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 styles

7 Common Mortar Joint Styles & How to Recognize Them

When it comes to brick and masonry work, the devil is in the details. Indeed, small decisions and precise execution are often the differences between professional and amateur brick repair. One great example of this is the formation of mortar joint styles. Mortar joints are the mixtures of mortar and/or grout that rest in between bricks. And if you’ve never worked on a brick structure before, you may not realize that not all mortar joints are the same. In fact, there are seven common different joint styles –– each with their own set of pros and cons. We’ll explain them all here so that you can recognize them for yourself: 

Concave Joint

This is the most common type of mortar joint used in exterior brick walls. Concave joints are, unsurprisingly, shaped with a slightly curved, concave pattern. This allows for maximum water resistance because it prevents rain from accumulating on any flat surfaces. By looking closely, you should be able to see a small depression in the mortar joints between the bricks of an exterior wall. 

V Joint

Unlike a concave joint, which has a rounded center, V joints have a v-shaped appearance. When constructed properly, V joints can also help prevent water damage. However, they are more difficult to form correctly and can enable water accumulation in some instances. 

Flush Joint

Flush joints sit exactly in line with bricks on a wall. Because of this, flush joints are harder to form and maintain (since mortar will naturally squeeze out from under brick) and harder to waterproof. Typically, mortar joints are used in walls that are going to be plastered or painted over anyway, and the decision to use them is often a stylistic one. 

Extruded Joint

Extruded joints are the only type of joint that don’t require tooling equipment. Rather, you can form an extruded joint simply by placing bricks on top of mortar. The mortar will push out and form an extrusion that sits between bricks. This is not to be recommended, though, since the extra surface area practically invites water damage. 

Internal Wall Joints

There’s a big difference between interior and exterior brick walls. While the following joint styles have unique aesthetic qualities, they don’t provide water resistance and are not recommended for external use:

    • Grapevine Joint. Grapevine joints were very popular during America’s colonial period and are now most often used when dealing with antiques or retro-styled brickwork. 
    • Raked Joint. Raked joints are similar to flush joints, but rather than aligning perfectly with the brick, they sit back about 2mm. This gives the joint a depressed look and subsequently makes the bricks “pop.” Not recommended for external use.
    • Struck & Weathered Joints. Both are formed using a sharp angle to create a mortar “slope” in between bricks. Struck joints slant downwards and should not be used in exterior walls. Weathered joints slant up and can sometimes be used in exteriors. 


Precisely forming a mortar joint style requires persistence, patience, and the appropriate tools. Thankfully, the professionals at Brickworks Property Restoration have the experience and the equipment to tackle any brick or masonry job –– no matter how big, small, straightforward, or complex. Contact us here at (586) 330-4843 for more information. We’re happy to take on domestic and commercial projects!