Masonry structures endure in popularity for a whole host of reasons, but while they are typically robust and have lengthy lifespans, they are subject to damage from time to time. As soon as you notice any damage on a masonry structure you own, you should call a local masonry contractor and ask them to come and assess the problem as soon as possible. Failure to react swiftly almost always means that the problem will get worse over time, and ultimately, end up costing you more in repairs.
Whether on a residential or domestic structure, here are 7 possible causes of the damage you can see:
Typically a problem on the external walls of masonry structures, staining can vary in severity, and be caused by such things as wear and tear, penetration of water and the elements in general.
Weathered and crumbling stone or brickwork is usually a result of spalling, which typically occurs when a structure is under stress, the cause of which may be something such as water penetration or repeated freezing and thawing during the colder months.
Cracks are not uncommon on masonry structures, and can result from moisture penetration, or during the settlement period that all buildings undergo. Natural disasters such as floods and earthquakes also have the ability to cause cracks to appear in masonry.
That said, perhaps the most common causes of cracks are simply time, and the weather. Aged bricks will begin to lose their structural integrity, and when coupled with the elements, can make them appear, even quicker. Neglect cracks when they first appear, and they are virtually guaranteed to get progressively worse over time.
- Water penetration
A significant but not uncommon problem for many masonry structures, moisture penetration occurs frequently, and then when the weather turns colder, freeze/thaw cycles mean that it begins to lose its structural integrity. Water penetration can also go on to affect any neighboring materials such as wood and steel, and if not addressed and managed appropriately, can spell disaster for a building.
- Adhesion failure
When the adhesive used to hold a wall together starts to fail, you’ll soon see signs of damage in the masonry, such as bulging walls, flaking tops and peeling. However, an annual inspection from a qualified masonry contractor can help ensure and maintain the structural integrity of the building.
This can become a major problem for masonry structures, and is often the result of inadequate or poor structural support, such as when a steel support system begins to corrode and weaken. A shift in the brick or stonework may be a clear sign that displacement has begun to occur.
- Tree roots
As trees search for moisture, their roots can interfere with a masonry structure, and when they start growing and expanding, the ensuing pressure can cause cracks in the brick or stonework.
A swift response to any signs of damage to a masonry structure is the best way to save the building and prevent further, costlier damage from occurring, later on in the building’s lifespan.