Maintaining the structural integrity of your individual or commercial real estate is a key responsibility of property ownership. Cracked mortar affects your property’s appearance and may create more expensive problems. Learn four things that may cause brick mortar to crack and what to do about these issues.
1. Temperature Fluctuations
Temperature changes may cause bricks and soil to expand and contract at different rates, putting stress on the mortar. The stress weakens the mortar’s bond and causes cracks over time.
You may either repair the mortar or replace the masonry. If the brick is less than 50 years old, you can use standard cement-based mortar to fill cracks. A silane or siloxane sealer will protect the brick—and other masonry, such as pavers—from cracking, spalling, and staining.
2. Foundation Settlement
One of the most common things that causes brick mortar to crack is foundation settlement. Settling is a natural process caused by shifting soil under the foundation.
However, excessive settlement or uneven movement can put excess pressure on the walls. Soil conditions and poor drainage are two factors that cause foundation movement. Conduct thorough inspections of the property’s foundation and address settlement issues promptly to prevent further settling and extensive damage.
3. Poor Quality Materials or Techniques
Cutting corners on construction materials and building techniques may seem cost-effective upfront, but they create more expenses down the line. Improper construction or substrate can lead to premature cracking.
Work with reputable contractors who use high-quality materials suitable for the environment. Contractors will use different techniques to prepare and apply mortar depending on weather conditions.
4. Water Damage
When water seeps into the mortar, it can cause serious damage. When water freezes in mortar joints, it expands and weakens the mortar’s bonds.
Water can also erode mortar over time, causing deterioration. Install effective drainage systems that redirect water away from the building’s foundation. You can also seal and waterproof damaged mortar joints.
Temperature fluctuations, foundation settlement, poor construction, and water damage may damage brick mortar. Protect your investment now and for the long term by addressing these problems.