Bricks are among the most durable construction materials. Unfortunately, the mortar that holds bricks together isn't designed to last quite as long as the bricks themselves.
Water can leave your mortar in poor condition. You must address mortar problems quickly to ensure that your home remains structurally sound. In order to invest in timely repairs, you need to be able to identify mortar problems quickly. Try looking for the following tell-tale signs of mortar joint damage when inspecting your brick surfaces in the future,
The color of your mortar can tell you a lot about the condition of each joint. You want the mortar to have a consistent color across the entire brick surface.
Areas of discoloration could indicate water infiltration. As the water seeps into the mortar itself, mold and mildew can form. These substances alter the appearance of the mortar by causing it look stained.
Evidence of discoloration in your mortar warrants the help of a masonry joint inspector, such as those at G.H. Erickson & Son, to determine the severity of the water damage.
Another visual indicator that the masonry joint in your brick surface may be deteriorating is cracks within the mortar. Exposure to the elements over time can cause masonry to start deteriorating.
Cracks form when the mortar starts to dry out. Dry mortar can no longer keep connecting bricks in place, compromising the structural integrity of your brick surface. Cracks also serve as access points for water, leaving your brick surface susceptible to water damage.
Mortar that is in good condition should be smooth and flat. Inspect your mortar joints for any raised areas. These raised areas are referred to as blisters, because they resemble the blisters you might get on your feet after a long hike.
Blistering occurs when water becomes trapped within an air pocket in the mortar. If you don't have blistering mortar joints repaired, the water could freeze and expand. This will cause your bricks to shift and put your brick surface at risk of total failure. The condition of the mortar joints can tell you a lot about the condition of your masonry. Inspect your brick surfaces often, paying close attention to the appearance of the mortar. Any irregularities in color or smoothness should be taken seriously.
Mortar inspectors can be called in to help you determine the extent of the damage and to identify any damaged areas you might have missed during your own visual inspection.