Many homeowners choose brick and stone masonry because of its low upkeep. But, just as any other type of construction work, sometimes there can be problems with the masonry work. If you’re wondering when to use a mason, here are some common signs suggesting masonry repair is needed.
What is a Mason?
Masons are professionals who use bricks, concrete or natural stones to build structures such as walkways, walls and fences. Much of their work is done on homes, although some masons build commercial structures.
They also repair structures, such as driveways, siding, patios, chimneys and retaining walls. Besides brick masons (or bricklayers), there are also block masons and stone masons.
Mortar Joint Issues
One of the main problems found in masonry work is mortar joints. These are the joints that are responsible for holding together masonry work. In most cases, mortar joints last from 20 to 30 years. However, conditions such as climate, can shorten the life of mortar joints.
Cracks appearing in the mortar are one of the most common signs that you need masonry repair. Usually, cracks in a masonry wall are the result of moisture or thermal expansion. When you see cracks in a masonry wall, monitor them to determine if they’re active or continue to spread.
If so, they need to have a mason seal them with a flexible sealant. The most effective and simplest way to repair damaged mortar joints is a process known as tuckpointing. This is a repair method that involves replacing fallen mortar that has slipped out around the stonework.
Signs That Tuckpointing May Be Needed
Besides noting cracks in the mortar, there are other common signs that suggest tuckpointing needs to be done by a skilled mason. For example:
- Holes or gaps in the mortar can indicate that you need masonry repair.
- If your mortar is crumbling, this is another warning. In addition to looking ugly, this can also be dangerous as it can result in bricks falling out, as well as water seeping behind the walls. What’s more, the holes created from crumbling mortar can serve as nesting places for bees.
- Noting a white substance on masonry surfaces can be an indication that there’s a problem, requiring the expertise of a mason.
Considerations and Warnings
- Some of the main areas where tuckpointing is done are around a house foundation, a chimney or the outside steps of a home.
- Ask about the cost of a job, and if there is a payment schedule. Some contractors require you to pay for half of the cost upfront to cover for material costs.
- Don’t pay until you’re totally satisfied with the job.
- Make sure your mason contractor promises to clean up after completing a project.
Don’t hesitate to call us when detecting any of these signs in your masonry. Failing to address masonry problems can result in high repair costs later, as well as considerable frustration. We serve homeowners in the greater Atlanta and Nashville areas with a wide range of services, including home remodeling, property maintenance and home upkeep. Please contact us.