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
Or email us:
Brick repair is the process of fixing cracked or deteriorated bricks and mortar. The procedure generally involves removing some bricks and the damaged mortar between them, but in some cases, it can become more complex. While this process is relatively simple, there are two areas where attention to the detail is crucial. These are in the matching of bricks for replacement and matching the mortar.
Most Fort Worth brick repair contractors give great effort to matching the replacement bricks for brick repair and get a close or exact match, but make very little effort to matching the mortar for masonry repairs. When matching mortar, there are many assumptions made. Most Fort Worth brick repair companies make an effort to match the color of the mortar and consider this mortar matching.
This method is the common practice in Fort Worth, but cannot work. The brick repair contractor is assuming the mortar type and the ingredients of mortar mix going into the mortar. While most newer construction is Type "N" mortar mix, there may be alterations of the ratio at any part that change the mortar type. It could be as simple as the ratio of sand to mix and it changes the crushing pressure, bonding, texture and mortar type.
Many Fort Worth brick repair specialists get offended when I say assuming the ingredients and that they don't know what they are mixing. This is because they believe they know due to their years of experience doing masonry repair incorrectly.
The most common method to matching mortar color is to mix small portions of large bags of prepackaged white and grey type N mortar mix. This allows making smaller amounts of mortar for small brick repairs and to adjust the tone of grey to white mortar. However, these bags clearly state that you must mix the whole package with a certain amount of sand to meet the specified mortar type and astm test standard of the labeling. This is because the ratio of Portland, lime, and sand determine the mortar type and how it performs as a mortar.
It is assumed that the content of these bags are evenly mixed, but this is not possible. These bags of mortar mix contain Portland and lime, and sometimes ash or retardants such as detergents. Each ingredient having different weights. (Portland weighs nearly twice as much as lime.) Similar to a centrifuge used for separating blood by weight, or shake tables for extracting gold, the vibration of transport from manufacturing to the distribution warehouse to the retail store to the job site, separates these materials by weight inside of the package. Therefore, measuring out any part of the packaged material is breaking the ratio of its design, and there is no way of knowing how much of any ingredient is being measured. This is why the brick repair guys don't know what they are mixing, or why it crumbles or damages the bricks when it pops loose due to not bonding properly.
How to match mortar
The only way to match mortar is through testing a sample of the mortar and through mortar analysis determine the composition of the original mix and ratios. Then the color of mortar can be matched through the mortar matching process of making a sample of mortar per the formula provided in analysis and adjusting tones of grey and white Portland and pigments as needed to get an exact formula for matching mortar color and type.
AMR Labs provides mortar analysis for brick repair with the optional color match (mortar matching). We also have many brick repair products to assist individuals or contractors including brick repair training videos, The Brick Repair Guide, and small bags of custom matched mortar that are made specifically for brick repair and blended to match the formula of your existing mortar.
Brick Repair Products by AMR Labs make repairing brick mortar cracks easy and accurate.
Mortar analysis analyzes a sample of your mortar (about a cup/few pieces) to determine the mortar type and composition formula. This is done through compressive strength, acid digestion, weight loss, and other scientific mortar testing methods that conform to various ASTM test methods for testing hardened mortar.
Mortar matching can be added to an analysis for $150, or purchased separately if you are certain of the mortar type for $325. This is used to determine an exact formula for matching your mortar that can be used to mix your mortar or order pre-matched mortars.
Each box of pre-matched mortar contains two bags of mortar mix made to match the existing mortar of your home. Bags are 1 gallon sized and vary in weight depending on mortar type and pigments. The cost is $70 per box. If you are needing large quantities of mortar for additions/remodels/large brick restorations it may be more economical to get the formula and pickup bulk ingredients locally. These brick repair mortars are intended for small projects.
Your order can be processed online and pay with your credit card, or you can send a check with your samples to AMR Labs 1525 Corona Dr. Granbury, TX 76048. Be sure to include your contact information with your samples and payment receipt/check.
Do-It-Yourself Brick Repair/Tuckpointing
Get The Brick Repair Guide now and learn step-by-step how easy Brick Repair can be.
If you use the buy now button below to get the book, it will process that order separately than anything using add to cart in order to put you on the download page.
If you are interested in mortar analysis, custom bags of mortar, and other brick repair products or books, visit MortarLab.com for online ordering.