Whether your building is constructed of concrete or brick, proper masonry weatherproofing techniques can protect the surface for years to come. This article focuses on the benefits of weatherproofing both concrete and brick surfaces.
Concrete can erode over time, especially if it is exposed to moisture. However, what many people don’t realize is that when ice or water damage becomes visible, the integrity of the structure has most likely already been compromised from within. To maintain strength and appearance, you need to weatherproof your concrete surfaces.
Weatherproofing will not only protect your concrete surface but also save time, money, and labor on future maintenance.
Moisture damage is also the number one cause of mold and mildew growth. Not only can these two elements destroy your structure, but they may also pose health risks to those exposed to the air within the building.
Much like concrete, brick can suffer from significant damage if it is not adequately protected. When water freezes, it expands. If this expansion takes place in the pore spaces of a brick or between the brick and mortar, cracks are likely to form and propagate. With additional expansion cycles, the severity of the cracking may increase until the damage is repaired or the wall fails.
Water also carries salts into brick walls, either leached from cement in the mortar or percolated from the ground. As the water evaporates, salt crystals (florescence) form either on the surface of the brick (efflorescence) or within the pores of the brick (cryptoflorescence). Efflorescence is unsightly but does not usually damage brick by itself. Cryptoflorescence, however, can seal water into brick pores, causing expansion damage, or damage to the brick directly as the salt crystals expand.
Sealing Concrete and Brick
Sealing brick and concrete walls can prevent moisture from penetrating junctures exposed to severe weather. Exterior masonry coatings and sealers are considered to be water-repellant but not waterproof. Nevertheless, when properly applied, these compounds change the capillary angle of the pores in the face of the masonry wall from positive (suction) to negative (repellency). In certain situations, coatings and sealers can also bridge or fill hairline cracks or separations in the face of masonry walls and provide some protection from damaging freeze/thaw cycles.
Through Wall Flashing
Brick walls that are designed to shed water are most desirable. However, through-wall flashing provides the best defense against water penetration. Through-wall flashing is an impermeable membrane placed in the wall that extends from the sheathing, across the air space, and to the exterior of the brickwork. Properly installed flashing keeps water from penetrating through a wall face. Through-wall flashing at grade level prevents water from seeping into the upper section of a wall from the below-grade masonry.
For more information on masonry weatherproofing, contact the experts at Abbot Building Restoration. Founded in 1936, our team has the experience and expertise to execute any masonry job with precision. From small buildings to large, we have what it takes to keep your building protected. Contact us by phone at (617) 445-0274 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.