Tips for replacing spalling bricks
Spalling brick is brick that is deteriorating because moisture has penetrated the brick. When the water is too much for the brick to handle, the brick breaks apart or spalls. Here are some tips for replacing spalling bricks.
There are several causes for spalling brick. If you live in a cold area the porous surface of bricks allows water to absorb and when the water freezes, the brick can expand and crack. Water can infiltrate a brick from above through a recessed mortar joint and causes the face to break off. Other causes of spalling include leaky windows, gutters, damaged chimneys, and anywhere water can get behind bricks. Bricks are also likely to spall in basements and around the foundation.
Like spalling brick, loose brick can also be caused by changes in the weather. Hot, cold, wet, and dry conditions can cause the structure to move, leaving holes in the mortar. These holes allow water to penetrate the wall and can loosen the brick. Common areas for loose bricks include chimneys, around mortar joints, faulty gutters, doors, windows, and around the foundation.
Tips to prevent spalling bricks
One of the best ways to deal with loose or spalling bricks is to prevent them before they happen. An easy way to do that is to apply a masonry sealant designed to allow the brick to breath. Another way to prevent spalling is to provide proper drainage around the house that doesn’t allow water to pool near the foundation.
Tips to repair spalling and loose bricks
If it’s too late to prevent spalling brick or loose bricks, it is possible to replace them, but first you must identify and repair the source of the moisture that is causing the damage to repair spalling bricks.
Begin repairs by removing the spalling brick or loose brick using a chisel and hammer or a power drill equipped with a masonry cutting wheel. Chisel out the old mortar as well and clean the opening, removing dirt and dust with a wire brush. Rinse the opening well.
You can now begin adding your new bricks to the wall by buttering the back and sides with mortar, sliding them in, and applying mortar around them. Mist the new bricks for three days to aid in the curing of the mortar.
Tip for replacing old bricks
If you are replacing old, hard to find bricks and only the front of the brick is damaged, remove the bricks, flip them around, and reinstall them.