Brick and concrete are some of the most durable materials that are used in walls, patios, and driveways. However, they are not impervious to cracks and crumbling over time, and will eventually need repair to preserve the structural integrity of your home. While some of the most challenging masonry problems will require the services of a professional contractor, there are several repairs that any DIY-oriented homeowner can complete on their own. Here are two masonry repair techniques that can help you repair concrete and mortar.
Fixing Cracks In Concrete
Cracks in concrete walls, floors, and driveways can occur due to a number of factors. One of the most common is moisture seepage, where water has managed to find its way into small cracks to freeze and expand them. Concrete walls are also susceptible to cracking from movement in the foundation that can occur due to weeping tile problems that prevent proper drainage.
Small and medium-sized cracks can be repaired using patching compounds. You will need a chisel, a stiff bristle brush, safety goggles and a respirator, an air compressor, a trowel, and patching compound. First, remove crumbling pieces with the chisel, and then use the air compressor to blow away any remaining dust so that the compound will have a clean surface to adhere to.
For small cracks, you can simply use a stiff bristle brush to fill them with silicone caulk from a caulking gun without using the trowel. Larger cracks must be repaired with patching cement. After mixing the cement according to the manufacturer instructions, use the trowel to spread it evenly over the crack in a quarter-inch to half-inch thick layer. Use a swirling motion with the trowel to level off the edges of the patch until it is flush with the rest of the concrete, and allow it to dry for three to four hours.
Repairing Crumbling Mortar
Crumbling mortar joints are all too common in old brick walls, and they should be repaired as soon as possible to prevent additional moisture seepage. The process of repairing mortar joints is known as repointing, as you are repairing the pointing, or joints, by adding new mortar.
One of the most important considerations that you must make when repairing mortar is to be sure you are using a compatible mortar mixture. There are several different types of mortar that are in use, but they can be grouped into two categories: Portland cement-based and lime putty. Portland cement mortar has been in use for the past 50 years for home construction, but if your home is older than that you will likely need to find lime putty mortar. You can call on a local masonry contractor to analyze your mortar so that you can get the right mixture.
Replacing mortar will throw out a lot of dust, so you will again need goggles and a respirator. You will also need an angle grinder, chisel, trowel, tuck pointer, jointer, air compressor, and compatible mortar. Use the angle grinder to grind away the old mortar starting from the outside corners inward, and the chisel to knock out the cut mortar. Blow out the dust with the air compressor, and you are ready to add the mixed mortar with the trowel and tuck pointer.
Scoop up mortar onto the face of the trowel, and use the tuck jointer to slide the mortar off of the trowel and into the joints. Finally, you will use the scoop-shaped jointer tool to run along the joints and give the mortar the proper bowled-in shape. After the joints have had 30 minutes to dry, you can use the brush again to clean any stray mortar off the faces of the bricks.
Learning these techniques will allow you to add valuable skills to your handyman repertoire. Be sure to repair any masonry problems in your home as soon as possible to prevent further damage, and always call a contractor for any repairs that you are not sure how to handle the repair on your own. For more information, check it out at your local at your local mortar dealer.
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