Another case of spalling


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Old 03-03-08, 05:42 PM
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Another case of spalling

Our one-story, 43 year-old ranch-style house (on a dry crawl space) has a facade of mixed, used, bricks, many of them the soft, pale, orange ones that I read are just about the worst for spalling. And yes, there's spalling, but itís fairly scattered, not clustered, mostly on the south face, but also some on the eastern and western exposures. It's bad enough that some bricks will crumble to a fine dust, leaving the mortar behind. Iíve seen no evidence of excessive moisture: no dampness, efflorescence, etc., and we have a good overhang.

Because a brick may crumble away completely, replacement is easy if I wait long enoughóthough I donít want to let wasps build nests inside a half-gone spot during the summer. I've replaced some bricks and filled some non-obvious locations with concrete.

From what Iíve been reading here and at another couple of sites, once a brick has begun to crumble, thereís nothing to do but wait until itís bad enough and replace it. Is that the consensus position? Is my best bet to take a course in brick laying at our local tech school, so my replacements will look better?
 
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Old 03-03-08, 05:54 PM
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Just you will understand what is happening better:

The pink/orange bricks are what are called "salmons". In their original use, they were used in the interior wythes of the wall or for interior partitions not exposed to the elements. They are the result of poor firing that led to uneven heating in the kiln. The "good" brick got hot enough to turn ceramic, while the salmons achieved marginal amounts of heat.

When buildings are torn down and the brick are re-used, the salmons get mixed up with the fully-fired brick and are usually laid willy-nilly in the wall (or are picked out and used because of their color).

There is not much you can do other than replace them as you go, or buy a commercial product to consolidate the surface and protect them. A good penetrating sealer will also slow the deterioration.
 
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Old 03-04-08, 07:57 AM
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>The pink/orange bricks are what are called "salmons". In their original use, they were used in the interior wythes of the wall or for interior partitions not exposed to the elements. They are the result of poor firing that led to uneven heating in the kiln. The "good" brick got hot enough to turn ceramic, while the salmons achieved marginal amounts of heat.

When buildings are torn down and the brick are re-used, the salmons get mixed up with the fully-fired brick and are usually laid willy-nilly in the wall (or are picked out and used because of their color).


==> I appreciate the info. That explains the scattered nature of the spalling. We bought the house in part because of the mixed brickwork and its generally "pastel' look. Now I know what the cost of the look is going to be -- there are a lot of salmons. Brickwork class, here I come.

>There is not much you can do other than replace them as you go, or buy a commercial product to consolidate the surface and protect them. A good penetrating sealer will also slow the deterioration.

==> I'll check this out. Again, thanks.
 
 

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