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Brick Basics
Written by Elizabeth Wood
Editor In Chief, United Home Improvement

Brick happens to be a very durable, beautiful building material that requires low maintenance and brings energy efficiency and lastly appeal to your home. In order to protect the appearance and longevity of your brick, you will need to periodically inspect your brick and occasionally clean its surface.

During periodic inspections, it is important to check for signs of moisture and other damage. Start off by searching for excessive plant growth. Cut down all the plants, such as poison ivy, that are close to the surface of your brick. Also, look for weep holes. Weep holes are small holes at the bottom of the brickwork that allow moisture to drain out of the wall. It is important to clean them out if they are clogged.

Brick will also fall victim to efflorescence, a white, salty deposit on the brick surface. This is a sign a water penetration. It is important for you to clean this off with a brush and water. If hard deposits are left, you may need to use a chemical cleaner. Power washing is advised against.

In addition, you may also notice chipping mortar and loose/broken bricks. Mortar can be easily “repointed” and bricks can be replaced. Repointing requires you to remove the damaged mortar very carefully, without damaging the surrounding brickwork. You will then apply layers of fresh mortar in its place. However, make sure that when repairing a wall, you choose bricks and mortar that are similar to the existing products.

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