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General Inspection Discussion This is a place for general discussion about the home inspection industry. Try to keep the posts topical, but they need not be as specific as the other areas of this board.

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Old 4/10/07, 1:34 PM
Robert A. Jack Robert A. Jack is offline
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Default Brick and stone Mortar deteriorating

Hello to all. I have a question I'm hoping someone can answer. I inspect homes in the North East. What's happining when the mortar between brick and stone deteriorates, even the face of the brick is deteriorated to a depth of aprox. 1/4" to 1/2". On homes with brick or stone foundations, and a considerable amount of effervescence on the walls and the mortar is all but gone, turned into dust - what is the fix and what can be done to stop the deterioration? What is causing the problem? The bricks are about 50 years old.
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Old 4/10/07, 5:10 PM
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Jason1 Jason1 is offline
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Default Re: Brick and stone Mortar deteriorating





Short list, hope it helps.


Expansion and contraction due to freeze/thaw cycles
Expansion of soluble salts – efflorescenceThermal expansion and contractionExpansion of rusting metal contiguous to the masonry unitsPainted masonry – moisture trapped in the masonry may not be able to escapeMasonry “sealed” with an inappropriate sealerEffects of acid rainFailure to properly repair mortar joints (repointing) soon
after initial mortar failureUsing an incorrectly formulated repair mortar for repointing Failure to repointIncompatible materials with differing physical characteristics contiguous to each otherImperfections in the masonry units from the fabrication or manufacturing processMasonry units installed incorrectly – poor workmanshipPoor detailing, design and specificationsWind erosionBiological growth – plant lifeRising damp – the vertical migration of water through masonry by way of capillary actionSplash back – water falling from the roof line, impacting the ground and splashing against the masonryImpact from vehicles etc.SettlingBirds and other mammals

Often, several of these forces work simultaneously on the masonry. It is only after the cause has been determined that the best appropriate repair can be recommended.
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Old 4/10/07, 6:18 PM
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Marcel R. Cyr, CMI Marcel R. Cyr, CMI is offline
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Default Re: Brick and stone Mortar deteriorating

Pictures would be handy to view if any.

Masonry in the NorthEast have many variables and a lot of speculation can be made and that is all they would be.

Let us start with the mortar that could have been used;

M A S O N W O R K

The underlined letters indicate the type of Mortars that can be used and also spells who is doing it.

Each type of mortar plays a great roll in what is expected of a masonry facade.

Then comes the type of brick or stone.

Once this is established one can continue to the Building Science of the Trade and Building Envelope.

If there is visible problems as witnessed in the inspection, I would note it as such, reccommend a Masonry Contractor to evaluate and move on.

Wish I could help more, but this would be to long to list.

Marcel

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Old 4/10/07, 9:48 PM
Robert A. Jack Robert A. Jack is offline
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Default Re: Brick and stone Mortar deteriorating

Thank you for the reply information. I told my customer just that. The problem is bad enough that they need to have a qualified contractor evaluate the situation, then I moved on.
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Old 4/11/07, 7:01 AM
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David P. Valley David P. Valley is offline
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Default Re: Brick and stone Mortar deteriorating

Brick deterioration generally occurs in one of two ways...

1) Spalling and deterioration. Spalling is caused by moisture getting into the brick, freezing and 1/8 inch to 1/4 inch of the surface separates and falls off. This damage will be apparent, and the remaining part of the brick will still be relatively hard.

2) Deterioration of soft brick looks like it is being worn by natural elements. This is typically a salmon or an orange, clay brick that was intended for use on the inside layer of a solid masonry wall.

Spalling and/or deteriorated bricks can be chiseled out and replaced. In an 8 inch wall, you might easily take out 20 bricks at a time without serious concerns about the structure. Consult a structural engineer if the damage is extensive or if you are unsure.
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Old 4/11/07, 11:50 AM
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whandley whandley is offline
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Default Re: Brick and stone Mortar deteriorating

Quote:
Originally Posted by rjack1
Hello to all. I have a question I'm hoping someone can answer. I inspect homes in the North East. What's happining when the mortar between brick and stone deteriorates, even the face of the brick is deteriorated to a depth of aprox. 1/4" to 1/2". On homes with brick or stone foundations, and a considerable amount of effervescence on the walls and the mortar is all but gone, turned into dust - what is the fix and what can be done to stop the deterioration? What is causing the problem? The bricks are about 50 years old.
efflorescence?
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