With the flexibility to cover just about any type of structure and protect it for the long haul, brick is definitely a good choice to build a wall or clad a home. Unfortunately, even though brick masonry is highly stable, the ground beneath it is not. Shifts in the ground beneath a brick wall can cause cracks to form, bricks to break, and even a wall that seems to droop and sag at a certain point. Brick masonry may look simple enough to repair with some good mortar mix and some new bricks. However, the assumption that masonry repair is easy leaves a lot of room for costly mistakes. Here are three ways you can make problems with a brick wall much worse than they already are.
Using Recycled Bricks for Repair Work
If you have a few bricks that are starting to crack or crumble, replacing these individual stones is definitely a good idea. However, one of the biggest mistakes you can make is to gather bricks from another ruined wall to plug in after moving the damaged ones. This will not work because previously used bricks will almost always have bits of stiff mortar around the outside. This dried mortar will prevent the bricks from sitting straight with the rest of the wall. The worst part is, you may not know the bricks will sit differently until after the new mortar has dried. New bricks are always best, but bricks that have not been previously used will work as well.
Filling Cracks with the Wrong Color Mortar
Of all of the wrongs you can do during masonry repair, this is the most innocent as it is easy to make. Your mixed mortar may appear to be close to the same color once it is mixed, but as mortar dries the color can change dramatically. What you will end up with is a crack that is covered, but perfectly visible for all onlookers to see due to the unmistakable contrast in color hues.
Using Cement Mortar for Repairs
Walk in to the masonry section of a local home improvement store and you will find an array of mortar mixes. Cement mortar, which is designed to use when working with concrete and cement, is not what should be used when you are repairing your brick wall. Brick mortar is actually created with more of a granular texture that is gritty and thick to support the weight of bricks. The end result if you use the wrong mortar is a brick wall that is nowhere near as stable as it should be.
Before you grab a mortar trial and a wheelbarrow of bricks for your brick wall repair job, you should make sure you know how this task is properly done. There are way too many masonry professionals who can help for you to take on a task that is too big to handle on your own.