Brick structures last for decades, but they sometimes need maintenance to keep them in good shape. The mortar between the bricks tends to wear out much quicker than the bricks themselves. By repairing mortar when it needs it, you can prevent escalating damage to your brick fireplace that might require replacing the bricks. Early repairs help the bricks have a long life. Here's a look at how repairs might be done on a brick fireplace.
How To Know When Repairs Are Needed
If you see cracked or loose bricks, then repairs are in order, and you've probably waited longer than you should have to get repairs done. It's best to have repairs made when the mortar between the bricks starts to wear away. You can take a metal object such as a spoon and scrape the mortar to test it. If scraping the mortar causes it to break apart and crumble, then that's a sign that repairs are needed. Normally, mortar is strong and difficult to remove from between the bricks, so if it's weak, it's a good idea to call in a masonry expert to take a look at your fireplace to see if it needs repairs.
Why Damaged Mortar Should Be Replaced
The mortar around the bricks is what keeps the bricks stable. Mortar also seals water out of a brick structure. Water shouldn't be a problem with an indoor fireplace, but if your fireplace is outdoors then rain can seep through weak mortar and cause the damage to the fireplace to worsen. As the mortar weakens and falls out, the bricks get loose and the stability of the fireplace can shift and cause cracks to develop. By keeping the mortar in good shape, the bricks are protected and the fireplace stays strong and sturdy.
How Damage To A Brick Fireplace Is Repaired
Repairing brick damage is a time-consuming process that requires digging out the old mortar and replacing it with new material. Although it sounds like a simple process, it can be especially difficult. For one thing, the new mortar has to match in color or the repair work will be highly visible. However, a more important factor is that the types of mortar have to match. Different types of mortar have been used over the years in the construction industry and they have different characteristics and strengths. If your fireplace is decades old, it may be necessary to have the mortar analyzed to determine what kind it is so the right type of mortar is selected.
If you're looking for more information about your brick repair service, be sure to get in touch with a chimney and fireplace company like Excel Chimney & Fireplace Service.