Part of the appeal of owning a historic brick home is brick's resilience through weather and years. That said, it does require attentive care and maintenance. Keeping it in good shape is essential to keep it looking good, maintaining its structural integrity, and adding to the resale value of your home.
Here are some specific maintenance steps to take for ensuring that your older brick home looks good and lasts for years to come.
Schedule an annual inspection of your home’s brick exterior. Doing so ensures that you catch any deterioration or potential trouble spot before it becomes a larger issue requiring more expensive repairs or further damage to other parts of the home, including those that may penetrate the interior. In addition, it’s not a bad idea to have a pro take a look to catch issues in hard-to-reach spots or areas not well lit. Here are things to look for:
- Mortar – crumbling, stair-step cracking around bricks, separating mortar, general deterioration.
- Efflorescence – salt leeching from your bricks that appears as a white powdery substance
- Surface debris – Look for dirt, mold, mildew.
- Brick integrity – Shifting, cracking, spalling, erosion, or excessive wear; missing bricks.
- Structural issues – Bowing of brick areas going inward or outward; sections of wall collapse
Addressing Brick Maintenance
Issues found with your brick during the annual inspections should be addressed asap, especially before winter.
- Cleaning brick surfaces – Never use high-power water pressure or sandblasting to remove surface debris from your brick exterior. You risk removing the protective outer surface and creating pockmark damage. This weakens the structure of the brick and invites further environmental damage. Instead, use low-pressure wands or scrub with a stiff bristle brush using water and biodegradable detergent.
- Water damage – Efflorescence, mold, and mildew on brick surfaces are not tough to surface clean. However, each may indicate too much moisture and perhaps more serious issues to address before cleaning the brick.
- Brick and structure repair – means repair or replace damaged brick and address collapsing areas. Be sure to investigate the origin or cause of the deterioration or structural collapse before repair.
- Tuckpointing – this is necessary when mortar joints become soft, cracked, or damaged. Tuckpointing removes old mortar around existing brickwork with fresh mortar application done by layers in double thickness in the joint. Old historical homes need new mortar to match the existing mortar. A tuckpointing professional will get it right.
As the owner of a historic brick home, you have a lot to consider when presented with maintenance or repairs that must meet the guideline of local ordinances and homeowner associations. Don’t get overwhelmed. Renaissance Development can help identify and address any brick or masonry trouble spots in your home exterior. Contact us today to set up your inspection or for more information regarding brick exterior maintenance.