Homes and buildings constructed of brick or stone often enjoy a longer lifespan than those constructed of other materials. In fact, many of the oldest structures in the nation were constructed of these materials, including the historic Jamestown Church in Virginia, which was built in the 17th century. Although masonry buildings are well known for their strength and ability to withstand weather extremes, they can experience cracking, settlement, and other damage to the masonry walls that must be repaired to maintain the health of the structure. If you are the owner of a brick or stone home and have been putting off making the masonry repairs it needs, the following information will help explain why you need to stop procrastinating and attend to these problems now.
Water and insect issues
Spaces left where rocks or bricks have become damaged and fallen out or where there is extensive cracking or damage to the mortar joints opens a breach that both moisture and insects can use to get behind the exterior walls of your home. When water enters this space, it can cause serious damage, including the development of mold and the deterioration of any wood, insulation, or drywall the moisture comes into contact with. If enough water is trapped behind the wall during freezing weather, the resulting pressure caused by the formation of ice can force the brick wall outward, resulting in even more serious damage.
Insects, including bees and termites, are also attracted to these openings in exterior masonry walls. Once inside, these insects can quickly form large colonies deep inside the walls of your home, usually resulting in extensive damage to the supporting structure and walls of the home. Homeowners who want to avoid either water or insect infiltration issues should pay close attention to the condition of their masonry walls and make sure that damage that occurs is repaired as quickly as possible.
The risk of fire is another reason why masonry repairs should always be attended to quickly when the masonry damage is located in the home's chimney. This type of damage is often caused by lightning or settlement of the home and can result in dangerous chimney fires if a spark from the heating fire below lodges inside the crack and ignites wood near the chimney.
Since this type of masonry damage is not always easy to notice, homeowners who use their chimney for some sort of wood stove, fireplace, or pellet stove will need to have their chimney inspected before the start of each year's heating season.
To learn more about the importance of making prompt repairs to your masonry home, contact a masonry contractor like Sposato Masonry.