Moisture and Masonry on Your Homes Bricks

Moisture can do a great amount of damage to your home. This is especially true when you live in a climate where freezing occurs. Water turns to ice which expands when frozen and this can cause quite a lot of damage to your bricks and concrete products in your home.

Bricks for building may be made from clay, shale, soft slate, calcium silicate, concrete, or shaped from quarried stone. However, true bricks are ceramic, and therefore created by the action of heat and cooling. Clay is the most common material, with modern clay bricks formed in one of three processes – soft mud, dry press, or extruded.

Professional home inspectors often find homeowners have plugged their bricks weep holes with spray foam or other filling products. Weep holes are required every 24 inches on the first row of brick above the flashing in Canada. Free flowing screens or other devices may be utilized to keep out insects.

Poor workmanship is one of the main causes of brick failure. The rate of water absorption is probably the most important factor concerning workmanship. Knowing the correct mixture for the ambient temperature also affects the bonding of mortar and brick. The results will affect how “rain proof” the wall is.

Brick walls are never waterproof. Bricks and mortar are able to absorb a great deal of moisture in multiple ways and must be able to breathe to eliminate this moisture. Sealing weeping holes eliminates the drainage of the space behind bricks which also allows for air movement in cavity. Solar heat will drive moisture on surface of bricks through into the cavity adding to moisture content.

Solar heat will drive moisture on surface of bricks through into the cavity adding to moisture content. The clay brick is especially vulnerable to moisture and will eventually lose pieces of exterior facing which is known as spalling.

The Barrie Home Inspector routinely comes across this problem at the early stages of mortar cracking and routinely points out to his clients the benefits of maintenance in preventing more severe damage. The old adage of “an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure” is especially true in the maintenance of your brick window sills.

Want to find out more about The Premier Barrie Home Inspector, then visit The Barrie Home Inspector’s Maintenance Tipssite to find all the methods for protecting your home.

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