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hank2001 05-01-2010 07:52 PM

Question Regarding Repairing A Gap Between Bricks
4 Attachment(s)
New home owner here. I'm looking to repair a gap in the mortar between bricks. I bought some mortar mix at Home Depot. It seemed like an easy thing to repair, but it looks like there's a piece of wood in between the bricks. Pictures are attached. Is the wood part of the house? Did the previous owner put it there? Should I try and pry/yank it out before I apply the mortar? Or should I just cover it up with the mortar?

Bud Cline 05-01-2010 09:26 PM

Have you been digging-around in there to cause that crevice or has that happened on its own?

Cork-Guy 05-02-2010 03:23 AM

I'm almost 100% sure that's part of the house and wasn't just added by the previous owner. I'd go ahead and mortar over it, just make sure you match your new mortar with the old before repairing it or it will stick out like a sore thumb.

hank2001 05-02-2010 09:03 AM


Originally Posted by Bud Cline (Post 44354)
Have you been digging-around in there to cause that crevice or has that happened on its own?

I'm going to assume that it happened on its own. I haven't touched it at all. But the previous owner might have done something to it. The house was a foreclosure, it was on the market for 3 months, and I moved in 3 weeks ago.

I think it's part of the house too, maybe sheathing or something? I'm going to trim it back and seal it with fresh mortar. Thanks for the response guys!

Bud Cline 05-02-2010 12:52 PM

I agree it looks to be original. I think it is getting some moisture and swelling a little, pushing the mortar out. I think you have a good plan, just trim it back and cover it up. Depending on the mortar the moisture penetration isn't usually more than 1/4" into the joint. If you can trim it back deeper than that you may never hear from it again. God only knows why it is there. It isn't anything I'm familiar with.:)

oldognewtrick 05-02-2010 01:19 PM

It looks to me like a window pan flashing thats put under windows or doors to prevent water infiltration from around jams. If thats what it is they should of left weep holes for water to drain out (and that would be over the flashing). If water gets behind the brick and it freezes it will pop out the mortar, but who knows what some folks do...or were thinking

Nestor_Kelebay 05-02-2010 08:40 PM

I'd agree with Oldog/Newtrick.

Judging by the thickness of the mortar bed under the sill, and the thickness of the mortar joints between the bricks, I'd say that that sill was installed by a less skilled bricklayer than the one who laid the bricks of the wall. That suggests to me that the brick sill was replaced, and I expect that "thing" is a flashing. Maybe the person doing the repair, or the homeowner at the time, thought it would be a good idea to install such a flashing so that if the sill ever leaked, the water would be diverted to the outside instead of getting into the wall where it would cause efflorescence on the wall.

I'm presuming whomever did that work was as knowledgeable as us, so I don't think it's a good idea to bury it under mortar. I would just leave it alone and let it do it's intended job. It was obviously installed to allow any water leakage to drain to the outside rather than into the wall. If it's solid and not causing any problems, why mess with it? Why not just leave it alone?

If I were you, I would just leave that sill be. However, if you do decide you want to pack some more mortar in there for good measure, I can say that I've never been very happy with the premixed brick mortar you by in home centers because it tends to loose moisture too quickly to the surrounding brick. What I do to improve the plasticity of brick mortar is to add some hydrated lime to the mortar mix. The lime helps the mortar retain water so that it remains workable for a lot longer. Keep this tip in mind if you find that your mortar dries up to much too fast.

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