What are Masonry Structures?

masonry-tools

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?

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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?

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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?

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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.

5 Essential Tips: Is it Foundation Problems or House Settling?

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Protect your home investment from structural damage. Do you know the difference between advanced foundation problems and house settling? Do you need vertical foundation crack repair or just a paint job? Find out with our professional tips.

Inspect Your Home

Your home will naturally settle over time. Chances are you won’t need vertical foundation crack repair or foundation replacement if you regularly inspect your home for structural issues. Small hairline cracks are common.

What to look for? Here are a few of the obvious signs of serious structural damage:

  • Gaps between walls and floors
  • Cracks around door frames and windows
  • Bouncy uneven floors
  • Warped ceilings
  • Windows and doors that stick
  • Bowed walls
  • Stair step cracks in the stonework
  • Leaning chimney

You can inspect your home for these issues. If you suspect an issue, call a structural engineer or contractor to inspect your home and provide you with solutions.

Update Drainage

Keep water away from your foundation. Gutters should point away from your home. Don’t let rainwater collect near the foundation. You may have to add extra drainage if you find that your natural landscape pools water near your home.

Check for Termites

Believe it or not, termites can imitate structural damage to your home. If you see some of the problems above like bowed walls and sagging ceilings, be sure to eliminate termites as the culprit.

Check the Concrete

Does your foundation have mortar erosion? Over time the exposure to chemicals and high moisture changes the chemical composition of the concrete. Absorb salts react with steel, causing serious corrosion.

Call a Professional

If you find any of these serious structural issues like a leaning chimney and large cracks in the foundation, contact a professional to repair your home. Call us today to discuss how we can repair your home. Prevent long-term structural damage to your home today.

What are signs of structural damage to a house?

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Your home is a sanctuary and an investment. But when you see cracks in the foundation – when to worry about calling a repairman? Your foundation provides your home’s overall structural integrity. When concrete cracks, long-term damage can cause expensive problems. Learn the difference between settling and serious foundation issues.

Your Home’s Foundation

Over time your home sinks into the ground. This is a natural occurrence. Changes in weather like a dry season to a really wet season can cause cracks in the foundation; when to worry? When you see cracks in doors and windows, sticking doors, and serious large cracks in the foundation. Soil contraction and expansion shifts the soil underneath your home. Settling and foundation problems can affect both new homes and much older homes.

Advanced Foundation Damage

Jagged cracks at 45-degree angles mean the home has serious shifting issues. The shift may have torn the sheetrock apart under the home. Your doors and windows stick as the foundation shifts. Cracks above window frames observed from the outside indicate that the foundation is in serious disrepair. Horizontal cracks in the foundation mean that there is hydrostatic pressure building up. Uneven flooring and cracks in bathroom tiles can be other indications that a home has serious foundation damage.

Foundation Repair

Hire a structural engineer to assess the damage to your home. They will evaluate the foundation and provide an engineered solution to fix the issues. This will cost a few thousand dollars. Your contractor has a few options to fix the damaged foundation. Bolting on steel braces and underpinning the foundation are two options. A brand new foundation for your home can cost tens of thousands of dollars. If you detect small hairline cracks, paint them over. Then monitor them for changes over time. Contact a professional if the cracks grow larger.

Do you think you need to repair cracks in your wall, need masonry, or have some structural issues? Contact our professionals today. We will be ready to help you.

How Much Does It Cost to Fix a Leaning Chimney?

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An unstable chimney detracts from the home’s overall curb appeal and can present a danger to your family and valuables. Regular chimney repair and maintenance, chimney repointing, fixing a leaning chimney, and replacement will ensure that you and your family will enjoy years of warmth and comfort. What are the costs of repairing a leaning chimney?

No Time to Wait

A leaning chimney often points to serious structural and foundational issues with your chimney. While regular maintenance and chimney repointing helps, if you have a leaning chimney, it is important to speak with a chimney repair professional today. A leaning chimney can collapse at any time, landing on a house, roof, or vehicle. Additionally, an unstable chimney presents a serious fire hazard and an opportunity for irreparable water damage from precipitation.

Take the time to identify the structural problems. For example, does your chimney seem to be leaning away from your house or falling onto the yard? Does it seem to be falling towards your roof? If you do not know what to look for, call our professionals today about an inspection.

Chimney failure can be because of inferior footing, water drainage issues, or inferior soil under your chimney. This is a significant problem that needs to be taken care of before further damage occurs. Fortunately, once you repair the leaning chimney with a quality chimney repair contractor, you will enjoy your chimney for years to come.

How Much Does Leaning Chimney Repair Cost?

Leaning chimneys often point to a foundational issue in the home. The brick pulls away from the side of the house. Expect to spend a few thousand dollars to repair this issue. However, a chimney repair professional will be able to most accurately assess the actual damage done and find ways to repair your chimney within your budget with the best materials.

Wall Repair: Don’t Just Hire Anyone

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You love your home or business and want the highest quality contractors. But how can you find the absolute best commercial masonry services in a sea of renovators? Check out these incredible insider professional tips to finding the right service for wall repair and masonry.

Research

Long gone are the days where you had to thumb through an enormous phonebook or scour local TV ads to find the right contractor for your project. Instead, you can easily find the best commercial masonry services online with a click or a swipe. Do your homework and keep a handy checklist ready that includes information about references, license, and insurance. Verify all of the information.

References and Word-of-Mouth

References from a friend or neighbor are invaluable. In fact, if you know someone who recently had a high quality masonry job completed, ask them for the name of their contractor. Read carefully through references and testimonials on websites. Call the contract and ask for names and addresses of specific projects.

Look through the gallery pages of recent work. See if they have projects that are similar to what you need done, whether it is wall repair, chimney replacement, tuckpointing, or other masonry services. Be thorough in your searches.

Be Professional

Keep interactions with the contractor professional. Speak up when you have a question or need them to change something. If you find a problem, address it immediately in a professional way. Vocalize your vision and expectations for the project immediately. Get everything in writing and maintain a paper trail (or email trail). Add any changes in writing and initial. Be present during the entire process.

Contact our incredible friendly professional masonry experts today for high-quality installation services. With years of experience, you can trust Cummins Restoration for your masonry services. Call us today.