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MattClara 09-29-2012 02:08 PM

Repointing Mortar and Dealing With Cracked Bricks
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 any help you can give!

nealtw 10-02-2012 11:59 PM

Knowing not much about brick I would say the footing and foundation as settled a little along time ago. I would think your patch would work but it would be nice if a brick guy added his 2 cents worth.
And welcome to the site.

MattClara 10-03-2012 10:14 AM

Thanks Neal! That's my thoughts as well. I've got the guy who inspected my home a year ago coming over to look at it.

mudmixer 10-03-2012 04:14 PM

If the cracks id not show through the old paint, they are probably "dead" or stabilized cracks.

The step cracks are usually due to early foundation settlement near a corner or possibly a concentrated vertical load. The vertical cracks are probably shrinkage cracks that are not structural and are usually going near windows/openings and are also stable since they never showed trough the paint.

The cracks following mortar joints can be cleaned out somewhat and tuck pointed. Do not bother wirh the vertical cracked in the brick and just use a quality caulk (the best you can afford) to minimize any possible leakage that was prevented by the coats of paint. Any crack that dies within an existing wall is not critical.


MattClara 10-03-2012 05:59 PM


Originally Posted by mudmixer (Post 77850)
just use a quality caulk (the best you can afford)

Any caulk suggestions, and where I'd get it if not one of the big-box stores?

And, thank you.

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