why masonry structures need to be maintained and what can happen when they aren’t.
Masonry structures are popular in residential, commercial, and industrial construction for a number of reasons. Not only are these structures attractive and durable, but they also offer excellent fire-resistance, sound-proofing properties. Despite these advantages, masonry damage can happen for several reasons. Property owners should learn the causes of this damage and work with professional restoration contractors to remedy the problem.
What is masonry structure?
A masonry structure is a structure made from individual blocks or bricks of various sizes that are laid in mortar. It offers various benefits like higher energy efficiency, better sound insulation, thermal mass property and more. However, these structures can undergo damage for several reasons. Let’s look at some of those causes in detail:
Masonry damage causes
The primary cause of masonry damage is water penetration into the structure through cracks or openings in the mortar joints or wall cavities. This mostly happens due to damaged roofing systems or improper flashing around chimneys and other structural protrusions. The presence of water leads to expansion and contraction of materials leading to cracking and crumbling of the structure. If left unaddressed for long periods, it can even lead to structural issues with the building. Therefore, moisture control is one of the most common masonry restoration projects. Proper caulking and waterproofing of your masonry can prevent the damage, but only if it is done before the leak begins.
Cracks often appear in the masonry of buildings for a number of reasons. In fact, some cracking is simply the result of the natural movement of the building. As buildings settle, it is quite common for cracks to appear. Likewise, as the masonry itself expands and contracts in different weather conditions, and sometimes this can cause cracking. Both kinds of cracks are harmless and pose no threat to the structural integrity of the building.
Sometimes, cracking can be caused by a problem with the mortar. In these cases, a professional contractor will need to repair or replace the mortar to fix the crack and prevent future cracking. Natural disasters such as earthquakes and floods can also exert pressure on a masonry wall or foundation, leading to cracks. The best way to prevent cracking is to have a masonry contractor inspect the building to catch any cracks quickly, before they become a major problem.
Spalling occurs when bricks fall out of the masonry, leaving gaps behind. Though there are several different ways that spalling can happen, they are come down to two underlying factor: water damage and structural stresses.
While most buildings are designed to repel water, masonry structures are especially vulnerable because they consist of porous components like concrete and stone that tend to soak up water like a sponge. As water penetrates the masonry and weakens it through a cycle of freezing and thawing. Over time, it loosens the mortar around the brick and pushes the brick out from their original position.
Structural stresses happens in much the same way that they cause cracking. Buildings naturally move and settle over the course of their life. In most cases, this is not a big deal unless the building has rigid structures like masonry. These structures can be damaged by the movement of the building and cause cracks or breakage during the settling process.
Spalling is clearly a safety hazard, as the bricks fall, they can seriously injure people or cause more significant damage to the building itself. They can also cause a building’s walls to be uneven and disfigured, and create gaps in the masonry that are both unsightly and dangerous, as they weaken the overall structural integrity.
Bricks and stones are mainstays of masonry. To guarantee the strength and integrity of a masonry structure, it is imperative that these materials stay intact. However, the loss of adhesion between bricks and stones is a common problem in construction. It can lead to bulging or peeling, hollow patches, and flaking top layers.
Staining is a big problem for exterior-facing masonry walls. It occurs when masonry materials or mortar come into contact with the elements. Water seepage and aging walls are the main causes of masonry staining. They poses a costly problem for property owners conscious of their building’s curb appeal. It is a cosmetic problem, but staining in your masonry may also indicate that structural water damage may be present.
Displacement is a major structural problem, and it is expensive to repair. They are more likely to occurs when the lateral support anchors are insufficiently designed or improperly constructed. For instance, if a building has a brick veneer but the anchors are sized only for a brick wall and not for a brick veneer, it’s important that the anchors be upgraded. Since it is a structural issue, it absolutely must be repaired as soon as possible. Otherwise, your building is unsafe, both for the occupants and the people who pass by it.
Masonry& Bricklaying Restoration
The first step is to identify the root cause of damage and then fixing it. We can help on your commercial restoration projects in Metro Vancouver
- Brick repointing and sealing
- Cracks, Settlement, & Leaks
Contact us today to begin the process of repairing your damaged masonry walls and making them whole again!
We also offer below Concrete, Masonry& Bricklaying services for Commercial new construction, renovation projects in Metro Vancouver
- Manufactured Stones
- Natural Stones
- Exterior Tiles
- Concrete Blocks
- Concrete driveways
- Concrete sidewalks
- Concrete slabs
- Concrete pads
- Concrete Pavers
- Paving Stones
- Retaining Walls
- & Custom solutions.