Brick repair and brickwork restoration services we offer in the Chicago area:
- Spalling and / or cracked brick replacement
- Deflected or displaced brick resetting
- Leaning, bulging, or bowing brick walls rebuilding
- Rebuilding of parapet walls
- Rebuilding of firewalls
- We also restore brick columns, fences, arches, entire chimneys, interior and exterior fireplaces, and more to their original condition.
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There are a few common conditions responsible for brick deterioration, which eventually lead to brick repair or, more often than not, brick replacement. Aging brick walls are the most common, maintenance starving brick mortar lines follow, and Chicagoland’s weather, the third culprit, solidifies the problem.
Without cold winters, Chicago’s brickwork wouldn’t suffer that much, even if not maintained as it should be on a regular basis (every 2-3 decades under normal conditions). Dealing with brick repairs isn’t that difficult as long as we pay attention to the brickwork and the changes appearing on its surface. You can easily avoid the majority of the problems if you act on time and perform some minor repairs if such are necessary.
The new bricks’ face (exposed part) is usually baked at higher temperatures to minimize moisture absorption. Over time however, the devastating effects of rain, wind, temperature variations, UV sun rays, and air pollutants weaken that protective surface which becomes easily penetrable by rain water and moisture. Aging mortar between the bricks permits even more moisture penetration.
Deteriorating brick face surfaces and mortar, combined with water and freezing temperatures, can be easily responsible for the spalling of brick faces and cracking of mortar joints.
Brick spalling is a condition which usually affects bricks prior to the 1980’s. It happens when a brick becomes too soft and too porous, absorbs excessive amounts of water, which then expends in freezing weather and separates the face surface of the brick.
Exposed brick interior allows more water penetration and results in further damage to the structure.
Maintaining / repointing of the deteriorating mortar joints to keep brick edges sealed can significantly minimize the number of spalling bricks in a brick wall. Another way to prevent bricks and mortar joints from absorbing moisture, thus preventing bricks from spalling, is to weatherproof them using an appropriate sealer.
What if it is already too late: there many cracked, spalled, or even displaced bricks in a wall, and there’s mortar falling of the joints?
Brickwork / brick repair involves partial or complete wall rebuilding which can be decided after a careful assessment of the problem / extent of the brick wall damage. Replacement of all deteriorated bricks is crucial in preventing further spreading of the problem.
Two building structural issues resulting in brick repair requirements.
- Problems with uneven settlement of the building’s foundation almost always transfer onto the brick wall, causing cracks and sometimes displacement of its sections. A structural engineer and the foundation contractor involvement is often required if such conditions occur. The foundation might need to be stabilized prior to performing any brick repair services.
- Corroding steel lintels (covered separately on our website) are also responsible for serious brick wall problems. Displacement of several floors in a multi story building, as well as leaning and bulging wall sections, are very common in structures that are even less than 50 years old. Lintel replacement is not always sufficient and portions of the affected brick wall require complete rebuilding.