Fort Worth is known for its stockyards, friendly residents, and severe weather patterns. While summers in the area have brought a record high of 120°F, winters have brought cold spells that dip as low as -1°F. The latter can pose a serious problem for a city full of neighborhoods with brick houses. Brick is known to be one of the most durable building materials available, but it’s not impervious to the threat posed by severe winter weather. Indeed, freeze-damaged brick is common in the Fort Worth area, necessitating brick repair and brick restoration to maintain the integrity of your home’s exterior.

Understanding What Happens to Brick When Frost and Freezing Weather Comes

Why exactly does winter weather pose a threat to brick houses? The problem appears when temperatures dip below the freezing point — 32°F. This weather is often accompanied by frost, further exacerbating the threat to brick structures. Frost and freezing weather are detrimental because they allow moisture absorbed by bricks to expand and cause cracking. Brick is naturally porous, so this type of damage — called spalling — is a serious concern.

What Do Frost Damaged Bricks Look Like?

Bricks that have been damaged by frost are often recognizable by flaking and deterioration that are visible on the brick’s surface. The exterior may have a crumbling appearance, and in severe cases, chunks of the brick may even be falling out. Other visible indicators include a white powdery substance on bricks’ exterior, a symptom of efflorescence — the crystalline salt deposit that can occur when water freezes and expands in a brick’s porous material.

Signs of Masonry Damage

The aforementioned visible symptoms aren’t the only signs that your masonry has sustained freeze-induced damage. Another major sign of freeze-damaged brick is the appearance of leaks penetrating your home’s exterior or chimney. When this happens, water can leak into a wall cavity, and in severe cases, escalate to cause flooding and a range of other issues. If your home has a brick chimney that’s leaking due to freezing damage, it can eventually cause damage to your roof if the problem is left unaddressed.

Ways You Can Protect Brick Against Frost Damage

Although spalling is a widespread problem in Fort Worth, TX, there are several steps you can take to prevent it from affecting your home. The first step to doing so is to ensure that your home’s drainage system is working properly. Ideally, your gutters should direct water away from your home so that its brick exterior isn’t soaked or submerged in water. Similarly, you should pay attention to pipework that’s affixed to your home and ensure that there are no leaks or blockages that may put your brick exterior at risk of unnecessary water exposure.

Regularly Look Over Brickwork for Moisture and Discoloration

One of the best ways to fight against the threat of frost-damaged brick is to simply evaluate its exterior on a regular basis. It’s easy to let freeze-damaged brick worsen and go unnoticed if you neglect to perform a visual assessment from time to time. If you live in a home with a brick exterior, you should routinely check for moisture, discoloration, and other indications of spalling. Catching these issues early can prevent them from eventually causing bigger problems.

Make Sure Your Masonry Is In Good Condition Pre-Winter

As winter approaches, you should be prepared for the possibility of severe weather — and this means more than just stocking up on bread and milk. You also need to take care of your home’s brick exterior in anticipation of potential freezing. To do so, you should assess the condition of your masonry and ensure there’s no cracking, crumbling, or discoloration that may be indicative of spalling. If you notice any such symptoms, it’s wise to invest in brick repair before winter hits and threatens to worsen the problem.

Know When It’s Time to Call a Professional Brick Repair and Restoration Expert

If you do happen to notice that there are signs of spalling evident in your masonry, you can attempt some DIY brick restoration techniques, but you’re better off calling in an expert. A professional brick restoration expert can identify the source of the damage and offer the best solution to stop the damage from progressing. Brick Experts serves the Dallas Fort Worth area by providing these services to homeowners, landlords, and homeowners’ associations. If you want to protect your home’s masonry against frost damage, we can help. Call us at (817) 901-0236 or reach out to us online.

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