Structures designed with masonry are made for performance and durability, not to mention the aesthetic component. However, even the most soundly designed and constructed masonry buildings eventually require periodic maintenance. Over time, environmental factors, weather, chlorides, and pollution all contribute to the need for repairs. In this article, we will help explain how to recognize the symptoms of damage that is in need of masonry repair and how to take action.

What is masonry?

Masonry is any work performed by a mason, pertaining to brick or stonework. Masonry is a timeless material and has been a top choice for builders for centuries, due to its durability and longevity. Masonry also serves in the fulfillment of “green-build” initiatives for many building organizations.

What do I look for in masonry damages?

If you notice small problems, even if they are simply aesthetic issues, it is important to address them before they balloon into expensive problems which can require extensive and inconvenient repairs that are potentially invasive. Being proactive about masonry repair is key when it comes to maintaining your building and keeping it beautiful and functional for the long term.

  1. Cracks

    Cracking brick is quite common. Houses settle, Indiana rains, the freezing and thawing of the winter months, and eventually masonry gives, cracks and breaks. If you want to repair cracks in masonry and concrete, remember if you don’t fix the condition that caused the cracks, they will show through or break your repair. If you want to repair cracks in masonry and concrete, remember if you don’t fix the condition that caused the cracks, they will show through or break your repair.

  2. Spalling Bricks One of the most obvious signs of masonry water damage comes in the form of spalling bricks. Spalling occurs when moisture makes its way into the porous surfaces of the bricks and freezes, causing the faces of the bricks to crumble away. That break down of chimney bricks can lead to an overall breakdown of your chimney structure, requiring masonry repair.
  3. Chimney Discoloration
    Staining along the outside walls of your chimney can be one of the first signs that your chimney is absorbing and retaining moisture. Generally, the discoloration will show up as white resident, called efflorescence, along the outer walls of your chimney. You also should be on the lookout for rust streaks down the sides of your chimney, a sign that your chimney cap is corroding and wearing down.
  4. Crumbling Mortar One of the most common masonry repairs comes when mortar joints break down. You’ll notice the mortar crumbling away, leaving gaps in between the bricks. This can be fixed relatively easily with a service called tuckpointing, but if left unchecked, crumbling mortar can cause your chimney to fail, left you needing serious masonry repairs.
  5. Damaged Walls and Ceilings
    While it may not look like a masonry problem, stained walls, peeling wallpaper and sagging ceilings inside your home, along the wall your chimney’s on, can be a sign that water is seeping into your chimney’s masonry. Eventually, that water can make its way into your home’s structure and cause damage to your walls, ceilings and joists.


What do I do when I notice masonry damage?

This Spring, we recommend you take a walk around your chimney, as well as any other areas of your home where masonry exists, and keep your eyes open for signs of potential masonry damage. Repairs of this caliber are best suited for a team of certified professionals, so if you notice any masonry damages, be sure to call your local Outfitters for the job! We can help you strategize and carry out needed repairs.