How Often Should Tuckpointing Be Done?

While quality brickwork can last for a very, very long time, many homeowners make the mistake of improperly maintaining their brickwork. In harsh cold climates, there can be significant damage to chimneys, brickwork, retaining walls and more. Tuckpointing cinder block foundation, restoring old brick, and even replacing an entire chimney may be needed to prevent long term damage.

How Brickwork is Damaged

A number of factors can seriously damage your brickwork. You may need a professional contractor to restore your walls, foundation, and chimney. They may opt for replacing a chimney crown, tuckpointing a cinder block foundation, replacing old mortar, sealing, restoring seriously compromised brick, and fixing the structural integrity of your home.

Some of the most common reasons that bricks are damaged over time include:

  1. Heavy winds
  2. Snow and precipitation
  3. Natural wear and tear
  4. Pressure cleaning
  5. Cheap materials used in construction
  6. Age
  7. Quality of materials
  8. Ice
  9. Harsh cold climates
  10. Leaks and moisture

How Often Should You Tuckpoint?

Replace the mortar every twenty-five years. This is especially true if you live in a wet climate or an area that has severe weather conditions. Dry arid regions need less tuckpointing. Hire a professional contractor that only uses the highest quality materials and mortar. Avoid doing major tuckpointing yourself. Shoddy craftsmanship can lead to more damage. A professional licensed contractor can provide you with quality brickwork meant to last decades.

If you suspect that your mortar and brickwork is deteriorating or damaged, be sure to contact a professional contractor. Here at Cummins Restoration we provide the best quality work in the Greater Toronto Region. Our licensed and insured contractors will ensure that you receive the special attention that you deserve. Call us today for an inspection and estimate for your home. We are happy to help you. Contact us.

What is a Spalled Brick?

Have you noticed falling or missing bricks from your chimney? This can be an issue called spalling. Spalling happens often to masonry chimneys, retaining walls, and more. Small cracks lead to bigger cracks, leading to significant deterioration that requires professional masonry work.

What Causes Spalling

Moisture penetrates the brickwork. Depending on your climate and the weather conditions, the exterior condition of your brick can deteriorate considerably over time. The masonry work suffers more in harsher climates. Colder climates cause spalling due to the rapid freeze and expansion during the winter months. Leaks can cause serious spalling. Pressure washers and careless sandblasting further damage your brickwork.

In some cases, the spalling has been caused by reusing older bricks during construction. Older bricks are more porous. These leaves them much more susceptible to moisture and damage. Be sure to use a quality licensed professional when addressing your chimney needs.

Fixing the Problem

If you have allowed your chimney to deteriorate for a long period of time, you may need professional contractors to inspect and repair your chimney. This can include costly work like an entire chimney replacement. Catch the problem before it reaches a crucial tipping point and you can save considerably. Your contractor may have to replace the crown or simply replace and seal the bricks. A chimney cap can add extra protection against future damage.

Preventative Measures

If your chimney is not damaged, take a few preventative steps to avoid damage. Yearly inspections can result in early detection for chimney issues. Monitor trouble spots. Apply masonry sealant to prevent additional issues. Install a quality chimney cap. Contact a professional if you find that bricks are falling or that there has been leaking and moisture in the brickwork.

Cummins Restoration has a long history of quality masonry in the Greater Toronto Areas since 1992. Our family owned business is fully licensed and insured. Let our friendly staff help you inspect and repair your chimney. Contact us today.

Can Tuckpointing Be Done in Winter?

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Is it too cold for tuckpointing? For those of us who live in the harsher cold regions of the world, knowing the right time of year for tuckpointing and repointing is critical. What are the ideal conditions for tuckpointing your home? Let’s talk about it.  

Ideal Temperatures

Before you hire your masonry contractor, consider temperature and precipitation. Ideally, you want the weather to be between 5-32° C when tuckpointing and repointing. This should be the temperature the day before and up to three days after. In most parts of North America, the ideal conditions are through spring to early fall. Usually, contractors cannot do work during January and February. When considering temperature, consider forecasted highs and overnight lows, the surface temperature of the area being tuckpointed, and the outside air temperature.

