More than simply Mortar Repair
If you find yourself with mortar cracks around your home, your primary plan should not be to ignore them. If you've experienced foundation shifting and you've had that corrected, or if the movement was so slight that no correction was needed, you certainly need to have the cracks repaired. Many homeowners are unaware that the even have cracks due to either in out-of-sight areas, or simply too busy to notice.
When your looking to purchase a home, many home inspectors fail to closely inspect the exterior of the home brickwork and many times the new homeowner unknowing buys a home that needs serious foundation repairs. As a seller, the same hold true, don't scare off potential buyers by having cracks in your brick and mortar work.
The much-needed repair should not be left to a handyman or an inexperienced person. Many mortar cracks have been repaired only to look much worse that before being repaired. I've seen many times that we are unable to undo a bad repair and requires more extensive methods of repair. No one in the profession can guarantee a perfect match of mortar color, but an experienced technician mason can get so close that homeowners are impressed. This is what we are all about and we pride ourselves on it.
Mortar quality is affected by a few factors. The brand quality, ratio of sand mixture and viscosity. Many homebuilders don't purchase the better brands of mortar due to cost concerns. There is certainly a difference in the best to the worst but only a minor difference in cost. For instance, brands that are considered in the industry as good are TXI, Lonestar and Alamo. The amount of sand can have a great impact on mortar strength. Too little sand will make the mortar brittle. Too much sand will make the mortar erode much faster.
Causes of Cracks
Shifting in wall, or building structure and vehicle impact are the two primary causes of mortar cracks. Eliminating vehicle impacts can be made quite easily in most cases, but how do you stop wall or building shifting. Soil movement can result from many factors. Other than earthquakes, the primary ingredient for soil shifting is water content. The expansion and contraction of soils can best be controlled by controlling the water content in the soil. The goal should be for every homeowner to “not let their soil get too wet and stay wet, and not let it get too dry and stay dry”. When soils go back and forth between these stages, there will always by shifting of the soil under and around a home. The best way to help in this battle is rain gutters, good functional rain gutters all the way around you home and French drains to control and divert the water away from the home.
The placement of landscape schrubery is critical as well. Thousands of homes in the Dallas area area damaged continually every year due to schrubs and trees pulling the moisture out of the ground from under the home. Don't make the mistake of thinking your sprinkler system is doing this for you.
The Soaker Hose
No plantings should be this close to your home. Period. The simplist way to aid in the water content stability around your home is to invest some time and a little bit of money in a "Soaker Hose" system. Home Depot and Lowes sell these items and now there are even timers that can allow the process to be automated. For an even more controlled and professional operation, have the foundation soaker system connected to it's own separate valve in the sprinkler programing. For the system to work best, it should be tested and adjested to water consistantly around the foundation.
After operation of watering meets your needs and there is no puddeling noticed, consider burying the hose under your mulch close up against your foundation. Even the perimeter of your drive way.
By doing this the hose is less subject to being damaged during lawn maintenance and the UV protection will double the life span to perhaps 12 to 15 years.
June, July, August and September are the criticle months but with minimal rain or snow fall in the winter, you should operate occasionally as well. If you see gaps around you foundation and the soil, you should water aggressively for 1 hour every day for the first couple of weeks. Ensure that you are not flooding any particular area. Make adjustments as needed. August and September in Texas can be brutal and soils can dry up and shrink very quickly.
Master Masonry has a deep concern for your complete satisfaction of our repairs.
As a second-generation mason, Roger Landry has been performing brick and stone masonry since 1970 when he began as an apprentice to his father.
In addition to being a Master Mason, Roger is a decorated Air Force veteran with a 22 year active duty career.
When it comes to trust, dependability and a very high degree of character, you can count on us to stand behind our work and our word.