If you have a brick chimney or if your home is made of brick, then you should be inspecting the mortar that is installed between the brickwork. This mortar will deteriorate with age, and you will need to hire a professional for a special type of masonry work service called tuckpointing. Tuckpointing is related to the installation of new mortar, so keep reading to learn about some signs that this service is required.
Your Mortar Is Crumbling
The most obvious and common sign that you need new mortar is the fact that the old mortar has started to crumble and deteriorate. This happens when the mortar starts to get old after a few decades. Oftentimes you will see missing sections of mortar with loose mortar releasing when you touch the joints.
If you look closely at aged mortar, you should see that it has begun to shrink. This happens as it begins to lose its integrity and strength and pulls away from the brick. This sort of mortar will scratch easily and will develop a powder when disturbed, so you can test it by using a screwdriver or key. Lightly scratch several areas of the mortar, and if you see a white material, then you should be investing in some tuckpointing.
Keep in mind that tuckpointing services should be completed well before even a third or quarter of the mortar breaks away. If you do not, then the bricks themselves may start to loosen. Loose bricks toward the base of the structure may mean a complete restoration and possibly a rebuild.
You See A White Material On The Bricks
If you start to see a white material appearing on your bricks from time to time, or if the discoloration seems to be a permanent feature, then it is probably time to invest in masonry services. The white formation is called efflorescence, and it is a crystallized and salty deposit that actually comes from inside the bricks. For the deposits to appear, the interior surfaces of the bricks must be exposed to water. This exposure pulls the salt up to the surface, and the water is transported most often through the deteriorated mortar.
While the efflorescence itself does not cause damage to the brick chimney or wall, it does tell you that moisture is being retained. Over time this can cause structural integrity issues, and it may even lead to the development of mold and mildew on the inside of the chimney.
For more information, reach out to a masonry work service.