As the weather warms up and springtime arrives, homeowners should welcome the opportunity to inspect their historic brick homes. This is especially important after winter's wear and tear; it's essential to stay on top of seasonal maintenance to prevent bigger problems down the line. Spring is the perfect time to thoroughly inspect your home, inside and out, in order to identify issues that may have been caused by weather or other factors during the winter months. Specifically, it’s crucial to check the bricks and mortar for any signs of damage or deterioration, so don’t hesitate: it’s time to schedule a spring inspection for your historic brick home.
What to Look for During a Spring Inspection
Although the spring inspection is especially important for historic brick homes, it does require some specialized knowledge and care. It’s wise to bring in a historic brick expert who can identify small defects in the brick and mortar and then provide immediate solutions. Remedying those issues quickly can save homeowners a lot of money in the long run.
Signs of exterior damage might actually appear inside first. Here's what to look for once the weather warms up:
Deterioration in the mortar - The mortar between the bricks can deteriorate over time. This can happen naturally as the mortar ages or be accelerated by exposure to the elements. Water damage is a common issue after the spring thaw, so be sure to check for cracks in the mortar and look for any obvious gaps, which can allow the water to seep into the walls and cause damage.
Loose or damaged bricks - Loose or damaged bricks can be a safety hazard and should be addressed immediately. Look for any bricks that are out of alignment, move, have cracks, or suffer from spalling or efflorescence.
Don't forget to look behind foundation plantings, which is an often-overlooked area, and carefully check around windows, doors, chimneys, and any exhaust pipes protruding from the brick. You should inspect the basement foundation from the inside as well.
If left unchecked, these issues can lead to serious structural problems and costly repairs down the line. That's why it's crucial to catch and address them early. A historic brick expert will have specialized knowledge and experience working within these unique historic homes, and they will be able to do a more thorough inspection to identify any issues you may have missed as well as to confirm whether what you’ve already identified needs immediate attention.
Why Hire a Historic Brick Expert This Spring?
Tuckpointing is essential to maintaining historic brick homes, and hiring an experienced professional to do this meticulous work is the only way to ensure that the repairs are done correctly.
Historic brickwork requires a specialized set of skills and knowledge, (which not all contractors possess), including an understanding of traditional tuckpointing techniques and the skill to match the original lime-based mortar mixture. Poorly executed repairs done with the wrong materials can cause more damage than the initial problem that was being addressed. Further, these mistakes decrease the value of a historic home.
Through their specialized training and experience, an expert will ensure the home's structural integrity, historic character, curb appeal, and value are maintained.
So, as the flowers begin to bloom and the birds start to sing, remember to contact Renaissance Development for your historic brick home inspection and, if necessary, the most historically accurate tuckpointing repairs for your beautiful old brick home.
Renaissance Development, experts in traditional tuckpointing methods, specialize in brick repair and restoration projects in Capitol Hill and many other historic neighborhoods in Washington, DC. Contact us today for a comprehensive spring inspection of your historic brick home.