How to Repair Exterior Brick Veneer
An exterior brick veneer is a beautiful addition to your wall but many of those who installed this kind of brick are somewhat surprised to know that brick walls also allow water to leak through. The water seeps through the mortar instead of through the bricks but it can cause serious structural damage to walls and floors. Finding these leaks and sealing them is a task that you can do easily by yourself. Applying fresh mortar and some high quality sealant will give you peace of mind. You will have to get them from a hardware store so you should purchase them first before beginning the repair job.
Step 1 - Inspecting the Wall
Inspect the surface of your exterior brick veneer wall for any obvious cracks. This should include the head joints and vertical mortar. Inspect the locations where the brick meets with mortar more carefully. If there are cracks or separation in the veneer bricks, take them out and replace them.
Step 2 - Taking Defective Areas Out
To knock loose areas that have defective mortar, use a small sledgehammer and a cold chisel with narrow width. Do it by hitting the mortar in an upward, 45 degree angle. This is a comfortable position to work with so it should not be a problem for you. Clean the area free from loose mortar and other debris with a stiff broom.
Step 3 - Smoothing the Mortar
Areas that have missing mortar should be filled with a scoop of mortar compound that is pre-mixed. Use a trowel to complete this task. Then using a jointing and pointing tool, smooth the finish to blend it with the surrounding mortar. Allow 5 to 7 days for the repaired mortar surfaces to completely cure.
Step 4 - Waterproofing the Brick Wall
Get a mortar sealant that has siloxanes or silanes and fill a paint sprayer with it. Most hardware stores carry the item so you can easily purchase one. Spray the whole brick veneer surface with it. Read the label of the sealant product to find the recommended curing time for it. If the leaks were caused by the incorrect mixture of mortar, such as not using enough lime, poor installation, missing weep holes, absence of water resistant backing and faulty flashing, you may have to hire a professional or a contractor for a more intensive fix. This can be expensive so you should have the budget for it.
If you are going to do the job yourself, take note that mortar can cause chemical burns. Hence you should always wear safety goggles and gloves when working on the material. Safety precautions are printed on the label of the sealant so make sure that you read and understand them before doing any work. You should also consider the slight difference in color of new mortar, as compared to the surrounding older and aged surface.