Tips from Our San Diego Masonry Contractors
Masonry is basically the art of building by using materials such as stone, brick, concrete, or clay. These materials offer endless options as you can build walls, patios, flooring, firepits, barbecues, driveways, walkways, and so much more. From the most simple and functional retaining wall to the most beautiful stonework for stairs and walkways. Most masons love to get creative and build personalized work which for some clients is priceless. Some homeowners love to be creative and create something personal for themselves. Whether you are doing masonry work on your own or looking to hire a masonry company for an improvement project to your home or business, there are aspects you should be aware of to minimize mistakes. We have outlined the most common mistakes that we have noticed while working in masonry, and tips to avoid them.
1. Install a Wall Flashing Properly
Flashing consists of strips within a wall with the purpose of channeling the water out of the structure. It basically prevents water from accumulating within the bricks. If water accumulates it can cause corrosion or even collapse of the brickwork. When you do flashing you should be careful to not space the weep holes too far apart from one another. You should aim for less than 2 feet away. In areas where it rains a lot you could have them closer. It is important that you consider your environment when deciding about this matter. If you are hiring a masonry contractor, also ensure they take that into consideration. Furthermore, you should add dams to the ends of the flashing.
2. Avoid Waterproof Coating on Old Bricks
In most cases adding a waterproof coating to old bricks is not advisable because it will lock in the moisture that is already on the brickwork. In other words, it will not let the moisture to evaporate. That will in turn cause the moisture to stay inside the brickwork causing damage. If for any reason you need to add a coating to prevent additional water damage, you should look at a breathable water-repellent sealer.
3. Repair Cracks
If you see a crack or signs or mortar lacking, it is important that it is fixed ASAP. Ignoring that could lead to compromising the integrity of the wall, and a potential collapse.
4. Avoid Water Pooling and Be Gentle with Cleaning
First always keep water away from the base. If you notice water pooling, quickly pump it out. For maintenance, we recommend regular maintenance with gentle methods rather than power washing and sandblasting. These methods can easily damage the bricks and should be avoided as much as possible. Sometimes power washing is necessary, however. Please consult with a masonry contractor for a recommendation of specific materials based on the materials you are trying to clean and its current condition.
5. Choose the Right Mortar
Did you know that the type of mortar you choose should be based on the type of brick you are going to use? Choosing the wrong mortar may not seem a problem in the beginning, but it will be in the future when you trying to repair or extend the wall for example. The main reason for this is because mortars can vary in its porosity. The degree of porosity will determine how much the mortar will expand or contract. If that does not match it can cause the wall to crumble and compromise the integrity of the wall. A good example is lime-based mortars which were used in the past and you may still encounter it on old masonry work. Did you know that the type of mortar you choose should be based off of the type of brick you are going to use? Choosing the wrong mortar may nit seem a problem in then beginning, but it will be in the future when you trying to repair or extend the wall for example. The main reason for this is because mortars can vary in its porosity. The degree of porosity will determine how much the mortar will expand or contract. If that does not match it can cause the wall to crumble and compromise the integrity of the wall. A good example is lime-based mortars which were used in the past and you may still encounter it on old masonry work.
Our San Diego Masonry Contractors have years of experience. As so, they have seen countless mistakes by homeowners and contractors who are not fully aware of the above tips and mistakes. Building a mason project correctly is key to ensure your safety, maximize the lifespan of the project, and minimize any costs you may occur on repairs and rebuilds.