About Masonry pointing, cleaning or caulking

The image of any building constructed with masonry typically conjures thoughts of a structure designed for permanence and durability - a construction so sound that it will last through many decades. After all, masonry structures dating to ancient times still stand tall in many places all over the world. Yet over time, even the most soundly designed and constructed masonry buildings require some attention. Extreme weather conditions and the general effects of time may lead to a need for masonry repair. Or, in some cases, poor building design or construction may be the cause.

Left unrepaired, masonry damage can lead to numerous problems including water leaks, decreased property value, increased energy expenses and personal injury. By recognizing the symptoms and taking action, however, owners can avoid the pitfalls of masonry issues. A building owner may notice cracking at the corner of the building or a step cracking off of the corner of an opening, efflorescence or deteriorating mortar joints. Random cracking and spalling of the brick fašade, parapets that are bowed or have moved away from the building at the corners, cracks at foundation corners, and cracks at the wall's offsets all are symptoms that should be investigated to determine the root cause.

Contemporary structures and buildings constructed prior to 1920, often referred to as historic buildings, usually have very different root causes of masonry damage. Therefore, each building type requires an understanding of the construction method to determine the root cause and potential repair options. Regardless of the building's age, seeking attention at the earliest sign of problems, avoiding common misconceptions and following the counsel of a qualified restoration contractor or restoration design professional will go a long way toward managing the problem effectively.

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