowy winter’s day. And considering that large parts of the Midwest and Northeast have been hit by some major snowstorms already this season, people have had plenty of opportunities to do so. However, as wonderful as fireplaces are, it’s essential that all homeowners follow these eight fireplace safety tips in order to protect themselves and their home. Check them out here:

Only Burn Dried, Cured Wood

Burning substances other than firewood (like paper) in a fireplace is both dangerous and unnecessary. Don’t try to start a fire with foreign materials and don’t use wood that’s wet. Wet wood and other objects produce dense smoke when they burn, and dense smoke contributes to creosote build up within the chimney, which is a major catalyst for chimney fires.

Store Your Wood Properly

Above all, keep your firewood dry. It’s not a bad idea to purchase your firewood for next year months in advance so that you can ensure that it’s stored properly.

Install a Chimney Cap

Chimney caps prevent downdrafts, animals building nests within your chimney, damaging moisture from entering your chimney, and chimney fires from spreading to adjacent buildings. There's no reason not to install one. 

Never Leave a Fire Unattended

Though it may seem obvious, it’s extremely unwise to leave a fire burning unattended. And never leave a fire burning around unsupervised children!

Purchase Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

If you plan on using your chimney regularly, then items like smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are essential. Remember to always replace the batteries for these detectors because they just might save your life one day.

Keep Your Damper Open

It’s imperative that you keep your damper open until the fire is completely out. You can check the effectiveness of your damper by lighting a match and seeing if it flickers or not.

Clean Your Chimney Area Thoroughly

After a fire is out, make it a point to sweep away any ash, debris or embers. What’s more, never leave flammable materials –– like a rug –– next to a fireplace when in use.

Schedule Regular Maintenance

Even if you strictly adhere to every fireplace safety practice, it’s essential that you call a professional to inspect and perform maintenance on your fireplace and chimney regularly. (Experts recommend at least twice a year.) Though you may not realize it, it’s possible that loose bricks caused by moisture or creosote build-ups are threatening the safety of your chimney –– and by extension –– your home.

Contact a Professional

No one likes to think about the possibility of chimney or house fires, yet tens of thousands occur every year. The good news is, by contacting a professional you can protect your home and your family. At Brickworks, we have decades of experience providing home-masonry solutions. From chimney maintenance to foundation repair, we’re ready to take on any project. So don’t wait –– call us today here at (586) 330-4920.


chimney caps

Why Are Chimney Caps So Important?

It’s hardly surprising that most homeowners don’t spend much time thinking about chimney caps. After all, chimney caps are inexpensive, they’re thoroughly unglamorous, and many homeowners don’t even realize that they need a cap for their chimney in the first place. Yet, the reality is, it’s important for everyone with a chimney in their home to purchase and maintain a cap for it. Here’s why:

Chimney Caps Limit Water Damage

Brick walls and exteriors –– especially those under twenty-five years old –– are solid and reliable. Indeed, one of the few things that can upset the structural integrity of a brick wall is moisture. Though brick is a strong material, it’s very porous, which means that water can pass through it. Over time, water damage can erode, chip, and splinter bricks. And the last place a homeowner wants to find brick damage is within their chimney. Besides the costs of chimney repairs, forgoing necessary chimney maintenance could create a safety hazard within your home. Fortunately, installing a simple chimney cap will limit your chimney’s exposure to rain and other forms of natural moisture.

Chimney Caps Prevent Animal Nests

Squirrels, birds, and other animals love to use the openings at the top of chimneys to build nests. While that might seem like a minor inconvenience at first, animal nests can block proper chimney ventilation and potentially cause build-ups of dangerous gases like carbon monoxide.

Chimney Caps Ensure Proper Ventilation

In addition to keeping rain and critters away from your chimney, chimney caps help maintain regular ventilation. Chimney caps inhibit wind from entering through the chimney and causing a downdraft within your house. As such, homeowners in particularly windy locales will want to invest in a chimney cap to stop this from occurring.   

Chimney Caps Help Contain Fires

No one likes to think about the possibility of a chimney fire, but there are over 25,000 chimney fires every year. Through a chimney cap won’t flat-out halt a chimney fire, it can contain burning embers and flames and stop them from spreading to your roof or adjoining buildings.

Chimney Caps Extend the Life of Your Chimney

As we mentioned above, a chimney cap is a small, inexpensive measure that can nevertheless save you a ton of money and plenty of stress. A chimney is a great addition to any home, but without proper maintenance, it can also cause thousands of dollars worth of damage. Thankfully, installing a simple cap will make chimney upkeep that much easier!

Contact a Professional

There’s no benefit to waiting to add a chimney cap to your home –– so take action today and hire a professional to do it! At Brickworks, we have years of experience helping homeowners just like you protect their homes and enjoy their chimney to the fullest. What’s more, we’ll work with you to find the best solution possible so that you can avoid unnecessary expenses. Whether you need assistance with a chimney cap or require foundation assessment, we’re ready to take on your project. Don’t wait –– contact our team here at (586) 330-4920.


Brick Deterioration

4 Ways To Prevent Brick Deterioration

Brick exteriors provide a myriad of benefits to homeowners. After all, bricks are durable, brick walls help cut down on utilities, and brick facades boast a classic look that never goes out of style. Plus, brick homes are typically low maintenance. However, unchecked brick deterioration can ruin the look of a brick wall and corrupt its structural integrity. The good news is, there are a few simple ways you can prevent brick deterioration from occurring to your home. Check them out here:

What Causes Brick Deterioration?

First, it’s important to determine what causes brick deterioration, or “spalling” in the first place. In general, two main culprits are to blame for brick fading, flaking, or crumbling: time and water. Brick surfaces are very strong, but they’re susceptible to the elements like anything else. Water in particular can cause problems within brick surfaces. As such, most of the best ways to prevent brick deterioration center around limiting the effect of water on your exterior.

Ensure Proper Drainage

There’s not much you can do to prevent rain affecting your home –– short of moving to an arid landscape! Yet, homeowners can mitigate against the effects of a wet climate by maintaining a proper drainage system for their house. Remember that this includes the structure underneath your home as well. Water that collects in soil can pass up through a brick structure or even seep into your home’s foundation if you're not careful.

Use a “Breathable” Sealant

The last thing any homeowner should want is to treat their brick exterior with a sealant that traps water under the surface. However, there are a number of products that do precisely that. This will only exacerbate the negative effects of water on brick –– since the sealant prevents moisture from escaping through the bricks’ porous surface. Therefore, always consult with a professional before applying brick sealant.  

Tuckpoint and Replace Crumbling Bricks

If you’ve recently purchased a brick home that’s over 25 years old, it’s prudent to tuckpoint your exteriors and replace any crumbling bricks in the facade. Tuckpointing is a relatively simple process that you can do on your own if the building has been well maintained and you’ve got the requisite tools and free time.

Minimize Power Washes

It’s okay to use a power washer to clean your brick exteriors occasionally, but power-washing excessively could contribute to brick deterioration and property damage. If you’re concerned about your home’s appearance, consult a professional for assistance.   

The Bottom Line

Regular brick-home maintenance is a simple, and effective, way to ensure the structural integrity of your house. What’s more, by staying on top of small issues now, you can avoid expensive measures like foundation repair in the future. At Brickworks, we specialize in brick and masonry solutions and can help you fix, restore, or maintain the home of your dreams. Our team has years of in-field experience, and we consistently deliver high quality service to achieve high quality results. Call us today here at (586) 330-4920 to protect the beauty and integrity of your brick home!


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!


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 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 a 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!