5 Ways to Keep Your Masonry Contractors Honest

Masonry Contractors in Toronto

Before

Masonry contractors in Toronto are no different than any other contractors. Some are honest, hardworking professionals dedicated to getting the job done right and others are dedicated to padding the bill, cutting corners and making excuses. While everyone hopes they get the first kind there’s no absolute way to tell if you might actually be getting the second kind. All you can really do is take preventive steps designed to head games off at the pass and keep your masonry contractor honest.

Tips for Dealing with Masonry Contractors in Toronto

If you’ve decided to engage the services of a particular masonry contractor he’s obviously passed muster with you on some level and that’s great. Now it’s your turn to impress him with the fact that you weren’t born yesterday. You do that by implementing these 5 common sense tips.

  1. Don’t pay in advance – Make sure it’s stipulated in the contract exactly how much you’ll need to pay up front and then stick to that amount. Typically this shouldn’t be more than 10% of the total cost of the job. If the contractor starts telling you tales of woe to try and elicit a larger up-front payment listen respectfully and wish him good luck with all of that.
  2. Get everything in writing – You might feel you don’t really need to lay out all the grisly details in the contract but you’d be mistaken. Thinking you have some sort of bond with the contractor that will ensure he undertakes all the special touches the two of you talked about without it all being written down is kind of like believing in the tooth fairy.
  3. Make it clear who’s securing the permits – It should be stipulated in writing in the contract exactly who will be securing the necessary permit for the work. If a prospective masonry contractor tells you there’s no need for a building permit or simply gives you their word they’ll pick one up first chance they get don’t believe it.
  4. Don’t get bamboozled – Some less than savoury masonry contractors in Toronto will try and pull the ye olde “unforeseen problems” scam on you. If you suddenly hear one day that they’ll need to secure an additional payment because the cost of mortar skyrocketed or they encountered “problems” with your home that are making the job more difficult whip out the contract and ask them to pinpoint the clause that allows them to do that.
  5. Demand to see proof of insurance – There is more than one contractor out there plying their trade without adequate insurance. These guys are ticking time bombs and to ensure one doesn’t go off while working on your home always, that’s always, insist on seeing proof of insurance (both liability and workman’s compensation).

Masonry contractors in Toronto are by and large hard working, reliable, honest folks who do an outstanding job for their customers. Like any trade however there are those who will try to get away with things. It’s up to you not to provide them the opportunity to do so.

4 Masonry Projects to Invest in in 2017

masonry Toronto If you want to protect your investment and ensure that your home remains in excellent condition, you may wish to consider spending a little money on one of the masonry projects that we discuss in this article. If you are not sure which one would be most suitable for your property or whether any of them are really necessary at this point in time, please feel free to call and ask for our advice at any time. We will be more than happy to arrange a no-obligation inspection of your home so that we can give you our professional, unbiased opinion.

Repairing Masonry in Toronto: Call Your Local Experts

We can deal with any of the following repair & renovation tasks and if you are not sure whether they are necessary, we can, as mentioned above, inspect your property and let you know what we think. As a reputable local firm with plenty of loyal clients we never recommend having masonry work done unless it is absolutely necessary so you have nothing to worry about on that score.

  1. Brick Cleaning – Dirty, stained bricks can make the exterior of your home look shabby and uncared for but there is no need to worry because with our brick cleaning service, you can restore your home to its former glory in no time at all. Before we start as new brick cleaning project, we always inspect the walls in question to make sure that the mortar is in a good state of repair. If this is not the case, our masonry Toronto repair team can repoint the joints before cleaning the bricks.
  2. Parging – The covering of interior and exterior masonry bricks to protect them from the elements is something that we recommend doing on properties that have a few layers of exposed above-grade bricks below wooden or aluminum cladding. We use a special mortar mix for parging that guarantees first-class results.
  3. Tuckpointing – Most mortar joints in brick walls only last for around 20 years or so before they need attention. We can remove the outer part of your crumbling mortar and replace it with a fresh layer that will not only make your home look instantly more attractive, it will also help to protect your walls from moisture damage in all seasons.
  4. Chimney Repair – If your chimney has seen better days, our team can almost certainly repair it at very competitive rates. We have worked on a wide variety of projects involving the repair of masonry in Toronto but chimneys have to be at or near the top of the list as far as the frequency of client requests is concerned. Common problems with chimneys include damaged mortar, damage to the crown and cracked flue tiles.

Whether you have a specific project in mind concerning your masonry in Toronto or you would simply like us to give your house the once over, to make sure it is in good condition, please do not hesitate to call during business hours.