Precipitation

Normally, contractors can work from spring to early fall. However, precipitation can prevent workers from completing a project on time. You want to avoid any heavy precipitation and snow during tuckpointing. Always look a few days before and a few days after the job. Check the forecast carefully.

Tuckpointing When It Is Cold

Professional contractors can do work during cold weather. By increasing additives to the process, they increase the heat generated by the exothermic reactions. This releases additional heat. Covering the work helps trap heat released by curing. Tarping off the work area and heating them with external heaters also helps protect cold weather construction.

These cold construction work practices protect the work from the harsh cold and precipitation. Anticipate additional costs due to labor and heating the work areas. Heated enclosures require time for setting up and breakdown. Contractors will need heat and will need to maintain any equipment used for hearing the construction.

Call our professional contractors now about tuckpointing and high-quality masonry. No matter the weather conditions, we can help you complete your project. Contact us today. We will be happy to help you.

How to Repair a Basement Floor

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Does your basement floor have serious cracks and damage? Is it time to call a professional contractor? Can a little basement and masonry waterproofing paint take care of the issue? Let’s discuss what you need to know about repairing your basement floor.

Hairline Cracks

Typically small hairline cracks in your basement might not affect the overall structural integrity of your home. However, some issues like much wider cracks, perimeter cracks, and unlevel flooring can indicate structural damage, soil expansion, and serious foundation problems. They require more than basement and masonry waterproofing paint for repair. Spiderweb-like fine cracks result from surface shrinkage. These are typically superficial and need sealing.

Wider Cracks

You want to seal wider cracks. Wide cracks can result in soil smells, gases, and moisture to leak into your basement. Seal them with an elastomeric caulking sealant for interior masonry or contact masonry professionals, especially if you suspect structural issues.

Perimeter Cracks

You want to seal any perimeter cracks. You can seal this professionally or use an elastomeric caulking product.

Spalling

Sometimes your basement has surface flaking. This means that the concrete mix was wet when poured. While unattractive, the concrete below is typically safe. Don’t leave it unaddressed. You may need concrete resurfacer or choose to install flooring. A simple coat of paint will not address the issue.

Settling and Structural Issues

Sometimes the foundation contractor did not compact the soil properly or the soil below has sand. In this case, the flowing begins to sink, causing tripping hazards and possible structural issues. If the basement cracks and heaves upwards, you have a serious structural issue. Uneven floors due to soil expansion needs to be professionally addressed. They might replace the basement floor and install an interior drain to collect groundwater. Direct water away from your home’s foundation to prevent future problems.

Call our masonry professionals today. We can help solve your basement and foundation problems. Contact us.

What are Masonry Structures?

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As a homeowner you need to understand masonry. Knowing the foundations of masonry will help you choose the right materials, masonry tools, and contractors when your home needs repairs. Learn the basics of masonry construction.

What is Masonry?

Structures that are built from units bound by mortar are masonry structures. Masonry comes in many materials. Know the different materials to use the correct masonry tools and construction for each project:

  • Brick
  • Stone
  • Marble
  • Granite
  • Travertine
  • Limestone
  • Cast Stone
  • Concrete Block
  • Glass Block
  • Stucco
  • Tile

Masonry remains the most popular building material for its durability and versatility. Masonry structures have survived the test of time, sometimes for centuries like the Great Wall of China and India’s Taj Mahal. Builders use the material for both structural and non-structural projects. Because of their energy efficiency and aesthetic beauty, they remain a top building material in the 21st century.

Benefits of Masonry Construction

Why does masonry remain superior to other building materials? The bricks and stone increase the thermal mass of a structure. They are heat-resistant and provide additional fire protection and safety. They are resilient in hurricanes, tornadoes, and other natural disasters. Although masonry can be susceptible to the cold and is very heavy, it remains a reliable material that lasts.

Types of Masonry

Generally, there are two types of masonry work: solid masonry and veneer masonry. Solid masonry is free standing. Veneer masonry has aesthetic value. Both types of masonry can include brick, stone, concrete, and other materials. Walls, chimney, and foundation of a home often include brick, stone, or concrete. Masonry can also include aesthetic decorative work and reinforcing a structure.

When choosing the right type of materials, discuss options with a professional contractor. They will know the best materials for your project and materials.

Call our professionals today about your masonry project. Help us plan and restore your building. We are here to help you. Contact us with your project needs.

