Mortar Repointing and Cracked Bricks

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Old 09-29-12, 01:56 PM
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Mortar Repointing and Cracked Bricks

Hi,
I'm in the process of prepping my house for painting. The house was built in the early 40's out of what I'm calling "cinder brick". The bricks are shaped like regular old bricks one would build a house of, but they are made of the same stuff as cinder blocks. I bought the house last year, and this summer the paint began peeling badly. As I pressure washed it, I found that with some patience, I could remove most of the paint, right down to what I assume is the original primer. Removing all of the paint, though, revealed some cracks, most of which follow the mortar; however, a couple of the cracks go in a straight vertical line right down through mortar and brick, both. As they were all under several layers of paint and show some signs of patching, I think these cracks are old and don't believe there is a structural problem with the foundation, so I'm planning on repointing the worst of them and patching the hair line ones with a caulk of some type. I'm interested in recommendations for what to use to patch the hair-line ones (one guy I talked to suggested an elastomeric caulk). Also, I need to know what to do about the cracked bricks. Is it possible to simply angle grind along the crack and fill with a mortar, being careful to maintain the original look of the bricked surface, or do the bricks need to be replaced?






Thanks for your replies.
 
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Old 09-29-12, 06:28 PM
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Looks like you have a bad foundation or the soil below the foundation is not stable. you may have to ask a structural engineer to do an inspection. For repairing the bricks, you have to clean the brick (water is ok), remove any chipping parts, bad mortar. When finished, re-point the joint with a non-shrink grout. This is availble in most home improvement center.
 
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Old 09-30-12, 03:21 PM
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Thanks!

Let me see if I'm following you here: clean the brick, remove loose/chipped material and bad mortar, then re-point. What about the cracked brick? if I follow your instructions, it sounds like I'm leaving the cracked brick as is?

I've been searching Google, but I can't seem to find structural engineers in my area (Lansing, MI). The search ends up with home inspectors, and the ones I've looked at make no claim to an engineering degree...

BTW, I realized all of the vertical cracks occur directly under windows, if that makes any difference.

AND...I meant to mention, there are no cracks in the basement cinderblock or the concrete slab...
 
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Old 10-01-12, 06:24 AM
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I'm a painter not a mason but I would think the larger cracks would best be chisel out and filled with mortar. Other than that I'd caulk the cracks.

Is the remaining paint/primer chalky? If it is, fresh paint won't stick unless you either use an oil base primer or add Flood's Emulsa Bond to latex primer.
 
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Old 10-01-12, 10:17 AM
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The layer that was just above the primer almost looks like a thick stucco, or something. Almost like they were trying to patch over the brick, or something. Most of that came off with the pressure washer, but what didn't, when I scrape it with a scraper, turns to dust. The primer itself is flat and a little bit glossy, but not at all chalky.



Thanks for your input.
 

Last edited by Matt Clara; 10-01-12 at 10:38 AM.
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