The Problem with Brick Walls
Brick buildings and homes have often been revered for their stateliness, beauty and enduring classic look. But behind the scenes, there can be more than a few problems with using brick in your construction process. Most of these problems arise over time and can remain unseen for years. They can also be expensive to repair or replace once discovered. Fortunately, Permacast Precast Concrete Fencing & Walls can help you know what to look for and how to avoid continued damage and expense when dealing with brick building materials.
One of the main issues with brick is the damage that can be done with water. Brick and the mortar in between are heavily permeated so water can flow in and out easily. This is why it’s important to never paint brick- paint will trap the water inside causing internal damage. The freeze-thaw cycle can be detrimental to brick as well. Water that does become trapped in the brick or mortar then freezes in winter can then expand, causing cracks throughout the entire wall. But the worst form of water damage to brick actually comes from pressure washing. The high-powered water pressure strips away the mortar in an erosion process, weakening the entire framework of a brick wall. While water always needs to be a consideration in any material used for construction, with brick it’s only a matter of time before water wears away the beautiful effect.
Cracking usually occurs in the pointing, or the mortar in joints between bricks, as the mortar is worn away gradually, or due to some of the issues mentioned above. Trapped water is a major cause of mortar cracking, as attempts to prevent further damage actually cause more damage. It becomes a vicious cycle that is very difficult to solve. Repointing, or repairing and replacing the pointing as needed, can be an expensive task that does not necessarily guarantee results. Occasionally, the bricks themselves need to be replaced, when the hard exterior of the brick is worn away and the softer inner brick is exposed. This is especially common in older homes and buildings because the process of firing brick has developed drastically over the past 100 years. Older brick would not have been made using a sophisticated or accurate process, leaving it more vulnerable to erosion and damage than more recently created brick.
Over time, the foundation of any structure will settle, or move slightly as gravity takes hold. When this happens to a brick home or building, the process can be detrimental to the brick walls. A curving called “bowing” can occur, creating an uneven framework. This can have disastrous results, leaving gaps in the frame of the building that allows for poor insulation as well as pests and other debris to find their way inside. Bowing also weakens the wall’s strength, so over time, the entire structure will need replacing.
While the negative effects of using brick are plenty, there are some great alternatives available. The brick facade on Permacast’s precast concrete walls and fences look just like brick so you can enjoy the beauty and classic brick style without the disastrous consequences of building with actual brick and mortar. The production costs, as well as the cost of upkeep and maintenance, are minimal compared to that of brick, and our precast concrete will not only last longer, it actually gets stronger over time. Take a look at all the products and services Permacast Precast Concrete Fencing & Walls has to offer. You may find that a beautiful, well-constructed home or building is just one decision away. Talk to us about your next project and let us show you how our precast concrete can benefit you!