How to know if your bricks need to be replaced or repaired

There’s a reason we say something is “solid as a brick wall.” Brick is a strong, durable construction material that’s been used for thousands of years. It’s attractive and stands up to the elements well. But it doesn’t last forever.

If not maintained, brick structures can crack, buckle and fall to pieces. You need to catch those problems before they get to that point. Here’s how you can tell if your bricks need to be replaced or repaired.

The freeze/thaw cycle: Enemy of brick

Most of the maintenance on a brick structure involves the mortar, not the bricks themselves. Exterior bricks are designed to have high structural integrity and as little internal moisture as possible. They keep the elements out.

Every brick wall faces issues with water intrusion, though. Water seeps into everything, and any tiny cracks or imperfections can quickly become problem areas. In areas with temperature swings, the water will freeze and expand in the wall, then heat up and contract. This process repeats over and over again, and if the water finds a foothold, it can tear a structure apart.

This usually affects the mortar more, but if the brick is unusually soft or the structure has poor drainage, you can see the bricks suffer too. If you’ve run into a brick wall that looks like some of the bricks are shedding layers, it’s a bad sign. It means that the freeze-thaw cycle has found a way to get to that wall, and if the bricks are not replaced rapidly, the whole structure may collapse.

When you start seeing those layers shedding off the bricks (called “spalling”), you can tell with a quick glance that the structure needs to be repaired. Depending on how far the decay has progressed and how deep the problem runs, it may be a partial or a full replacement of that area.

Your bricks need to be replaced or repaired if their structural integrity is damaged, and that’s often obvious. But when it’s not, you might have to call in professional help. JK Industries does brick repair and replacement regularly. Contact us today, and we’ll take a look.