What You Need to Know About Masonry Foundation Leaks

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Serious water damage can cause structural issues for your home. How serious are your leaks? Do you need professionals to install new masonry materials to protect your home? How can you avoid the mildew, rotting wood, and other damage done by foundation leaks?

What Causes Foundation Leaks?

Builders take significant steps to prevent basement leaks. These can include making sure that water drains away from your home and patching any potential leaks and cracks that allow in moisture with high-quality masonry materials. Over time the home settles. This creates cracks in the basement walls and damage to the home. Even if you have a home that is structurally sound, moisture from the soil can seep through the wall.

A high-quality humidifier helps reduce the damage done by moisture. However, you need to waterproof the walls. In the worst case scenarios, entire flooding occurs during rainy seasons or when snow melts.

Find the Source

Concrete is porous. This means that you need to look for streaks along any cracks, corners of windows, between the mortar joints, and around the pipes. However, if water pools in a certain area or an entire wall is wet, you need to find the exact source of the water. You need to know if the water source comes from outside or is from an inside issue. For example, a basement shower or plumbing problem can lead to water leakage.

Seal Cracks

Seal any cracks with hydraulic cement. This is a relatively simple tasks for most DIY homeowners. However, more serious issues require professionals. Don’t forget to seal windows.

Don’t Work in a Flooded Basement

For safety reasons, never ever work in a flooded basement. You increase the risk of electrical shock or electrocution. Use a pump to get rid of the water. The basement must be dry before you start to work. In most cases, a professional can help you determine how you can repair your foundation.

Call our seasoned professionals today about your foundation leaks. We can help you find an affordable solution for your problem.

Can Rain Get in My Chimney?

chimney-repair-cost

Worried about rain getting in your chimney? Minimize expensive long-term damage. Your chimney repair cost for maintenance ensures that you enjoy your chimney for a lifetime. But how can you prevent rain in your chimney? What are some of the more common causes?

Why is My Chimney Leaking?

There are a few different reasons why you have rain coming into your chimney. One of the more common reasons is basic structural issues. You might have chimney crown damage or faults in the lining. A professional will inspect your chimney for possible causes for precipitation. Chimney repair cost depends on how much damage has occurred. Because of this, you want to fix the problems sooner to reduce expenses and water damage.

Depending on your climate, your chimney may be exposed to high winds, heavy precipitation, freezing temperatures, and snow. Harsh weather deteriorates masonry materials significantly. Debris and rodents also contribute to chimney damage.

The mortar and bricks pass water. Harsh winters can cause leaks in the house with continual thawing and freezing. Sometimes bricks may get soggy. The wrong waterproofing materials may even exacerbate the issues. Do you need to waterproof your chimney? Your contractor can do a Masonry Absorption Test (MAT) which checks how long it takes for the bricks to absorb water. They can identify structural issues due to water damage.

Repairing the Chimney

Your chimney professional will offer some repair and maintenance options:

  • Chimney Relining
  • Caulking
  • Crown Coat
  • Fixing a Cracked Crown
  • Chimney Crown Replacement
  • Structural Adjustments
  • Chimney replacement
  • Basic maintenance and cleaning

Most of the time the repair will be simple. However, you might have to do a costly repair like chimney replacement or structural adjustments. A professional contractor can identify and fix the issue. Ask for an inspection to identify the problem.

Do you have rain in your chimney? If you need a quality inspection and chimney repair, call us today. We are ready to help you solve your chimney issues immediately.

What are the different types of brick masonry?

types-of-masonry

Learn about the many different brick materials and types used in construction. There are several key types of masonry, including concrete, fly ash, clay, and sand lime bricks. Let’s talk about major properties and uses.

Brick Type

Before we begin to discuss construction, let’s mention classes. The types of masonry bricks correspond to different classes (or quality) of materials:

  • 1st and 2nd Class – High quality for tunnels, commercial projects, buildings, etc.
  • 3rd class – For temporary structures
  • 4th class – Used in making concrete
  • Aesthetic – Sometimes bricks have an artistic purpose and are not used as part of the structure but for decoration

First Class Bricks

These bricks are free from cracks, are smooth, and do not absorb more than 15% of their weight in water when submerged for more than a day. These bricks have been well burnt and are strong. First Class bricks are used for any permanent structures. They have been used in flooring, as well. First-class bricks have high quality and strength.

