There will come a time when your brickwork will need to be repaired or replaced. To better understand when this may occur, we offer this guide below.
What Is the Lifespan of Brick and Mortar?
Brick structures can last for over 100 years, and many of the oldest buildings in the country were built with brick and mortar. However, factors like the environment, exposure to the weather can affect the lifespan.
Another essential component of a brick structure’s lifespan is the mortar. Mortar joints typically only last 20 to 30 years. In environments with high humidity and intense heat, like Dallas, the lifespan may be shorter.
How Can You Help Extend the Lifespan of Brick?
The best way to care for bricks is to take care of the surrounding mortar. One of the primary purposes of mortar is protecting the brick from potential damage. However, if it loses integrity, the mortar will be unable to stop the destruction from spreading to the brick.
So, routine maintenance of mortar is essential to extending the life of the bricks. This process is called tuckpointing, and it involves replacing damaged mortar joints with fresh ones. Tuckpointing should generally be done at the first sign of trouble. If bricks become loose, then you’ll likely need more intensive repairs, if not a complete replacement.
What Are the Early Warning Signs of Brick or Mortar Damage?
Catching problems early is critical to stopping their progression into larger, costlier issues. So, make sure to keep an eye out for these common warning signs:
- Cracks in the mortar
- Cracks in drywall or plaster in home’s interior
- Doors or windows no longer closing properly
- Holes in bricks or mortar
- Mortar crumbling
- Uneven floors
- Water damage
Some of these signs can be repaired fairly easily without needing extensive brick repair or replacement. Doing so will save you both time and money in the long run.
When Should You Seek Our Repairs or Brick Replacement?
When facing the potential of repairing or replacing your bricks, ask yourself these four key questions:
- Can the brick be turned around?
- How damaged is the brick?
- How stable is the structure?
- What caused the damage?
When it comes to cosmetic damage, it may be possible for a mason to remove the brick, turn it around, and put it back in the wall or structure. If keeping the original brick is important, as is the case with historic buildings, this can keep the structure from needing new bricks that may harm its monetary or emotional value.
If the brick is too worn or crumbling, then turning the brick around or repairing it may not be enough. In this case, you’ll likely need to completely replace the damaged brick before it causes further issues with the surrounding bricks.
These further issues could include parts of the building or structure bowing or leaning. These are symptoms of instability. To keep the structure safe, the entire brick wall may need replacing.
Before fixing this damage, though, it’s essential to have a mason inspect the building and determine if there may be underlying issues at play. If the underlying issue is not fixed, too, then the brickwork will continue to be problematic.
Who Should You Call When You Experience Brick Issues?
The Brick Experts are here to help with a variety of masonry services, from construction to repair and replacement to brick restoration. We serve the Dallas-Fort Worth area and are available for new construction and remodeling projects.