The subject of masonry repairs covers a wide range of activities related to the restoration of existing brick, block and stone walls.
Repair products and techniques improve the performance, longevity and attractiveness of an aging of defective building by reinstating its structural integrity, protecting it against the elements and preserving its aesthetic appearance.
What is masonry?
Masonry is the term used for structures built from individual building blocks bound together by mortar. The common materials used for masonry construction are brick, block, stone and cob. Masonry is generally a highly durable form of construction however, the overall durability of masonry structures can be significantly affected by:
- the nature of materials used
- the quality of the mortar
- the bond-pattern in which the units are built
- the standard of workanship
- the location, environment and exposure of the building.
Masonry is strong; it has high compressive strength under vertical loads but has low resistance to tensile loads. The tensile and flexural strength of masonry is greatly enhanced when it is reinforced with steel rods.
Why does masonry deteriorate?
Whist masonry buildings are proven to be long-lasting structures, there are two primary yet interconnected reasons by which deterioration is accelerated:
- Structural movement
During the lifespan of a building there is potential for structural movement. Overloading causes masonry to sag, inadequate lateral restraint cause walls to separate lean or bulge, moisture changes in the ground results in subsidence or heave. In most cases it is only when these distortions become visually obvious, or when cracks appear, that the safety of the structure is questioned. Cracked walls are usually the first sign that some type of movement is occurring in a building. They indicate that the masonry structure needs to relieve or redistribute applied stresses. This all leads to a lack of togetherness. The best way of increasing the longevity of cracked masonry is to reinforce it and to tie it together. Conversely the lack of continuity leaves the structures vulnerable to accelerating and disproportionate decline.
- Moisture Ingress
Water ingress and soluble salts are principal causes for the decay of structural masonry components. The absorption of water into a masonry wall is responsible for frost-damage to brickwork, sulphate attack of cement mortars and the rusting of buried iron or steel components (corroding wall ties, lintels and hoop iron for example). The battle against water can largely be won by good maintenance activities. Cracked masonry can be filled, defective mortar joints can be raked out and repointed, gutters can be kept clear of debris and hydrophobic water repellent coatings can be applied to wall surfaces.
Repairing Masonry Building Structures
The Structural Repairs Association has members who specialise in all aspects of masonry repair. Tried and tested products combine with modern restoration techniques to upgrade performance and extend the service-life of defective or decaying buildings. Find a contractor who specialises in masonry repair.
Structural Masonry Repair
- Stitching cracked walls
- Retrofitting masonry reinforcement
- Reconnecting parting walls with straps, ties and pins
- Filling & sealing cracks in walls
- Repointing defective mortar joints
- Applying waterproofing coatings
- Façade cleaning
- Patching erroded brick and stonework
- Brick tinting