Brick is both attractive and energy-efficient making it a popular choice for low-rise commercial and multi-unit residential buildings. However, while brick exteriors might seem maintenance-free, over time exposure to the elements begins to fade and even degrade brick façades.
Here we look at how often your masonry needs maintenance with four solutions to rejuvenate and restore faded brick.
How Often Does Masonry Require Maintenance?
Brick walls can last over a century and never need repairs. The application of sealants helps protect brick. This usually requires a new application every five years or so, depending on the product applied and the type of brick.
Mortar joints are more likely to experience degradation. They require attention on average every 20 years or so. It depends on the quality of the original brickwork, the location of the wall, and the presence of issues such as splashback or rising damp.
Splashback occurs when rain penetrates the brick and damages the mortar. Rising damp happens when groundwater seeps into the brick, leaving behind whitish-gray salt crystals as the water evaporates. Once mortar becomes cracked and crumbly it requires repairs to sustain longevity of the brick wall.
How to Rejuvenate Faded Brick
There are four ways to rejuvenate faded brick:
1. Professional Cleaning
Commercial masonry services apply a gentle power wash to remove dirt causing discoloration. In the case of stubborn stains, the brick requires a more aggressive cleaning using special tools and cleaning solutions.
Professionally applied sealers help restore brick colour. Masonry services use pneumatic spray equipment for proper penetration and an even coat. Sealant integrity lasts about five years, so consequent applications are required.
3. Investigate Underlying Issues
Faded bricks often indicate an underlying issue not easily resolved with cleaning or sealing. For example, efflorescence caused by moisture creates a salty discolouration. A masonry service will have little effect on efflorescence if the cause of the moisture is not first identified. Once moisture issues are addressed, the efflorescence stops, and the discoloration can be removed.
Mortar deterioration occurs naturally over time. However, it can also occur because of faulty workmanship. Many contributing factors can speed up the deterioration process including immense pressure from the weight of larger brick walls, extreme temperatures, and as already mentioned, moisture. Mortar joints tend to see the damage because they are weaker than the brick itself. Tuckpointing repairs crumbling or missing mortar. It is very important to make repairs as soon as damage is detected, as the longer, it is left, the more damage occurs. This eventually affects the integrity of the entire wall structure. Tuckpointing also improves the appearance of brick walls. The faded mortar is removed, and new mortar and putty are applied to joints in contrasting colours. This creates a clean, unified finish.
Your brick building is durable and resilient. However, once it shows signs of damage or fading, a masonry expert like WellDone Inc. can assess the cause and restore the brick to its original colour.
If you would like more information about masonry and other restoration services speak to the experts at WellDone Inc. a building restoration company specializing in building improvements for commercial and multi-unit residential buildings throughout the GTA.