Masonry Repair

Masonry Repair is repairing deteriorating brick, mortar and stone structures. Masonry Repair Charleston SC includes tuckpointing, brick and stone replacement and cleaning, shelf angle, and lintel restoration.

Masonry ContractorsCrumbling mortar in a brick wall or chimney isn’t just ugly; it can be dangerous. It needs to be repaired right away before it worsens and damages the structural integrity of the building or structure.

Cracks are a common problem with masonry. It’s important to understand that cracks are not a sign of poor quality but a result of a number of issues. These include differential settlement of foundations, drying shrinkage, expansion and contraction due to ambient thermal and moisture variations, expansion of salts in walls, failure of wall ties and the effects of freeze-thaw cycles.

When dealing with cracked brick walls it is important to identify the type of crack and its location. A local brick or masonry professional can help you determine which cracks are load-bearing and which should be redecorated. It is also important to monitor the size of cracks over time. If they are increasing in width then this may be an indicator of a structural issue and require the input of a structural engineer.

Brick crack stitch repair systems are an ideal solution for repairing passive or cyclic brick cracks that are less than 5mm wide. However, they should be used in conjunction with a full structural engineers’ repair specification that addresses the cause of wall movement. Cracks that are active or increasing in width should only be repaired by a structural engineer using appropriate techniques that improve the tensile and flexural strength of masonry walls.

It is worth pointing out that the use of inappropriate repair materials can actually hasten damage to masonry structures. This is because the wrong material can concentrate stress in a wall, change how moisture vapor passes through walls, and hasten deterioration. To avoid this problem, always use mortar and repair materials that are a similar composition to the original masonry. This will help to ensure that the new masonry repairs are compatible with the existing material and will not have an adverse effect on its performance.

Cracked Mortar

Many masonry structures are built with bricks or concrete blocks that are bonded together with cement mortar. While this method of construction is still used in homes and buildings today, it can be subject to various types of damage over time. These problems should never be ignored and may need to be repaired by a professional mason.

A very common problem that needs to be repaired is cracked mortar. Masonry cracks appear in brick walls when the mortar between the units starts to break down. When this occurs the resulting cracks will run perpendicular to each other and at their intersections pieces of mortar will fall out. If the mortar is Portland based and hard it will usually powder out while soft lime based mortar tends to crumble into finger sized pieces. When mortar breaks down it allows water to penetrate deeper into the wall and can cause serious structural damage.

Another problem that can occur with masonry is spalling bricks. This is when the facing of a brick starts to flake off and usually is a result of water penetration into the wall or from the freeze thaw cycle. This is a very serious issue and should be addressed by a professional mason as soon as possible to prevent further damage and water penetration.

A more serious problem with masonry is when the shelf angle that’s installed behind a row of bricks begins to deteriorate. This is an important piece of equipment because it balances the weight of the bricks against the ground that they sit on. If it deteriorates, it can cause the entire structure to collapse. When this happens, the mason will need to remove and replace the damaged shelf angle.


Brick is strong and durable, but over time and with exposure to the elements it can start to break down. This is commonly known as spalling. If you notice large, crater-shaped brick chips in your garden or on the side of your home or business it may be time to call for masonry repair. Spalling happens when masonry absorbs too much moisture from rain and snow or from a freeze-thaw cycle. The moisture expands when it freezes and causes movement within the bricks which can crack and loosen them. These loose bricks will eventually crumble and dislodge from the structure.

Masonry repair can be a bit more complicated with spalling because it requires removing and replacing damaged bricks and mortar. It’s important that the damaged brick and mortar are thoroughly cleaned so the masonry is in good condition once it’s repaired. It’s also important that the masonry is sealed so it’s protected from the weather and any new moisture.

The cause of the spalling should also be addressed. It could be caused by a variety of factors such as poor quality bricks, poorly compressed mortar that won’t allow the bricks to expand safely during the freeze-thaw process or even from moisture in the air or fog seeping into porous brick. Improving drainage around the structure, fixing leaks and using a waterproofing sealant will prevent water from penetrating the walls.

In some cases, the damage to a brick wall or chimney might be so extensive that it’s best to completely rebuild rather than repair it. This is particularly true if there are areas of the wall that have been affected by moisture damage and organic growth such as mildew, mold or moss.

Shelf Angle Damage

Brick and masonry are used extensively in building construction because of their durability and strength, but even these materials will eventually begin to wear down. A mason should be called in at the first sign of deterioration to help prevent damage and costly repairs down the road.

The most common issue that requires masonry repair is spalling, which occurs when the face of the brick begins to chip. It can be a major problem if the entire facing is affected because it means that there is a serious problem with the wall. Masons will examine the situation and replace the damaged brick. They may also inspect the wall and look for a corroded shelf angle that supports the brick. If this is corroded, it can loosen the brick and weaken the structure.

Another sign that a building needs masonry repair is when the mortar between bricks starts to disintegrate and crumble away. This is a huge problem because it allows water to seep into the walls and cause serious damage. Masons will often replace the damaged mortar, and they can repoint or tuck point the brick to ensure that the walls are safe from moisture damage.

If you notice any of these issues with your brick or masonry walls, contact Turnbull Masonry for a free quote on a professional masonry repair. A reputable mason can save you time and money in the long run by catching problems before they become worse. This can help to protect the safety and integrity of your home or business, and it will make the overall structure of your building stronger. For more information, visit their website. They offer a wide range of residential and commercial masonry services in the Toronto area, including chimney sweeping and foundation repairs.

Mortar Between Bricks

Mortar joints act as a sealant to prevent water from penetrating brick walls and causing damage. They also protect the bricks from weathering and deterioration by resisting water and absorbing humidity. A small crack or two in a mortar joint that is not progressing rapidly does not necessarily require immediate attention, but extensive cracked or spalling mortar should be repaired at the first sign of trouble. Detecting and repairing damaged mortar early on saves time, effort and money on more extensive repairs in the future.

The best mortar repair comes from tuckpointing. This involves adding new mortar to the existing mortar joints rather than removing and replacing all the old mortar. Masonry professionals use a trowel and hawk to apply slivers of mortar to the existing joints. When tuckpointing, the mason mixes up enough mortar to be able to fill about three or four courses of bed joints, or vertical joints between each brick row, before returning and filling the head joints, or horizontal joints that connect the rows of beds.

Before you begin tuckpointing, sweep and dust out the brick cavity joints using a whisk broom or compressed air to clean them out and prepare them to accept new mortar. Once the joints are cleaned, mist them lightly with a garden hose sprayer to moisten them. Load a dollop of mortar mix on to a brick trowel and push it into the cavity with the tuck-pointing trowel, starting with the bed joints. Squeeze the tuck-pointing trowel edge across the mortar to eliminate voids and pack the mortar tightly.

Once you have filled the head joints, return to the bed joints and tuck-point them as well. Smooth and compact the new mortar, then scrape off any excess with the tuck-pointing trowel’s flat face and brush away slivers of dried mortar clusters on the brick surface. Let the mortar dry for a day or so, then cover it with a tarp to protect it from rain and sun.