Over time, buildings constructed from brick will inevitably require a little TLC. One of the biggest demands for Boston brick repair comes with the need to replace damaged, deteriorated, or loose bricks. However, this need also comes with the challenge of carefully replacing bricks with precision, skill, and leaving the building with a seamless and well-blended appearance.
As experts in the industry, our team at Abbot Building Restoration is taking this opportunity to bring you inside what it requires to match new bricks with the original structure.
When attempting to introduce non-original bricks into an older structure, it is important to match the size and appearance, as well as the functional properties. Often, bricks manufactured using more modern techniques become harder and less porous than what older methods provided. Thus, the result is two similar looking bricks with significant functionality differences.
Then versus now.
Modern manufactured bricks have several significant differences when compared to older manufacturing techniques. Below are a few of those differences:
- Different rates of thermal expansion and contraction
- Various types of moisture vapor transmission
- Separate compressive strength and weight bearing capabilities
Furthermore, mixing bricks can hasten deterioration and open leak paths. Because of the potential differences and consequences of mixing incompatible bricks together, research is always a must before deciding upon which brick to use. While testing the existing building to determine materials properties and finding compatible replacements can be a painstaking task, it proves well worth the effort in the long run.
While we mentioned a few potential consequences of mixing incompatible bricks, there are certainly more. For example, inserting incompatible blocks into an existing wall can prevent the façade from operating as a coherent structure. As one of the most important exterior elements, the façade plays a role in energy performance within the building. From air and water infiltration to allowing light to enter the building, the integrity of the façade is not something that should ever become compromised.
We’ve all seen buildings with sections of old bricks that have been replaced with new ones. Often, the contrast is painfully obvious. However, as you have learned, many problems go deeper than the appearance. So, if enough original bricks are not available, having a fallback strategy is next in line. One technique that has proven successful time and again is to blend the new brick with the original creating a very close match.
Abbot Building Restoration
At Abbot Building Restoration, we take Boston brick repair and restoration seriously. Using extreme attention to every detail, we ensure our results exceed your expectations.