Brick homes are a timeless housing design that will never go out of style. Whether your entire home is made of brick or if it’s only one exterior element, it’s essential to keep them clean and protected from the external elements: this will help maintain your home’s value, structural integrity, and it’s overall visual appeal. Although brick and masonry are durable housing options compared to wood and fiber cement siding, it’s not entirely immortal. Erosion, degradation, and chipping can, and will, happen over time. Don’t let this fact deter you from brick and mortar exteriors, though. With proper care and proactive maintenance, you can help protect your brick exterior and keep it looking fantastic for many years to come. Here are the central brick exteriors and what you can do for them to keep them looking great.
The most significant part of the house in height and surface area, brick exterior walls are the main components of your home’s visual look and structure: making sure that they are in top-notch condition should never be understated. As your home’s primary protection from external elements (pouring rain, storming winds, blazing sun, invasive critters), you must make sure its structure is uncompromised and healthy.
Every few months or so, you should do an inspection or walkaround of your home’s outer brick walls — you can also hire a brick repair professional if you don’t feel confident in your “problem-finding” abilities. Look for any signs of damage or degradation among the bricks. These can range from: loss of mortar between bricks, dislodged or loose bricks; severe discoloration; and cracks or chips. Also, allowing water to sit or make too much contact with your bricks can have adverse problems. This can be from improper drainage systems, sloping foundations, and excessive power washing. It’s essential not to disregard minor problems with your brick walls: a small issue can turn into massive problems down the road if left unchecked, spending lots of time and money in the process to fix them.
Make sure that your home’s gutters and drainage systems are in good working condition. Doing so will alleviate most of the problems involved with water resting on your bricks. Regrade the ground around your home’s foundation if water continues to pool in those areas, this will help your bricks and foundation as well, maintaining their structural integrity.
It’s essential to keep your brick walls clean. This can be done with a power washer — though you shouldn’t do this too often as it will cause further erosion. If any bricks are loose, cracks begin to show, or mortar is falling out, call a home repair company to address the problem. You can attempt to fix these issues; however, if you have no repair background, it’s possible that more damage can be done to your home.
Chimney and Crown
Moving upwards on your house, the brick chimney is a vital structure that should work properly and deserves to look great. Usually, the highest point of a home, the chimney, takes a good amount of abuse from the rain, wind, and just about everything else. Like external brick walls, this can lead to erosion, chipping, and even collapsing if the worst possible result occurs. The chimney crown, the portion highest on the chimney made from cement or excess mortar, keeps rain from entering the chimney: it’s easy to understand why this structure needs to stay intact.
When inspecting your exterior walls, you should examine your chimney and its crown as well. Any signs of damage or degradation should be addressed at once. Also, it is possible to seal your chimney with sealants to help protect them longer. Consult the home repair experts of Brickworks at http://chimneyrepairdetroitmi.com for more help and information regarding brick repair and maintenance.
The chimney (if it’s a functional chimney) also comes inside of your home. When making fires inside your chimney, make sure the proper ventilation and settings are in place. Also, try to avoid using improper fire materials from going up your chimney. These things include newspapers, cereal boxes, plastic items, pizza boxes, and paint materials. Be sure to hire a chimney cleaning service to service and inspect your chimney every year or so.
The front porch of your home is the first thing that onlookers, guests, and potential buyers will see (if they don’t see your chimney first, of course). Keeping the bricks intact and clean is a priority if you’re the homeowner. Because there is more traffic through the front porch than the walls and chimney, chipping and breaking bricks is more common. Be sure to keep heavy objects, like concrete planters, on the ground and not thoroughly pressed against the brick. If there are children in the household, make sure to tell them to be careful when playing around the porch and its corners. Like all the other mentioned brick exteriors, keep the front porch bricks clean, inspect them for damage, and act proactively if something is wrong.
If you’re repairing the mortar between the bricks of your front porch, you can consider tuckpointing as an option to simply filling in the cracks. The masonry technique of tuckpointing uses two different mortar colors to create a clean look and makes the viewer think that the lines are tighter than they are, a sort of optical illusion.
Although not as common, brick driveways are a beautiful but expensive option for a home. Brick driveways require weekly maintenance to keep them looking good and functioning correctly. Weeds and other grasses will poke through the bricks, so removing them and applying weedkiller is good for preventing brick displacement. Mud, dirt, and rocks will also build between the cracks of the bricks. Using a brush, broom, or power washer to clean out the gaps will help preserve your driveway for longer. Here are even more easy maintenance tips to keep your driveway looking great.