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: http://dfwbrickrepair.com and request an estimate.
We provide testing and matching masonry repair services across the U.S.
1525 Corona Dr.
Granbury, TX 76048
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Masonry repair, brick repair, tuckpointing, crack repair, or re-pointing all refer to the process of fixing damaged or deteriorated mortar joints and cracked or crumbling bricks. Depending on the masonry structure, there may be different requirements or preparations needed to complete the repairs, but the general process of brick mortar restoration is the same. The procedure of how to repair mortar cracks and deterioration is as follows: Planning, pre-repair preparation, preparing masonry for repointing, installation, and cleanup.
Masonry Repair -Planning
In the planning stage of masonry repair, you need to determine what type of repair is needed. You will need to identify the cause of damage and find an appropriate action of repair. For example, if the cracking is a result of foundation settling, you may need to fix the foundation before repairing the mortar cracks, or if your sprinklers are deteriorating the mortar joints, adjusting the spray field to prevent future erosion of the mortar needs done.
You will also need to identify the proper materials for the repair. People often want to leave this part to their contractor. Allowing the contractor this power can often result in problems because most brick repair contractors or handyman performing these repairs are un-aware of the mistakes they make when choosing the mortar. If you are allowing them to choose the mortar materials for the repair, you should at least be knowledgeable enough to know if they are doing it right. The easiest way to identify if the masonry repair contractor is getting the right mortar for repairing your house is what mortar mix they intend to use. If they are planning to use any of the pre-mixed bags of mortar from the local hardware store, they are not matching your mortar and are not repairing the cracks properly.
Masonry repair requires using a proper repair mortar that allows the mortar to bond, expand, contract, and crush at the same rate as the original mortar. The only way to match the old mortar and get a proper mortar for repair is through mortar analysis. This provides the exact mortar formula for matching your mortar type, crushing, bonding, expansion, contraction, water penetration, and other factors about your mortar that will ensure a lasting repair of the cracked mortar joints. It is recommended that you get mortar analysis and matching before contacting a brick repair company so that you are better informed before making your decision of who to hire.
Masonry Repair -Pre-Preparation
Collect a sample of mortar for matching. This is easiest where you have a loose brick, but can be removed at edges, corners, or cracks using a chisel or screwdriver. You will need about a half cup volume of mortar or a few small pieces 1/2 inch or larger. If you are getting mortar matching (mortar color matching) some surface mortar is needed. Label the samples and put them into a bag/container for shipping and send them to a mortar testing lab for analysis of composition and color matching. When you get the mortar formula back with the mortar testing report, you will know exactly what ingredients and in what ratio to mix a proper repair mortar and you or your contractor of choice can follow the formula for mixing mortar to match the existing mortar of your home.
With the mortar formula and the cause of damage determined and fixed, you are ready to hire a masonry repair company to begin the repairs or begin if you are repointing the brick mortar yourself.
Brick Repair -Preparation
Preparing the masonry for repair begins with getting your tools and materials. The common tools for fixing brick mortar cracks are a hammer and chisel or a grinder for the removal of damaged mortar, a bucket, wheelbarrow, or mixing tub to mix mortar, a trowel, hopper, pointers, grout bag for installing mortar into the mortar joints or re-lay of loose bricks, and jointers and brushes for packing, tooling, shaping, and cleaning the mortar joints to match the existing mortar. The common materials are replacement bricks, sand, mortar mix (Portland and lime), pigments. You can pick up these items at your local masonry supply, or order custom bags of pre-matched mortar from AMR Labs to make this process easy.
After you have your tools and materials available, begin removing the damaged mortar (about 3/4 inch deep or more) and the loose or damaged bricks. This process is often very dusty and loud. The mortar joints should be clean of all dust and debris before installing the brick repair mortar.
Pointing Masonry -
Brick Pointing Mortar
Using your formula or pre-matched mortar mix proceed to mix the mortar for masonry repairs. Brick repair mortar should be easily pliable (about the consistency of peanut butter). Then using your pointer or grout bag install the new mortar until each mortar joint is full. Be sure to pack and tool the joints as you work.
The last part of brick repair is clean up. Brush the excess mortar away from the brick faces and mortar joints and allow to dry. After the mortar dries, you can clean any mortar smears from the brick faces using detergents, brushes, a piece of carpet, and if needed, mild acid solution.
AMR Labs offers a variety of masonry repair products to help you get a better brick repair easier and more accurate. We provide Mortar Analysis, Mortar Matching, Custom Matched Mortars, Brick Repair Training Videos and The Brick Repair Guide.
Do-It-Yourself Brick Repair/Tuckpointing
Get The Brick Repair Guide now and learn step-by-step how easy Brick Repair can be.
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Brick Repair In Dallas Fort Worth
There are many common mistakes made in mortar repair. This is especially true of the Dallas and Fort Worth area. To learn more about the problems with masonry brick repair in Dallas/Fort Worth, click one of the following links. Brick Repair Dallas Brick Repair Fort Worth
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