Brick is a long-lasting material, as proven by the millions of buildings that are hundreds of years old and still standing. However, masonry will fare much better — and for longer — when owners create and follow a plan for masonry preventive maintenance. Here are the top reasons routine inspections are crucial to keeping properties healthy.
Water damage is the enemy when it comes to masonry work of all kinds. Fortunately, checking for cracks and leaks is not difficult, and the vast majority of problems can be seen just with a visual inspection. Following these guidelines can make the process run smoothly and ensure issues are corrected:
- Timing: The masonry should be checked in spring after the last freeze of the year and in the fall before the first freeze.
- Trouble zones: The place most likely to show damage is where two different materials meet, such as around thresholds.
- Telltale signs: Spider cracks in the mortar are the most obvious sign of water damage. Chalk-looking stains are another sure signal of infiltration.
Any building that shows signs of problems with the masonry can cause safety concerns. Mortar that gets too weak can lead to broken and falling bricks in addition to overall structural problems with the building. Maintaining properties that include brickwork is crucial to the people who live and work there as well as the longevity of the building. Here are some repairs that must be addressed immediately:
- Cracks: These must be sealed with a repellant that allows for evaporation.
- Caulking: A full re-caulk is advised every five to eight years, particularly in places with a warm-freeze cycle.
- Others: Moldy insulation, missing flashing and major cracks should all be fixed right away to prevent costly repairs later.
Of course, the reason any owner should create and follow a routine maintenance plan on a brick building comes down to cost. Small repairs on a yearly basis can thwart the need for a full removal and replacement of brick work. Here are some other ways regularly scheduled inspections can save money:
- Photos: Before and after pictures of repairs will help track which areas were corrected and when.
- Remove plants: Ivy and other climbing plants love brickwork, but they can strain the structure and hide damage from view.
- Materials: It’s vital that any repair be made with the right materials, especially sealants made especially for masonry.
Maintaining masonry is an important job when it comes to ensuring the health and safety of a building. A few yearly checks and small repairs can make all the difference in both these areas.
For more information on masonry maintenance in the Boston metro area, give us a call at 617-622-5946.