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.