Did You Know?
Here are some informative facts explaining the natural damage that occurs to masonry when not properly maintained, and other important information.
If you have a general question regarding your masonry project, please contact us using our Contact Us tab or via email, and if pertinent to the general public, we will post your questions with the answer in our Q&A tab (citing your first name and last initial only).
Freeze / Thaw cycle: Basically, a freeze-thaw cycle is when excessive amounts of water, or moisture, infiltrates a masonry system via absorbtion, or cracks or openings prior to a freeze.
Once the water freezes, it expands. Water expands up to 9% when it freezes, and this process causes pressure by pushing out from within the pores of the masonry as it expands. As it thaws, this pressure is alleviated. Over time, and mulitple cycles of this routine, the masonry will deteriorate, break down, "spall" or flake off, leaving the structure weakened and vulnerable.
Chimney Crowns: Are the number one problem with chimneys. Because they can rarely be seen, you can't tell when they are damaged (unless you can climb up to the top and inspect it)
The chimneys crown is the top of the chimney usually made from Concrete, mortar or stone.
It is crowned to pitch away from the center which will shed water off of the crown and down the chimney.
If the crown is damaged water will enter the chimney(via cracks in the crown).
Once the water / moisture is inside your structure the freeze/thaw cycle(explained above)
will take place and further damage mortar joints, brick, stone, and flue tiles.
If unoticed a simple crack repair or waterproofing application can turn into rebuilding a percentage of your chimney.
Rust Jacking: The expanding force of rust, or oxidation, on the supportive metal components within a masonry structure, is an event that can have significant detrimental effect on the structure as a whole.
As moisture infiltrates masonry construction, and over time rusts the iron or steel supporting the masonry, these pieces will expand as they corrode. Because they are in such a confined space, the force of this expansion will actually jack the structure above the rusting components. If this is not properly addressed, it will promote further susceptibility to damage from moisture.
Deicing Salts: Are the main reason for premature deterioration of masonry surfaces.
The proper way to maintain masonry walking surfaces is to remove snow and ice regularly and apply SAND (not containing salts). Plain sand.
Deicing salts will melt ice and snow, but what you don"t see is that the melted ice and snow become water, and then mix with the salts to become a brine. This brine will then make its way into your masonry through absorbtion and speed up the freeze/thaw cycle (explained above).
Causing major deterioration of your masonry.
If you have no choice but to use deicing salts then you need to take proper action prior to freezing conditions. The best course of action you can take is to protect your masonry surface with a quality sealer or water repellant during the warmer weather months. This will prevent the brine from absorbing into your masonry and protect your masonry surface from the freeze/thaw cycle.
NOTE:You must reapply sealer to the manufacturers directions. Most will last between 5 - 10 years.