For centuries, brick has been a mainstay in architectural design. After all, it is relatively maintenance free, and often increases your home’s resale value. However, brick veneers are not always 100% problem free. There are still aspects of having brick – in particular- brick veneers and foundations that homeowners need to be cognizant of and take steps to ensure that problems do not occur.
In the Know about Brick Veneer
If you know that your home has brick veneer – or perhaps you are considering it for a home- then it is helpful to understand what it actually is.
Brick veneer is a single layer of bricks that rests on the foundation of a structure. Behind it, is a wood frame of studs covered with plywood sheeting and layer of building paper, also known as house wrap. These bricks are anchored to the wood with small metal ties leaving as 1-inch gap between the veneer and the inner wall. This space is to allow moisture to trickle down the wall. There is flashing with small holes in it for draining the moisture and to keep the moisture from reaching the foundation.
Brick Veneer Problem Identification
A couple of times a year, walk around your home and check the bricks on the exterior walls. Note any locations where there is crumbling mortar joints, cracked bricks, mildew or other stains. While these might not need immediate attention, they will need to be watched closely and ultimately structural repair(s) will likely need to be done.
In addition to the bi-annual inspection of your home’s brick veneer, you should also inspect whenever there is an especially heavy rainfall or storm. Be sure to check your home’s downspouts and eavestroughs for any water that might have collected. Clear away any debris and, if needed, replace any damaged pieces. If you note any standing water around your home’s foundation, you may want to talk to a landscaper about re-grading your lawn.
Basic Maintenance for Brick Veneer
The beauty of brick veneers is that they really do require minimal maintenance. But there are some basic things you can do to keep them in their prime.
- A few times a year, check the weep holes to make sure they are venting the water away from the foundation properly. If the weep holes are failing to do this, it can ultimately cause significant structural and foundational problems!
- If you notice any blockage in the weep holes, use a pipe cleaner to remove any debris.
- Should you decide to clean the brick veneer, be sure to hose off the bricks before you apply a cleaning compound to them.
- Never use a metal brush to clean the rick veneer as this can scratch the bricks. In addition, do not use muriatic acid as it can stain or even bleach the brickwork.
If you have questions about the condition of your location’s brick veneer, now is the time to get help. The Sherrill Structural Repair team would be happy to inspect your home and let you know of any actions that may need to be taken. Contact us today!