An In-Depth Look At The Most Important Toronto Brick Maintenance

Careful Cleaning of Historic Brick BuildingKnowing the most important Toronto brick maintenance will help keep your brick structures standing strong for many generations to come. The most important brick maintenance to keep up with includes: preventing and treating water damage, repointing bricks when needed, and keeping bricks clean using gentle measures.

A common question our clients often ask is: how much maintenance do my bricks really need, and what’s most important? No one has an unlimited maintenance budget; therefore it’s nice to know what you should do on the regular and what you can put off a little longer.

Prevent Water Damage Now, Pay Less Later

Some of the most important brick maintenance is really just preventative measures, such as installing the proper drainage to prevent water damage. There are two common types of water damage, known as splash back and rising damp.

Splash back is when rain constantly beats against the same bricks, giving moisture the opportunity to seep inside, eventually causing the brick and/or mortar to crack.

Rising damp occurs when water from the ground seeps in from below, either due to flooding or poor irrigation. If this is the case you will likely notice a white line, known as a tide line. All moisture above this line will naturally evaporate, but the salts in the water remain and begin to break down the bricks over time.

At least once a year take a close look at any and all brick structures in order to pinpoint any early signs of water damage. Water damage is common, but if repaired right away should not create lasting problems for any brick stricture. It’s when water damage is ignored that larger issues arise.

The Importance Of Repointing Bricks

Repointing is an important form of brick maintenance that will help prevent you from having to conduct an entire rebuild one day. Repointing is necessary as soon as you notice the mortar joints running between bricks breaking down and forming cracks, holes and gaps. The mortar is made to protect bricks, taking on the brunt of damages, but if the mortar is weakened the bricks begin taking on damage. When bricks are damaged it is more work to fix, as opposed to mortar.

You can’t apply new mortar directly on top of old mortar, a common mistake DIYs commonly make. Instead, the old mortar must be completely removed and cleaned out to an exact point before refilling it with a properly matched mortar.

Matching mortar is fundamental on all repointing jobs, but this is especially true when repointing historic homes and buildings. New types of mortar will do more harm than good to older historic homes. Despite this fact, many contractors continue to use the wrong mortar on historic properties. Don’t let this happen to you! Turnbull Masonry is the expert at restoring Toronto’s oldest buildings; we repoint old and new buildings with a true focus on preservation. 

Keep Bricks Clean… Carefully

Mold, water efflorescence and other unsightly stains can cause issues down the road if left untreated. Keeping your bricks clean isn’t a full time job, but it should be taken care of as soon as you can see a build up taking place. A power hose may seem like an effective way to reduce stains but if improperly conducted could actually negate the stability of your entire structure by blowing off the top layer that helps prevent water from seeping inside. 

Plants and greenery growing out of bricks will also lead to problems if they are not taken care of. WARNING: do not yank out weeds or other greenery by hand. Otherwise, you could end up further damaging mortar and bricks.

What about paint? Painting bricks is common, but what happens when you want to remove this paint? Hopefully, bricks were in good condition prior to receiving a paint job, otherwise they could be in even worse shape after the coats of paint are removed.

The key is to remove the paint gently, that means NO SANDBLASTING! Sandblasting bricks causes them to become rough to the touch and lose their natural beauty and strength. Any chemicals applied to your bricks in order to remove paint should also be carefully considered and conducted by a professional in order to prevent altering the look, color or even stability of your bricks.

Long Lasting Bricks You Can Rely On

If you want your bricks to last many generations to come all you need to do is prevent and treat water damage, gently clean bricks as needed, and repoint mortar joints at the first sign of wear and tear. None of these services are cost prohibitive, instead they are all affordable services that will help prevent more costly issues from arising.

For superior Toronto brick maintenance contact Turnbull Masonry—we guarantee your bricks will thank you later!