Knowhow-Now Article

Regular Wall Brick Maintenance to Prevent Permanent Damage

By Andrew Wilson

Andrew Wilson

Walls made of brick often look lovely. Brickwork needs to be maintained properly and regularly, though, to prevent the sort of damage that might make you wish you hadn't had a brick wall made in the first place. Brick walls are pretty, but need maintenance.

One quality of brick that makes it a popular building material is its durability. Many historical homes that still stand proud in their beauty and elegance are made of bricks. Proper maintenance can keep any structure aesthetically beautiful and can increase its resale value. While bricks require little maintenance, it doesn’t mean that homeowners will completely abandon the idea of performing regular upkeep that bricks demand occasionally.

you can do many things with bricks

Brick’s durability can make it last for over a hundred years. However, as you walk in and out of your home every day, you get accustom to the permanency of your brick wall and miss the little changes occurring on it through the years. There may already be warning signs calling your attention for wall brick maintenance and repair. Heed the signs and learn how to spot areas of concern to avoid further deterioration or damage, and to prevent spending much on wall brick repair.

Preventive Maintenance Measures for Brick Walls

  • Over time, brick walls may appear dull and spattered due to the accumulation of dirt and other debris. Spray the surface with water using the garden hose to wash off the dirt. Do this at least once a year. This can also effectively remove other stains caused by various residues in the environment.
  • The importance of checking the weep holes cannot be undermined. Weep holes are small openings at the base of brick walls intended to allow moisture to get out. Regular checking of weep holes is a timely measure to prevent any materials in blocking the holes. Once the holes become clogged with dirt, leaves, or vines, the moisture is trapped causing damage to the walls.
  • Ivies and other climbing vines may add an aged charm on a brick wall. Nevertheless, the vines can be damaging to both the bricks and mortar. Once the plant is allowed to flourish, moisture is collected which is damaging to the wall. The plants produce organic matter forming humic acid that is not beneficial to the mortar. When removing the vines, do not pull. Instead dig up the roots and cut the stems as close to the surface as possible. After a couple of weeks, the ivy will die and gradually fall off from the bricks by itself.
  • Apart from ivies, brick walls are the usual habitat for mold, algae, and mildew. This microscopic growth can cause discoloration. When allowed to persist, the tiny plants tend to penetrate through the crevices in between bricks and mortar, making it almost impossible to scrape off. An effective solution is to mix a cup of bleach in a gallon of water. Use a stiff-bristle brush to scrub the affected surface.
  • Water retention is usually one of the causes of brick damage. It is caused by either back-splash or rising damp. Back-splash occurs when rains continuously beat and soak the brick and mortar. On the other hand, rising damp occurs when the wall seeps up the water from the adjacent area. This results to a tide line or an unsightly mark at the bottom of the wall. Both of these conditions can produce a considerable amount of moisture damaging to the bricks. Immediate wall brick maintenance to resolve the problem can effectively prevent further damage.
  • The brick itself is enduring, but the mortar joint can only last half of the brick’s age. When the mortar deteriorates, a process called re-pointing is always necessary. Re-pointing is repairing wall sections with damaged mortar by chipping it away. Careful chipping is required to prevent the surrounding brickwork from being dislodged. Make sure to use the right mortar composition that is a match to the old mortar. Applying the new mortar involves cleaning the surface thoroughly before troweling in the new mortar. Remove excess mortar and once it’s almost dry, you should use a wire brush to draw diagonal lines to remove dried crumbs.

Brick walls make an attractive vertical structure. It provides security and supports any adjacent construction. It is weather and pest resistant. Brick walls are perfect for separating your property from the neighbors. Wall brick maintenance is easy on the pocket, time, and energy. The little task it demands can keep your wall brick looking good and functional for many years to come.

When allowed to persist, the tiny plants tend to penetrate through the crevices in between bricks and mortar, making it almost impossible to scrape off.

brick walls need to be looked after

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