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Repairing Cracked and Chipped Mortar: Upgrade Your Brick Exterior by Fixing Problem Mortar

While the big, bad wolf couldn’t budge that pig’s brick house, the effects of time will chip away at the mortar between the bricks in your home. While missing mortar can be unsightly it also can cause structural failure of the bricks as moisture can get behind the brick and that will be a very large and expensive repair. Fortunately, repairing mortar is fairly simple and can be completed by the home owner without the expense of hiring a professional.

Before we get started you need to determine what type of cracks that you have. As a building settles cracks in the mortar generally result in horizontal lines or most commonly in a stair step pattern around the bricks. This is the type of repair we are going to discuss in this article. Vertical lines at the edges of the brick are usually a result of the contraction and expansion of bricks. This type of damage should not be repaired with mortar, but with a flexible caulk like compound. If you have this type of damage chip out a piece of mortar and take it to a local brick supplier who can assist you in choosing the right material to complete this project.

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For homes with missing bricks or bricks with significant pieces missing from them with no visible damage to the surrounding mortar you should consult a local contractor. Brick that has water behind it or in the brick will break in this manner. A professional will be needed to determine the proper corrective action to take.

For the rest of you with the standard settling cracks the repair is fairly simple. The required tools are mortar (premixed is best for most homeowners), a small chisel, hammer, safety glasses, trowel (or similar tool), and a small wire brush. Use a hammer and chisel to remove any loose mortar from the damaged area. Be certain to get all of the damaged mortar out of the area. Use a small brush to clean the mortar of dust and other small debris. Get an appropriate amount of mortar on the bottom of your trowel and pushing it into the hole. Continue forcing mortar into the joint until it will accept no more. Now smooth the mortar into the joint. While special tools are available to use you can use your fingers to smooth out the mortar to achieve the finished look. Use your wire brush to clean any mortar off of the surrounding bricks.

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