Brick and mortar, among the oldest and most durable building materials, also require maintenance to withstand the test of time and the forces of nature.
Whether you have brick elements inside or outside your home, it’s crucial to inspect for loose mortar joints. Loose mortar joints can affect anything constructed with brick, such as walls, chimneys, and home exteriors. Exposure to harsh weather conditions with deteriorating mortar joints can result in significant damage to your brick structure, leading to expensive repairs. Repairing mortar joints not only fortifies your brick against inclement weather but also enhances its overall appearance.
Fortunately, homeowners can easily undertake the task of repairing mortar joints, and the required materials are cost-effective.
The following provides a guide for you on repairing mortar joints to prepare your home for winter.
Repairing Mortar Joints
Protecting your home by addressing minor mortar repairs is essential as colder temperatures approach. Now is the time to examine your home for deteriorating mortar joints and loose mortar, making minor repairs before they escalate into major problems. Freezing rain, ice, snow, deicing agents, and freeze/thaw temperature fluctuations can cause costly damage. If left unattended, water can infiltrate cracked, loose mortar, resulting in interior wall damage.
Minor cosmetic repairs to mortar can be made on various brick structures, including garden walls, the exterior of a home, and chimneys. Repairing mortar joints is more straightforward than many homeowners realize; all you need is a caulk gun and the right repair material.
A sanded acrylic mortar repair caulk, like Quikrete Mortar Repair, offers the texture and color of mortar and is a suitable project for homeowners hesitant about mortar mixing. This caulk’s sanded acrylic formula adheres to brick, block, stone, and concrete surfaces, and the square applicator tip on the caulk tube is designed to smooth mortar joints during application.
Before applying the caulk, ensure that the joints are clean, dry, and free from grease, dust, or loose particles, and remove any loose mortar from the joint. Apply the caulk by pressing the cartridge tip against the surface, forcing a bead of caulking into the opening. Do not apply a thickness greater than 3/8 inch in one application, and excess caulk can be wiped off with a damp cloth.
For homeowners addressing cracks in their fireplaces, a specially designed mortar is available for repairing common firebox damage. Quikrete Fireplace Mortar, a silicate-based refractory cement caulk, is ideal for tuck-pointing damaged firebox mortar joints and repairing chips, cracks, and breaks in fire bricks typically found in fireplaces and wood-burning stoves. Once cured, the mortar provides superior adhesion for a durable repair, withstanding temperatures up to 2,000°F.
Using a caulk gun, apply the mortar in strips no thicker than 1/8 inch, adding multiple 1/8-inch layers for larger joints as needed. After drying, start a low fire, keeping the temperature below 212°F until the mortar thoroughly dries and sets, typically taking one to four hours. Following this, increase the firebox temperature to 500°F for an additional one to four hours before regular usage.
As the weather transitions, your home becomes more vulnerable to damage. By taking these simple steps, which require nothing more than a caulking gun and approximately $5 per tube of caulk, homeowners can save substantial amounts by preventing the need for major repairs.
Repairing mortar joints using cost-effective materials will safeguard your home from costly repair projects in the future. Since cold, inclement weather can exacerbate mortar joint deterioration, addressing any issues with your mortar joints before winter arrives is a wise choice. Repairing your mortar joints should take only a few hours.
Ready to embark on your mortar joint repair project? Contact Camosse Masonry Supply for information on repairing mortar joints or to acquire materials for repairing your mortar joints or brick fireplace.