Masonry Repair Services - Causes Of Mortar Cracking

Masonry Contractors to Masonry Repair
Alamo Masonry Repair (AMR) began as a local masonry contractor performing new construction and specializing in custom stone works building patios, waterfalls, archways, retaining walls, fireplaces, and other new masonry structures including brick and stone homes and commercial block buildings with brick and stone veneer. Around '97 or '98 Alamo Masonry Repair started to lean away from the new construction and specialize in repair of masonry cracks and damage as we saw the need for masonry repair services that focused on the details and made a true effort to do masonry repair right, and not just a patch over the cracks. When we specialized in masonry repair, we changed our name to this focus. As with any major transition, it was not easy focusing on masonry repair. We had a lot to learn.

Matching Mortar for Masonry Repair
We quickly realized that there was far more to matching mortar for masonry repair than just adding some pigment to color the mortar. What we found is that most mortars had faded or darkened from their base tone of grey or white. This seemed easy enough to compensate and perform the masonry repairs, but we quickly found problems with the masonry repair industry standard of mixing some from a bag of grey mortar and some from a bag of white mortar to adjust this tone. While the blending of grey and white is the only way to match this tone, Alamo Masonry Repair learned that we could not do this with the pre-mixed bags of mortar without changing the ratio of binding materials and mortar type. This was evident in changes of color and hardness in one batch to the next on the same masonry repair project where we knew that we had measured the exact same amounts from each container.

When we found this, we began research into how this could happen, and the answer was simple. The binding materials have dramatically different weights, and when placed into a bucket and vibrated in transport, these materials separated into layers inside the bucket that we could not see. These studies led us into other research to better improve the industry of masonry repair, but we identified that to blend the grey and white tones you must mix the binding materials in proper proportions for the mortar type ratio on your own and not use pre-mixed bags to blend.

As Alamo Masonry Repair (AMR) continued to research, I was reminded of my formal studies in chemistry and lab works. I had finally found a way to apply the things learned in school to the career I grew up in.

Masonry Repair Services
Alamo Masonry Repair began offering mortar analysis and matching services to our customers to accurately identify the mortar type and compressive strength of their mortar in addition to the color matching services. Over the next ten years, we became not only the first to specialize in nothing but masonry repair, but as we gained competition, we became the most trusted name in masonry repair due to the practice of matching mortars completely and the professional masonry repair services we provided.

While the goal of Alamo Masonry Repair was to provide quality masonry repair, we also wanted to improve the industry and provide all customers the highest level of quality for masonry repair, and realized this was not possible on our own. We could only train so many crews to do masonry repair the right way. So in an effort to reach more customers and provide them the best in masonry repair, we opened our lab services to our competitors and homeowners. This quickly took hold, but it began to create a conflict to compete in the local masonry repair industry.

Masonry Repair in Dallas Fort Worth
This led Alamo Masonry Repair to change our name to AMR Labs, release our masonry repair training manual and bags of custom made premixed pointing mortar to the public, and step back and out of onsite masonry repair services allowing us to provide AMR products and services nationally. We have leased our website for local masonry repair in the Dallas Fort Worth area to a young promising business that seems to put forth the effort to providing high quality masonry repair services and competitive pricing.

For masonry repair services in the Dallas Fort Worth area, visit: and request an estimate.

Copyright © 2018 James R. Nech/Alamo Masonry Repair (AMR). ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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Granbury, TX 76048

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Causes Of Mortar Cracking

Causes Of Cracking In Mortar

Homes with brick siding often succumb to outside forces that influence the structural integrity of the brick. These forces create cracking and damage in the brick and mortar over time. The forces most commonly seen include changes in the soil due to soil type, drainage and movement as well as weather.

Soil Issues

Clay-type soils expand and contract with changing moisture levels. Some of these soils expand as much as seven times their size from dry to wet. This works in reverse as the soil dries out they contract. As the moisture in the soil increases or decreases, it is important to maintain an even balance around and under the slab. If one area becomes more dry or moist than other areas, it may cause upheavals and/or subsidence (settling and sinking) in the slab of the home. This movement in the slab will cause uneven pressures in the brick. This results in cracking in the brick and mortar of the home due to a very limited amount of elasticity in the masonry siding.

Sandy-type soils do not suffer expansion when moisture increases; instead, they compact more tightly. This causes the foundation to settle in areas again creating uneven pressure on the brick. Further, the sandy-type soils can demonstrate lateral movement.

Lateral movement occurs when the soil moves out from under the home causing areas of uneven soil. These cavities create spots where the foundation settles and cracks the brick siding of the home. Lateral movement occurs in most soil types.

Weather Issues

The weather elements also play a large role in causing problems in brick siding. The summers are hot and dry, and allow the perimeter of homes to sink. Other times of the year are very wet with the rain and thunder-storms. This becomes a problem when there is not proper drainage, and areas become moister than others do. In addition, thunderstorms create high wind and hail. Hail causes a number of issues with the brick. It knocks brick loose, and breaks off the faces of brick. In addition, heavy rains will erode the mortar in areas, and eventually weaken the brick wall. Freezing temperatures create a different issue. When brick and mortar are exposed to freezing temperatures, the moisture inside them freezes as well. This causes the surface of the brick and/or mortar to spall (break away and flake off).

All of these issues cause serious problems for the brick, and require brick repairs. Brick repair will restore the structure, value, and beauty of your home. However, a lack of maintenance can result in more extensive damage, higher costs, and many serious concerns.

Copyright © 2007 James R. Nech/Alamo Masonry. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED