Frequently Asked Question:
Quite often we are asked the same questions by many people. We will attempt to answer as many as we can and also give examples with photos of when things go wrong. We will try and keep answers as concise as possible. Hopefully we can help you with your questions and save you some grief in the process. The reason we got into this line of work was over frustration we saw with commonly repeated and preventable building defects.
Why is water coming through my brick wall. I thought brick was supposed to offer ultimate protection against the elements and last forever.
By design, brick and mortar is porous and absorbs water. Mortar is what holds the brick in place and is supposed to be softer than the brick so that if moisture gets into the wall system, the mortar will fail before the bricks are damaged.
In older homes and buildings, brick was many layers deep (a multi-wythe system) to actually take in moisture and realease it. On diferent sides of a given building, there were diferent grades of brick used. The front of the building usually had the best and least porous bricks - this was the side they wanted everyone to see. The sides and back of the building were a more porous brick that sometimes required painting to keep it from deteriorating.
It is important in older buildings to know the properties of the brick and their intended purpose before painting them or removing paint and exposing them to the elements.
Coating bricks and blocks with a non-permeable coating isn't always a good idea as this adds an air/vapor barrier. If there is mositure drive from the inside, especially in cold climates, you can end up destroying the brick and mortar from the effects of moisture, especially freezing and thawing.
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