Common mistakes in brick restoration. Durability is one of the top benefits of masonry.

While brick is a very strong material that can last many years, it still needs maintenance to ensure a long lifespan.

Many homeowners, especially those with older homes, find that their brick chimney or masonry requires restoration eventually.

When done correctly, brick restoration vastly improves the durability and longevity of the brickwork.

However, improper brick restoration can have the opposite effect. Misguided repairs may actually threaten the integrity of your brick and pose more expensive problems later on.

Today, we’ll review the most common mistakes in brick restoration and the best way to ensure you get a quality repair.

Wrong Mortar Selection

Historic brickwork needs matching mortar. Using modern mortar on old brickwork is a huge mistake. Today, mortar is harder and suitable for bricks fired at higher temperatures. In the past, the mortar was softer and lime-based, suitable for the older bricks which are softer.

Using modern mortar with old bricks is a recipe for disaster. The mortar is not very porous, which can cause adjacent sections to crumble when they expand. Instead, you must ensure that the mortar is suitable for the brickwork.

Poorly Installed Flashing

Flashing are strips places within a structure or wall at strategic points. The flashing is made from a tar-like substance or sheet metal. It channels water from the weep holes out of the wall. The job of channeling water out of the brickwork prevents moisture damage that can threaten your brick structure.

For it to work properly, it must be installed properly. Failing to place proper weep homes is a common problem. The holes need no more than 24 inches of space between them. The wetter the climate is, the closer the holes should be.

Furthermore, placement is key. Flashing should be placed and sealed at the roof, sill, head, and base of the structure to ensure adequate drainage. Each seem should overlap and be sealed, and dams should be in place.

Forgetting about Efflorescence

Efflorescence must be treated to ensure the longevity of your brick restoration. Efflorescence is white crystals formed on the brick wall. The salt from the bricks is moved to the brick’s surface by water. Not only is efflorescence unsightly, but it can cause cracks in bricks and mortar as well. Over time, this may threaten your structure’s integrity.

Careful installation can minimize efflorescence. Failing to properly leverage flashing, drip, and caulking can lead to a serious efflorescence problem later on. The brick restoration must be stable and based on your location’s climate.

Surface Repairs

Masonry issues have an underlying cause. Sometimes, the problem is quite apparent. Other times, it requires investigation. One of the biggest mistakes you can make with brick restoration is failing to investigate a problem to its root cause.

Simply repairing the bricks is not going to be enough if there is a larger problem at play. If the root of the issue is not addressed, it will lead to the same complications again.

Lack of Cleaning

Repointing the masonry is only part of the solution. Never leave the area without a thorough cleaning. Cleaning removes the dirt and debris. Without cleaning, the mortar will not bond sufficiently. Failing to clean the area can result in the mortar that cracks and falls off much sooner.

Gaps Between Bricks

Brick bed joints must be filled. Many inexperienced masons or people trying to do the repair themselves leave gaps between the bricks. Failing to fill these gaps weakens the brickwork.

Thick Bed Joints

On the other hand, too thick of bed joints is also a problem. Excessively thick bed joints threaten the compressive strength of the bricks. Ultimately, the joints must be filled but not too much. Finding this balance is a big challenge for those without professional masonry experience.


Poorly aligned bricks are much weaker. You must lay bricks with proper alignment to ensure a strong, durable structure. An experienced mason can even fix deviations in brick alignment with wall starter screw ties and wavy tail brick ties.

Waterproofing Old Masonry

Waterproofing can be a good way to prevent water damage to bricks, but it has a certain application. Inexperienced repairers may try to waterproof old bricks. Unfortunately, this can track the existing moisture and lead to damage.

Professional Masonry Services

The mistakes above can result in severe problems with your brickwork. Brick restoration mistakes often take place when the job is done by an inexperienced mason or a homeowner trying to DIY the repair.

Don’t take shortcuts when it comes to brick restoration. Instead, turn to the experts at Brick + Ember Outfitters for quality, affordable brick restoration, and masonry services. We always do the job right, so you don’t have to worry about any of the mistakes above. Learn more about our brick restoration services or schedule your appointment by contacting us today!