Top 10 Signs Your Masonry Needs Repair

Brick houses and other masonry structures need regular maintenance to preserve their beauty and structural integrity. Identifying warning signs and scheduling annual inspections with a mason helps prevent damage, saving you money on repair costs in the long run.

Masonry cracks are normal, but wide fissures that extend more than 30 degrees threaten to collapse the wall structure. Other problems also warrant immediate attention, such as:

1. Cracks

When you see a crack in your masonry, it is understandable to be concerned. However, most cracks are perfectly normal and can simply be filled in. New houses will often have fine cracks as they settle into their foundation. However, jagged cracks that look like a set of stairs moving up the wall are more serious and need to be checked out by a professional.

If these cracks do not continue to grow and don’t show any signs of fresh movement then they will need a bit of tlc, but are not structurally damaging. It is also important to differentiate between a crack and a fissure. Fissures are natural occurrences within stone and do not require any repair work. However, they can be a nuisance if they cause water damage or affect the structure of the house. Get in touch with your local stone mason in Tulsa, OK today for an inspection to ease your concerns!

2. Leaks

While cracking is an obvious sign of needing repair, not all cracks are created equal. Thin L-shaped cracks in foundation areas and between bricks are relatively harmless and usually easy to fix, but jagged cracks in the shape of staircases can indicate more serious problems like moisture damage or structural damage.

Your building is one unit in which all elements work together, so if doors and windows start to stick when you open them or require more effort to operate, this could be an early warning sign that your masonry needs repair. Masonry professionals can help you repair and replace damaged mortar.

Bowed bricks are an indication that moisture has gotten behind the wall and caused it to sink. This can lead to rot, mold growth, and structural damage. The best way to prevent water damage is by having your masonry regularly inspected and power washed.

3. Water Damage

One of the most significant signs that your masonry needs repair is water damage. When water seeps into a brick wall, it can cause serious damage that may require costly masonry repair.

The most common cause of this issue is frost boil, which occurs when moisture seeps behind the brick masonry and disrupts its backing. This can push or pull the bricks, causing them to bulge. To fix this, a masonry contractor must remove the affected bricks and replace them with new ones.

Another way that water can cause damage is by eroding the mortar between bricks. If you notice any missing mortar, this is a sign that it’s time for tuckpointing, which involves filling in these areas to deny water entry and strengthen the structure. If left unattended, this can lead to the deterioration of the entire wall.

4. Efflorescence

When water seeps into concrete or masonry, it dissolves salts that are contained within the materials. As the water evaporates, these dissolved salts are left behind as white deposits on the surface of the material. This is called efflorescence and it can be a sign that there is moisture problem causing structural damage.

Efflorescence is not dangerous and can be easily removed with a power wash, but it should be cleaned as soon as you notice it because the longer it is left unattended, the more damage it causes to the masonry materials. It can also be a sign of larger problems in the structure that need to be addressed by professionals. If the efflorescence keeps returning, it is a good indicator that there is an ongoing moisture issue that needs professional attention. A professional can identify the cause of the moisture and recommend long-term solutions to prevent it from occurring again.

5. Compacted Bricks

A masonry contractor will replace these areas of compacted brick, and if necessary add push piers to the foundation. If the problem continues unchecked it will continue to affect surrounding bricks and could lead to the collapse of your home or other masonry structures.

Also known as bowed brick, this is an issue where the bricks on your exterior wall jut out or cave in around a specific area. It is often caused by moisture that seeps in behind the masonry, which warps the concrete and bricks to force them out or softens the wood or plaster that they are protecting.

If your masonry has vertical corner cracks, this isn’t necessarily a sign that it’s in need of repair as these types of cracks are normal and happen due to the natural expansion and contraction of bricks. However, it’s important to have these areas inspected by a mason to ensure that no moisture is getting in and causing further damage.

6. Vertical Corner Cracks

When you notice vertical cracks in brick walls, it’s time to get it inspected by a professional. These types of cracks are typically caused by settlement and can be more serious than other types of cracks like diagonal cracks.

These cracks are more common in older homes than newer ones because the foundation and framing sink when they settle. When they sink, the forces put pressure on the mortar and bricks. This causes the telltale cracking that many homeowners and real estate agents see.

While these cracks are unsightly, they usually don’t indicate structural damage. However, if they continue to grow over time, they’re a sign that your foundation needs repair. If you have these cracks, contact Turnbull Masonry to schedule a professional inspection and repair. They can take care of your brick and cinder block foundation to prevent further problems with your home’s foundation and structural integrity.

7. Bulging Bricks

Bulging bricks are a serious problem that should not be ignored. They are a sign of moisture seeping into the mortar joints, which causes the bricks to swell up. They often appear as if the window is no longer at the same level as the brick, or when parts of your facade are sticking out further than other sections.

A mason will work to find the source of moisture behind your brick wall before repairing it. They will replace any bricks that have been damaged, and they will also repoint the structure to prevent future moisture damage.

If you notice a bulging brick wall, contact a mason for repair immediately. This is a dangerous issue that could cause the entire wall to collapse, injuring anyone below it. A mason will install scaffolding, remove problematic bricks, clean them or replace them, reinstall anchors, and treat the underlying moisture to prevent further problems.

8. Missing Mortar

Most brick or stone masonry walls need to be repointed every 15-20 years, but if you notice the mortar deteriorating, it is definitely time for repairs. Without sufficient mortar, bricks will rub against each other and warp, causing serious damage.

While thin cracks in L-shaped areas of foundation walls are usually harmless, any vertical corner cracks should be repaired immediately. These cracks allow moisture to penetrate the wall, compromising the integrity of the structure.

Missing mortar can also be a sign of a masonry infestation. Holes in the mortar between bricks are often caused by masonry bees, and should be addressed as soon as possible. Repairing this issue in its early stages is much less expensive than waiting for it to get worse. Masonry experts can quickly replace damaged and missing mortar, preventing further damage.

9. Loose Bricks

Whether your brick walls are new or old, loose bricks indicate that it is time to call in professional masons. Loose bricks are a hazard, as they may fall and damage property or injure someone. They also pose a structural risk, as they compromise the integrity of the wall and can cause further damage to the surrounding bricks and mortar.

Crumbling brick, called spalling, is another sign that masonry needs repair. Typically, it results from corrosion of the shelf angle installed behind the bricks to distribute weight so that no one area supports too much of the structure’s weight.

Masons can repair crumbling brick and mortar by repointing or tuckpointing the structure’s walls. This is a simpler, cheaper and faster process than replacing the entire wall. It will help prevent further damage, too. Masons will ensure that any new mortar matches the existing brickwork. Click here to get in touch with your local tulsa mason today:

10. Stains

Stains on your brick walls are a sure sign of damage and needing repair. If your brick is stained, a mason can often fix the problem using techniques like tuckpointing that involve chipping out old mortar and then replacing it with new to reseal the wall.

Masonry is sturdy and durable, but even the toughest materials wear down over time. It’s crucial to look for signs that masonry is in need of repair, and to contact a mason as soon as possible.

A leaking chimney, cracks in your brick walls, or efflorescence are all early indicators that it’s time to call for a professional mason. The longer these issues go unaddressed, the more damage they’ll cause. This can lead to structural problems, mold growth, and other serious issues.

Brick houses and other masonry structures need regular maintenance to preserve their beauty and structural integrity. Identifying warning signs and scheduling annual inspections with a mason helps prevent damage, saving you money on repair costs in the long run. Masonry cracks are normal, but wide fissures that extend more than 30 degrees threaten to collapse…