As the cooler weather quickly makes its way into the New England region, masonry building restoration continues full force. However, when it comes to brick repair, a change in procedure, equipment, and sometimes supplies are often needed for success. The goal of cold weather masonry restoration is to minimize the effects of the elements on materials while remaining a cost-effective solution.
One of the most significant benefits of brick masonry construction is that repairs are adequately accomplished in nearly any weather condition. With a bit of tweaking and a few additional precautions, brick repair is as efficient during the winter as it is in the spring. The biggest concern lies within the mortar.
Extreme cold weather causes the moisture held within the mortar to freeze and expand. This cycle may compromise the structural integrity of the building and its components. The Masonry Standards Joint Committee Code and Specification (MSJC), Section 1.8C regarding cold weather, stipulates codes, specifications, and standards to provide needed protections for masonry building restoration and the masons.
Among many of the detailed guidelines, the MSJC lists procedures to assure proper mortar bonding and curing. Even if a cold-weather construction plan is not required, the code requirements are mandatory.
Made from a combination of Portland cement, hydrated lime, and sand, mortar is the binding agent for brickwork. Activated by water, one can quickly understand how colder temperatures affect the hydration ratio within the mortar. The colder the temperatures, the longer it takes for the mortar to set. Without the proper precautions, mortar won’t reach full-strength, which may again compromise the structure’s integrity.
It’s recommended that mortar temperature be maintained between 40 degrees and 120 degrees F. In colder temperatures, maintaining the proper temperature range is possible by incorporating one or more of the following strategies:
Heating the sand and/or water
Establishing up wind barriers around the structure
Enclosing and heating the entire working environment
When it comes to masonry building restoration and brick repair, it’s imperative that you invest in a team you can trust. At Abbot Building Restoration, we bring decades of industry expertise and experience to ensure successful results no matter what the outside elements bring.