repairing stonework or brickwork

Fix Cracks and Crumbling Mortar With Easy-to-Follow Guidelines

Most properties have some form of hardscape that involves bricks or stones. It offers a contrast between the lawn, trees or flower gardens. This stonework, however, isn’t a permanent installation. It does wear down and crack over time. Homeowners can perform some DIY steps on their hardscape so that it doesn’t decline at a rapid rate. The repair steps are simple to follow as the brickwork evolves into a refreshed surface.

DIY or Contractor Call?

Before anyone takes on a landscaping project, it’s important to look at its complexity. Residents might ask themselves if the repair issue is minor or major. Minor issues involve mortar decline or small cracks in the main materials.

Major issues require the help of a Boulder landscape contractor. Brick walls that are literally falling down must have an engineer involved on the project. Structural issues are at play, which cannot be solved with a DIY project.

Residents don’t want to tackle big projects on their own anyway. Some masonry work can be extremely tedious for an amateur. Contacting professionals, such as Don King Landscaping, can make a huge difference in the project’s success.

Cleaning it Up

Before a DIY project can even start, cleaning the surface may be necessary. Think about using the appropriate cleaners on the brickwork so that the surface doesn’t become damaged. The surface may be so discolored, however, that a good sanding might be required. Brushes with stiff bristles and other tools can make short work of the dirty surface. DIYers should consider every option as they contemplate their step-by-step process.

Regardless of the cleaning strategy, be sure to wear the proper safety gear. Thick gloves and protective eyewear are part of any successful project.

Removing Mortar

A clean surface reveals even more crumbly mortar in many cases. In fact, this scenario is the most common repair issue that plagues brick walls. Deal with the mortar right away by chiseling it out from around the brick. This task takes some hand control so that no chiseling impacts the brick itself.

Try to take out as much mortar as possible that fills the gap to a three-quarter-inch depth. Use a small brush to wipe away any stuck debris. Residents may want to use a blower to force the particles from the gap too. Always wear eye protection during this task.

Filling the Gaps

Both brick walls and stonework use mortar or other materials to connect the pieces into one unit. The removed mortar leaves the brick unstable at this point. There may be only a little bit of mortar holding the brick at its rear location.

By using a trowel, fill the open gap with mortar. Press the mortar into the gap. Turn the trowel’s edge into the gap so that the material fills the entire depth. Perform this same action on all four sides of the brick. Apply a damp sponge to the bricks afterward to clean up any leftover mortar.

Brick Removal

Residents may have a single, cracked brick. This situation isn’t serious. In fact, it makes the repair a bit easier. Remove and replace the brick with the same tools as replacing the mortar.

Before chipping away at the mortar, however, drill two to three holes in the brick. These holes allow the brick to loosen in its mortared location. Residents can pull the brick from the wall without a struggle.

Clean out the remaining mortar with a chisel. Add new mortar and press in the replacement brick. The wall is brand-new once again.

Stone-Design Consideration

Properties will often have stonework set into the ground for patios and outdoor retreats. If the stones become unstable, residents can work on the project themselves. Remove the affected stone by chiseling away at the mortar surrounding it. If it’s unstable, the mortar is probably already loose.

By using a crowbar, lift the stone up and out of its nesting area. Take a look at the exposed soil. Tamp down the soil if it’s uneven or loose. Carefully lower the stone back into place. Fill the surrounding space with stone dust, mortar or other material.

Complex Stone Arrangements

Some walls aren’t made from brick. They’re a complex arrangement of stones stacked on top of each other. These designs are extremely sturdy, but they can break down over time.

If the stones seem to have crumbling mortar, patch them with the same skills applied to a brickwork design. However, some walls can have more issues than just mortar decline. Be aware of any landscaping issues impacting the wall. Eroding soil, substantial rains and other weathering issues can put extra strain on the stones.

When the wall looks like it’s bulging or falling in on itself, it’s time to call the professionals. A Boulder landscape contractor can fix the issue in little time.

Getting to Know the Professional Perspective

Ignoring a masonry problem won’t make it go away. A professional contractor out of Boulder is a resource to rely on. The contractor evaluates the hardscape and offers an estimate on the repair. All attempts are made to repair the materials instead of replacing them. Be aware, however, that structural issues will dictate the estimate’s trajectory. Contractors cannot repair a heavily damaged wall, for example.

Residents will receive a projected completion date on their estimate. The work comes with a guarantee so that any future decline may be covered by the contractor. Trusting in their work quality should be easy with a reputable company.

Each Boulder property is a unique reflection on its homeowners’ personalities. Define any space with repaired masonry or a new installation. The yard invites people inside, so it remains as an important element to a property’s value and intrigue.