The heat is on in North Texas. It’s August, and we can always count on the heat. This year, at least right now in early August, the temps are up with a vengeance. Precautions are always needed in this weather when it comes to all types of masonry work.
When you have hired a contractor to do some re-pointing around your home, which is also called mortar repair, certain precautions should be taken to ensure a quality repair. Hopefully the contractor is grinding out the old cracked mortar and not just placing mortar over the crack. After removing the mortar, the area in question should be watered down, and kept fairly wet, keep that brick moist, (this will not hurt anything behind the brick). This allows the mortar to dry a little slower because if the mortar dries rapidly, then is doesn’t have a chance to bind to both sides of the brick. Then the mortar simply pulls away from the brick and turns solid, you may not notice this at first, but in a couple of weeks, that same old crack will reappear with different mortar. You may ask, why not just make the mortar wetter? This can be done just a little, unfortunately the wetter you make mortar, the weaker the psi content becomes, the strength get broken down.
When having brickwork performed at your home, the same principle applies, but in a slightly different way. When using mortar, it’s usually placed on a mortarboard; the board is kept wet so the mortar doesn’t dry too fast. Occasionally the mason will spray just a little water on the mortar to loosen it back up. Normally most of the mortar will be kept in a wheelbarrow where it can stay moist longer and just a little mortar placed on the mortarboard so it doesn’t dry too fast. This very critical, so the mortar will bind to the new brick being placed.
When the brick is near the mason, a great precaution is to have some type of bucket or trough full of water. Several bricks are placed in the water and the mason can grab bricks from there, the bricks are wet and when placed on the mortar. The brick, which normally would be very hot, will not dry the mortar so fast, allowing the mason to place the brick level and plumb, then allowing the mortar to dry at a slower pace and binding the brick properly.
The same principle applies when laying stone or rock, although because of size we would normally spray the stone and rock with water occasionally. When laying flagstone on exiting concrete, keeping the concrete wet is a big help also so the mortar doesn’t dry too fast on the stone. When mortar dries too fast with stone or rock, virtually no binding takes place, this due to the fact that rock and stone are not a porous as brick is.
Please check out our website here at McFall Masonry and gives us a call or fill out the inquiry form and we’ll be happy to answer your questions.