Mortar Conditions 1931 Bungalow

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This topic contains 2 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  Kurt 2 years ago.

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  • #1437

    LoriS
    Participant

    I wonder if this is still the original mortar overall. Does the condition look reasonable for its age, and could some maintenance be performed that would not entail a complete re-do? The area of greatest deterioration and spalling is on the north side near and on the chimney.

    At ground level and under the window sills there are some cracks and crumbling away of material. I would like to do maintenance to keep the basement in its current dry state. I would also like to put a penetrant of some kind on the spalling bricks to slow that process.

    Any thoughts, observations, comments, advice are welcome. PDFs of photos are attached.

    Thank you

  • #1441

    LoriS
    Participant

    Pictures of the south and East side

    • #1484

      Kurt
      Keymaster

      Sorry for the ridiculously late reply…..We’re learning about hosting and I guess we’ll chalk this up to beta testing the new site….

      The north side pics show a few deteriorated bricks, but overall, nothing I’d get too bothered by. I’d probably save it for sometime when I was doing some real work on other areas of the house. Which brings us to the “chimney” pics….

      There was clearly leaks or water issues around this chimney, resulting in the water damage that was subsequently repaired with the wrong (too hard) mortar. The massive spalling is caused by the hard mortar causing the brick faces to spall (shear off). There’s no repair now except stripping the outer wythe brick an replacing it. When this repair is being accomplished, you could have your mason address some of the minor issues at the north side.

      The south and east sides also used the wrong mortar, but lacking any apparent water issues (like the chimney side), it’s still doing OK. It’s not right, but it’s working, so I’d likely leave well enough alone.

      Your bungalow, like my own, has had successive “tuckpointing” repairs that were not repairs as much as they were applications of incompatible mortar. My approach has been to repair the bad stuff, and leave the stuff that’s done wrong but still working for a later (if ever) date. Sometimes you can do stuff wrong and it still works OK, which means the underlying wall probably wasn’t so bad to start with.

      Get some proposals from competent masons, meaning masons that understand mortar compatibility. Nearly all of our bungalows used extremely soft mortars, usually a Type K or L, which aren’t readily available and have to be custom ordered or custom mixed on site.

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