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Q = Does waterproofing really work? Does it help?
A = YES! First let me say that there is no product that will make your masonry 100% waterproof by itself. Waterproofings are basically water repellants, and will work 100% if partnered with proper maintenance.
In order to make a masonry surface truly waterproof you need to make sure there are no openings in mortar joints, Cracks in mortar joints, cracks in masonry units, openings at flashing areas.
Once these issues have been repaired properly, and have cured, you can have waterproofing applied. And have a worry free masonry surface until you have to reapply more waterproofing(according to manufacturers warranty usually between 5 - 10 years)
Waterproofing does help because it repels water.
An untreated surface will absorb water and moisture and in colder weather go through the freeze/thaw cycle which will cause premature deterioration.
Q = Should I be concerned if I have moss growing on my chimney?
A = Yes, and it doesn't matter what type of vegetation either...if there are plants growing out of your chimney, that is a tell tale sign that there is moisture within your masonry structure. These signs indicate that moisture is escaping (feeding plants), but they also indicate that moisture is entering. Moisture is responsible for the damage to masonry caused by the freeze-thaw cycle. This means your chimney is no longer water tight, and ignoring this damage will inevitably turn a repair into a rebuild. The longer the signs are ignored, the more extensive the rebuild, the more expensive project.
Q = How often should my masonry be maintained?
A = When speaking of exterior masonry it should be maintained as often as the other exterior elements of your structure, like the paint on your house or the shingles on your roof. These are what keep your structure water tight. Maybe have a comprehesive inspection by a professional once every 5-10 years depending on the climate in your area, and how moist or dry it is in your area. You can also make regular inspections yourself (once a year).
Some things to look for:
Deteriorated, cracked, or open mortar joints.
Deteriorated, cracked, or damaged masonry units (brick, block, stone, etc.)
Loose or displaced masonry units
Evidence of moisture infultration (vegetation growth, damp or discolored spots)
If any of these deficiencies are noticed you should address the problems sooner rather than later. Waiting can allow more damage to occur(via freeze/thaw cycles) leading to more costly repairs or rebuilds
The DID YOU KNOW tab defines the freeze/thaw cycle.