Bricks and stones are remarkably durable building solutions for home exterior designs. However, harsh outdoor elements can still wreak havoc on these materials. Fortunately, periodic maintenance can ensure that your masonry work stays in great condition, minimizing its deterioration and avoiding costly repairs in the future.
Here are the top maintenance tips to ensure your masonry structures last for generations:
1. Schedule Regular Cleaning
Since stones and bricks are exposed to outdoor elements, they can get dirty over time. Although minor staining can give the exterior an aged look, deep-seated dust and debris can make it look grimy and neglected. Thus, it’s important to clean your masonry work.
A mild detergent, a hard-bristled brush, and a little elbow grease are all it needs to refresh its surface. Never use a wire brush since it can create scratches on the surface and leave behind pieces of steel that can cause rusting and discoloration. Similarly, avoid harsh chemicals that can fade or ruin your masonry’s natural appearance. These cleaning agents are also likely harmful to your health and the environment.
You should clean masonry structures at least once a year. If you live in wetter areas where high moisture and humidity cause discoloration and stubborn stains, you should clean more frequently.
2. Conduct Annual Inspections
Comprehensive inspections are key to getting prompt repairs and preventing expensive masonry issues. It would help to look for early signs of damage every year. Some of the problems you should watch out for include:
- Cracking and crumbling particles
- Water damage
- Bulging and bowing structures
- Mold, mildew, and moss growth
- Spalling or flaking surface
3. Remove Weep Hole Blockages
Masonry structures often have built-in weep holes for ventilation and water drainage. These holes are critical in deterring mildew and mold growth on surfaces and preventing interior flooding.
However, they are prone to clogging from outdoor dirt and debris. When it gets blocked, water buildup may occur. During winter, accumulated water freezes and expands, causing damage to the masonry.
As such, it’s important to keep weep holes clog-free. To test for blockages, use a garden hose and run water through them — the water stream should run and drain uninterrupted. Otherwise, you can clean the area with a wire or use compressed air to remove the blockages.
4. Seal Against Water Damage
Moisture can work into cracks in your stone and bricks. This leads to costly damage from within, especially during winter when the freeze/thaw cycle occurs. The constant expansion and contraction of water inside your structure can expand existing cracks and cause structural damage.
Keep your brickwork sealed. It can help protect the surface against moisture and water and is also a good defense against ultraviolet (UV) damage and stubborn stains.
Always look for silane- or siloxane-based sealant. Make sure to remove any previous sealant and clean the masonry before applying. If you don’t have the time or prior experience, hiring a masonry contractor can streamline the re-sealing process. This ensures that your masonry work isn’t exposed to more unnecessary damage or vulnerability.
5. Eliminate Plant Growth
Creeping vines and weeds on your masonry walls may create a charming appeal, but these plants can damage the mortar between stones or bricks. Plants taking root in your stone or brickwork can weaken the masonry and worsen existing problems. For instance, they can expand cracks or encourage moisture buildup. Unkempt greenery also invites insects and pests, further damaging brick and stonework.
It’s best to remove climbing plants and cut down overgrown weeds or grass next to the structure. For more stubborn weeds like the Japanese Knotweed, you may need specialized herbicide or call the experts.
Stay On Top of Masonry Maintenance With Superior Masonry
Masonry buildings and structures can serve you for generations, but only if properly maintained. With the above tips, you can preserve its strength and beauty for years to come.
Looking for top-notch masonry installation or repair? Superior Masonry is at your service! We specialize in providing the best masonry maintenance services and give your property the care it deserves. Contact us at 972-433-9372, and we’ll help revitalize your property’s exterior today!