Masonry Repair

Crack repairs. Skilled masons can usually repair cracks so the untrained eye will not know the crack existed in the first place. However, all cracks were caused by something, often a settling foundation or an inadequate footer. If you repair the crack without fixing the problem that caused the crack, the crack usually returns.

Expansion joints. Foundation settling is a common issue. Unfortunately, even the most minor foundation settling can stress the walls and lead to cracks at the weakest points, which are often under the corners of windows. The crack usually appears as a step crack directed down and away from the corner of the window. To prevent such cracks, vertical expansion joints are cut through the brick at one or more locations along the wall and then caulked. If the wall has windows, expansion joints are often cut under the corner of one or more windows. The expansion joints divide the walls into smaller portions that can settle independently.

Fireplaces and chimneys. Depending on the quality of the original construction, some chimneys and fireplaces require maintenance after 10 to 20 years. Common repair problems include leaning chimneys, deteriorating brick or mortar, and failing flashing. All these problems can result in leaks. Additionally, to prevent rain and small animals from entering the chimney, all chimneys should be topped with a chimney cap. Firebox safety problems, such as loose bricks, cracked mortar, or poor draw (when smoke enters the living area), can also be diagnosed and repaired.

The interior look of the fireplace can also be changed to match the homeowner’s taste. The hearth, inside wall, and firebox can all be rebuilt out of brick, stone, and/or tile.

Arches and angle irons. Brickwork and stonework over arches, garage doors, and, to a lesser extent, doors and windows, present a problem due to the weight of the material. Professional masons build steel angle irons into the structure to transfer the weight of the brick or stone above the opening to the side columns or side walls. The side columns and side walls are constructed on a firm foundation.

Some arches and spans were originally installed with steel angle irons, columns, and supports that cannot adequately handle the weight of the brick or stone. In many cases, the angle iron starts to sag, and cracks develop in the brickwork or stonework. Often, the problem can be repaired by hydraulically raising the sagging portion and then bolting the angle iron to the header. However, in some cases, the brick or stonework may need to be disassembled and later rebuilt as part of the repair.