Historical Brick Erosion Repair and Best Practices

A lot of people think brick and other hard building materials are ageless. Like somehow they are going to just last forever. But that’s simply not the case. Over time things break down. Bricks are no exception. How you treat your masonry and the weather conditions where you are located are two huge factors in the life of your brick. The good news is that, with some simple fixes and general knowledge, you can save yourself some time (and maybe some money, too) when it comes to erosion. Here are some ideas for historical brick erosion repair and best practices.  

When it comes to brick, the age of the material can tell you a lot. For this post we are going to talk specifically about historical brick repair, which tends to be less stable than newer bricks. The stability variance is probably not for the reason you are thinking, though. Age isn’t what makes it less stable. The way it was created is. All bricks are fired in a kiln to solidify them but decades and decades ago kilns weren’t as controllable as they are today. The inability to fully control the temperature meant fluctuations in heat, which lead to an uneven process in creating the bricks.  

Things like hard power washing and sandblasting to clean brick can take a real toll over time. Pair that with harsh weather — like excessive heat, rain or snow — and at minimum the bricks will be weakened. Most likely the bricks will be chipped away, and the mortar in between will be destroyed over time. This is a great article from the Wisconsin Historical Society about brick erosion and other potential hazards for your historical buildings.  

One of the ways we go about repairing historical brick erosion is with a product called BSM 400. After addressing any of the more extreme problem areas we would apply this to the surface of your historical building to repel even the hardest-driven rains. BSM 400 is a superior silicone-based sealant that acts as an extra layer between the walls and the weather. It will help protect your façade without damaging it further.  

As far as best practices, nothing beats a regular inspection of your historical building by a certified mason. Having a trained professional inspect your structure is the easiest way to identify any issues and put you at ease that you are doing everything you can. Past that, staying away from things like power washing for gentler cleaning approaches is advisable. The urge to clean your walls is great, but it still needs to be done the right way. And a mason would be the person to tell you what that right way is. 

At JLM Masonry, we are more than happy to talk about how to address your specific needs. Contact us today to get the ball rolling.