Brick is one of the most popular and durable media used to construct a home’s exterior. The Romans of old constructed highways of bricks, and such was their durability that many are still in use today. Brick can even be reused as old constructions are torn down.
If your home is built of bricks, you’re guaranteed its energy-efficiency and aesthetic beauty. However, to keep it in prime condition, you must perform some basic maintenance practices unique to the material.
Here are some tips for maintaining your brick home.
Carry out regular inspections and repairs
To maintain a brick house, you simply cannot dispense with regular inspections. You should note, however, that the potential damage is not a function of the bricks themselves. Rather, it results from the mortar holding them together.
Hose the brick down and inspect for crumbling mortar. If you notice any damage to the mortar, ensure to quickly patch it with new mortar to avoid issues with water seeping into the building.
Additionally, if you live in a frigid zone where the building receives little or no sunlight, inspect the brick for mildew, mold, or moss growth. You can quickly remove such outgrowth with some household bleach.
Replace damaged bricks
On rare occasions, the bricks themselves, durable as they are, may be damaged. If you discover such an instance in any of your inspection rounds, ensure that you replace them adequately.
To do this, you can chisel out the surrounding mortar, clean the opening, and dampen it with water or a bonding agent. Then, spread the new mortar across the opening’s bottom and insert the brick. Afterward, apply the mortal to the top and sides to completely seal up the opening.
Apply the finishing touch and eliminate residues by smoothing out the new joints with your fingers.
Unclog the weep holes
Brick homes typically have tiny spaces built into the mortar at various spots called weep holes. These holes act as a moisture-draining conduit to prevent flooding, increase ventilation and prevent mold and mildew growth.
However, these weep holes can get clogged over time, potentially resulting in moisture damage to the bricks. To prevent this, you should regularly inspect and unclog the weep holes. Eliminate visible clogs with a wire or by applying compressed air to the spot.
Afterward, run steady water streams through the holes to ensure it’s free of any material blocking them.
Eliminate evidences of efflorescence
It’s important to check for signs of efflorescence. Efflorescence is slow-growing salt crystals that move to the surface when moisture penetrates the brick. You can identify it from the chalky residue on the brick's surface.
You can remove it by cleaning it off with stiff brushes. However, the stains can be particularly stubborn and require a cleaning agent.
Remove unwanted plant growth
You should check for vines and other plants and remove them. Although they look great on the surface of the brick, they’re actually extremely damaging as they erode the surface.
When you find plants growing off the walls, cut them at the stem, and allow them to die off naturally, rather than pulling them off. If you try to pull them off, you’ll most likely destroy the brick in the process.
Of course most of the process outlined in this piece would be best done by professionals. A mason is best equipped to provide you with relevant advice on your stone and brick walls. And you won’t find a better mason in Pittsburg than Phillips Masonry. Contact us today to get started.