Masonry 101: What Experts Look for When Analyzing Your Brickwork

masonry Toronto If you own an older house that contains significant amounts of brickwork it behooves you to have that brickwork assessed from time to time to determine its structural integrity. Cummins Restorations are the #1 choice for the analysis of masonry in Toronto. We identify potential areas of concern in order to stave off problems and identify and fix small problems before they blossom into serious ones that could undermine the integrity of the home itself. But just what are some of the signs we look for that indicate a problem exists or may develop?

Analyzing Masonry in Toronto Homes to Stave off Problems

There are a number of things expert masons look for when analyzing the health of your home’s brickwork. They include:

  • Deterioration of the bricks: During a masonry inspection we may discover your bricks are cracking or otherwise disintegrating prematurely. Some possible causes for this include excessive moisture entering the brickwork through failed mortar joints, the house settling unevenly and a mortar used in previous repointing efforts that is harder than the brick itself.
  • Erosion of the brick: If you’ve had your home pressure washed or sand-blasted this can weaken the integrity of the bricks and hasten the process of erosion. Bricks often have a kind of crust to them that protects the softer interior from the elements. Sandblasting or power washing the brickwork can strip off this protective coating and expose the brick to erosion.
  • Degradation of the mortar: On many older homes the mortar between the bricks will have come loose and even fallen out completely in some places. Repointing the mortar is then called for and carried out by properly trained stone masons. Finding and fixing degraded mortar is a major component of our masonry Toronto brickwork analysis and repair.
  • Assessing the seriousness of dirt, debris and moss coverage: There is no way to prevent exterior brickwork from getting dirty and from attracting moss and mold. The thing the brickwork analysis is looking for is whether the degree of dirt and moss has somehow compromised the surface of the bricks. If it hasn’t it will likely be left as is. If it is found to be somehow damaging the brickwork it should be removed in a non-destructive manner.
  • Structural issues: An inspection of your home’s brickwork will also focus on identifying any real or potential structural issues within the brickwork itself. Is the brick wall bowing outward? Even slightly? Are there stair step cracks in the brickwork? Have some parts of the exterior brickwork collapsed? Following the analysis the masonry expert will provide recommendations for prompt repair and restoration of your home’s brickwork.

Cummins Restorations has been helping homeowners across the GTA maintain the long-term health of their brickwork, and by extension their homes, since 1991. We’re the masonry Toronto experts more residents choose than any other and we’re proud of the fact. Give us a call on (416) 992-7965 to find out more about having your home’s brickwork analyzed or to discuss an upcoming masonry project. We’re here to help.

Masonry Repair: Here’s Why It’s No Laughing Matter

masonry repair torontoAs the properties in which we live age, they can fall into a state of disrepair. Some tasks, such as repainting interior walls or replacing worn carpets are done mainly for aesthetic reasons and postponing them will not have a detrimental effect on your home. Masonry repairs, on the other hand, are a different matter entirely. If you want to protect the value and the structural integrity of your Toronto home, you need to attend to them at the earliest possible opportunity.

Why You Should Never Postpone Masonry Repair in Toronto

There are a number of outcomes, none of which are particularly pleasant, that could result from the unnecessary postponement of masonry repairs in your home.

  1. Chimney Repairs – If the mortar joints between the bricks in your chimney have deteriorated over time, water could penetrate them and cause even more damage. In the worst cases, this can lead to total collapse of the chimney.
  2. Repairs to Brick Walls – The mortar joins in your Toronto home’s exterior walls can also degrade over time and if neglected, bricks can eventually come loose, threatening the structural integrity of your property as well as posing a danger to yourself and your family. Damaged bricks should be replaced, with new mortar to hold them in position.
  3. Parging Repairs– If the surface of your exterior walls have large cracks running through them, parging (the application of a new layer of plaster or mortar) can restore them to their original condition. Leaving them as they are could result in the rapid deterioration of these surfaces as water and ice are able to penetrate the walls.
  4. Tuckpointing – Removing the outer layer of mortar from between bricks and replacing it with fresh mortar is a common masonry repair in Toronto and can help to ensure that brick walls remain in excellent condition. Crumbling mortar, if left to its own devices, could eventually threaten the stability of the wall in question.

If your property is showing signs of age and you are looking for a company that is capable of carrying out high quality masonry repair in Toronto, call Cummins Restorations today and tell us what you need. We have many years of experience in the industry and a first-class team of tradespeople ready and waiting to restore your property to its former glory so please do not hesitate to call, whatever your needs may be.

Some of the Most Common Masonry Repair Mistakes That are Made

masonry Toronto

Before

When in perfect condition, an exterior constructed from brick and masonry can look stunning and really enhance how your home appears. Not only that, but this combination is also one of the strongest that exists and can tolerate conditions that would cause lesser construction materials and techniques to deteriorate far quicker. These qualities have seen brick and masonry become the favoured choice for many people all over the city of Toronto and the rest of the world. But these exteriors aren’t indestructible (no exterior is unfortunately) and it’s vital that the proper maintenance is carried out and the necessary masonry repair is completed when required. But even more important is that the masonry repair is done correctly and mistakes, which could lead to repeated and more extensive damage, are not made.