You can do a quick finger test to see if a brick is First Class. If you scratch the brick with your fingernails and there is no mark, then the brick is likely First Class. Two First Class bricks make a metallic sound when struck together.

Second Class Bricks

While these bricks have been well burnt as well, they do not have the smooth uniform look of First Class bricks. They have a rough surface overall. They might be used in buildings but in areas where maybe the masonry is plastered.

Other Classes

When building a permanent structure, only use First Class and Second Class bricks. Third class bricks are irregular, absorb water, and can be underburnt or overburnt. These might be used ornamentally.

3 Dangerous Signs of Structural Damage

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Major structural issues with your home can be a homeowner’s worst nightmare. Fortunately, quality masonry techniques and early detection can help save you thousands of dollars and the structural integrity of your home. Look for these key issues in your home:

1. Cracks

No, not every crack means that you have serious structural damage. However, certain types of damage are more serious. Small cracks can be repaired with professional masonry techniques. However, look for stair-step cracks, large cracks along foundation walls, and large cracks in the sheetrock. If you have these glaring problems, then call our professionals today. We will provide you with an inspection and estimate for work needed.

2. Doors and Windows That Won’t Open

Over time your house will naturally settle and shift. However, if you find that the doors are jammed you might have a serious structural issue. Because the walls and foundation are shifting, the doors and windows no longer fit in their frames. This results in jammed windows and doors. Besides providing a fire hazard and safety issue for your family, this also might indicate that you have a serious structural issue in your home. You need a professional inspection to determine if you have structural problems.

3. Chimney Pulls Away from Home

When you purchase or own an older home, the chimney may begin to shift as the house settles. When a home has serious structural damage, the chimney itself may detach from the home. In more extreme cases you can see the lean just by standing outside the home. However, you might need a professional to check the chimney in the earlier stages. Remember that you want to address foundation issues much sooner than later to save time and damage to your home. If you suspect your chimney has been compromised because of foundation issues, call a professional immediately.

Foundation repair is possible. If you catch the issues earlier, you might be able to avoid a large expense and headache. Have us inspect your home today. With years of experience in masonry and home restoration, we guarantee that we can repair your foundation. Enjoy your home for decades to come with quality foundation repair.

How Do You Fix Decaying Bricks?

chipped-brick-repair

Beautiful brick homes require little maintenance. They provide aesthetic beauty and security. However, sometimes you need chipped brick repair to maintain the look and structural integrity of your home. What are some ways to fix decaying brick? What do you look for? Let’s find out.

Crumbling and deteriorating brick is a common issue. However, a simple surface repair will not fix any underlying moisture problem. Chipped brick repair, tuckpointing, and masonry by a professional will ensure that your home maintains structural integrity and its overall elegance.

What Causes Decaying Bricks?

The number one reason that bricks chip and deteriorates over time is moisture. Bricks close to the ground will deteriorate over time due to ongoing splashing and puddling. When a home has poor drainage, water will add further damage to bricks. Mortar turns sandy. Bricks chip, break and crack. In cold climates, frost will break and crumble bricks.

Prevention

If you want to avoid costly repairs and damage, then keep your brick walls dry. Avoid any sort of puddling of water near the foundation. Repair drainage issues. Keep hoses and water sources away from the brick. Inspect the mortar over time. Watch for ground sloping towards the home. This will cause water to move closer to your foundation. Gutter leaks can cause damage. Check downspouts for debris. Essentially, keep your brick walls as dry as possible.

Repair

Have a professional inspect any damage to bricks, walls, and foundation. Remember that simply fixing the bricks aesthetic look will not address serious structural problems. When remortaring, be sure to remove any damaged materials. Check for structural problems. Tuckpointing is a temporary fix for eroding brick. However, tuckpointing only helps the issue on a surface level. Whatever the type of repair, be sure to remove all of the damaged areas. Don’t leave any loose mortar between joints. Simple repairs and patching can be done by the handy homeowner. However, most serious issues can be addressed by a professional masonry company.

Call our experienced professionals today. We will help you assess your damaged brick walls and provide you with high-quality repair and installation.