Masonry Repair Mistakes: What Shouldn’t Be Done When Repairing Damage

While masonry repair errors shouldn’t be an issue if you are thorough when assessing the various masonry contractors that you could hire, it is handy to know what they are and to be able to spot them if they occur. Here are a few of the most common ones:

  • Selecting the Wrong Mortar – The mortar that is used when carrying out masonry repair should always be chosen according to the bricks that the exterior is made from and the style of the property in general. There is nothing worse than combining a mortar with a modern appearance with period style brickwork. The end result is often something that the homeowner wants to hide rather than show off!
  • Incorrect Installation of Flashing – All reputable masonry contractors know just how important the flashing is and will take extra care to ensure that it is installed correctly. It’s a very simple concept whereby strips are placed at certain points in the brickwork at an angle, and water that drips through strategically placed weep holes will hit these strips and be channelled away from the wall. However, a common issue is to create weep holes that are either too small or too few in number.
  • Failing to Investigate the Problem Further – Sometimes the issue that you can see with your eyes is just a “symptom” of a more serious underlying problem. Not investigating an obvious problem further and simply carrying out a masonry repair on the obvious issue is a big mistake and can result in a repeat of this same issue and possible long term damage to your home.
  • Not Cleaning the Affected Area – If you’ve noticed a crack in your masonry and it needs repointing, the affected area should always be thoroughly cleaned before anything else is done. This is because if dust and debris is left inside the crack, it can prevent the new mortar that is applied from bonding properly and it may fall away soon after.

For help diagnosing a masonry repair problem or to receive a no obligation quote, please contact our team today on (416) 992-7965.

How to Find a Reliable Masonry Repair Contractor

Masonry Repair TorontoAlthough it’s one of the oldest construction professions in the world, masonry repair contractors are still very much in demand. These contractors have knowledge of a vast range of building and construction techniques and if some of the mortar joints on your property have separated or the brickwork is damaged, you will need one to resolve these problems. However, it’s not just a case of calling the first masonry repair contractor you come across in a phone book or on a Google search results page, you have to carefully consider which contractor to hire, otherwise you could end up either getting ripped off or being on the receiving end of sub-standard work. If you’re not sure what steps you can take to mitigate that risk, we’re going to provide you with a number of tips during this post.

Steps to Finding a Masonry Repair Contractor in Toronto That You Can Trust

The internet has made it easier than ever before to get in touch with home contractors, but it’s also increased the number of scammers out there, so watch out. Follow the steps laid out below to increase your chances of locating a quality masonry repair contractor in Toronto.

  • Ask for Recommendations – Before you scour the phone directory or take to the internet, first contact trusted friends and family members and make some enquiries as to whether they’ve used a masonry repair contractor in the recent past. If they have, ask them what their experience with them was like, and if it was positive, this should be the first contractor that you get in touch with. Personal recommendations are the easiest way to find a contractor capable of quality masonry repair work.
  • Contact Multiple Contractors – You should never contact just one contractor, as that gives you very little data with which to make your decision. Instead, make sure you contact several at the least, carefully explain the work you need doing and then ask for an estimate. You should also enquire about their availability and should one contractor low-ball you, remove them from your list right away.
  • Ask Questions – Just because you might not be an expert in masonry repair, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t ask questions about the work that you need doing. This will usually help you to gauge how qualified the contractor is. This also allows you to assess how strong their communication skills are and how responsive they are likely to be if you do choose to hire them.
  • Ask for References – If you don’t know anyone that has used a particular contractor, references are the next best thing. Any savvy masonry repair contractor knows that positive references are likely to help sell their services, so if they seem even a little hesitant to provide you with any, you should probably move on to the other contractors on your list.
  • Check with the BBB – Your local Better Business Bureau acts as a mediator in the event that a dispute arises between a customer and a local contractor. They keep a record of such disputes and before deciding who to hire for the masonry repair work that you require, we would advise you to check whether there are any outstanding disputes against each contractor on your list. Those that haven’t resolved a dispute may not be the best choice.
  • Ask for a Clear Timeline – It’s important to ask the contractor for a clear timeline upfront, otherwise you could end up waiting around for a considerable period. It’s also important to ask whether the contractor will provide you with a written estimate that clearly outlines the work being done, the amount quoted and the advised completion date. Failing to do this can cause a lot of problems further down the line.

talk to our team about a masonry repair job, don’t hesitate to pick up the phone and call (416) 992-7965.