Brick and stone masonry can generally last up to 100 years or more, but the mortar joints only typically last for 25-30 years, depending on the various types of weather exposure. When the mortar joints become damaged, water is allowed to seep into the brick or stone, which ultimately finds its way into the interior walls. To prevent water from getting inside of the masonry work and causing damage, repairs to the mortar joints, known as tuckpointing is necessary.

Tuckpointing is the term used for the process of repairing mortar joints in masonry walls by raking or grinding out the old mortar to a specific depth and then refilling the joint with new mortar. Tuckpointing requires the appropriate amount and type of mortar to be used in order to prevent stress on the brick or stone, so it is important to hire a contractor that is experienced in tuckpointing services. Here are a few signs that it's time to have the mortar joints repaired.

1. Crumbling Mortar

The primary role of the mortar is to hold the brickwork together, which creates support for the wall. Over time, exposure to the elements can damage the mortar causing it to crumble. If you notice bits of mortar on the ground, it generally means the mortar is weakening and beginning to crumble. It's best to contact a tuckpointing service to make the repairs before the joints are completely exposed to water.

2. Damper is Rusty

One of the most common types of brick features on a home is the chimney. Part of the job of the chimney is to prevent moisture from entering your home, so if you notice rust on the damper, it's a sign of moisture building up. In this situation, you should contact a tuckpointing service to inspect the chimney for mortar damage and have any repairs done as quickly as possible to prevent further damage.

3. Loose and/or Bubbling Paint

Unfortunately, the signs of mortar damage aren't only visible just on the exterior of your home. Some damage may be visible on the interior walls, especially near the fireplace. If there are areas of bubbling paint, brown stains, or discoloration on the interior walls, there is a good chance that it is caused by water damage resulting from moisture buildup inside the brickwork. It is essential that you have the problem inspected and repaired as soon as possible to prevent the risk of mold and mildew growth and/or wood rot inside of the walls.

Tuckpointing is an important maintenance task. If the damaged mortar is ignored for too long, water will find its way into and behind the brick and cause significant damage. Tuckpointing, when done before it's too late can save you money in the long-run. If tuckpointing isn't done when needed, the masonry wall will eventually deteriorate to the point that the only fix will be replacing the wall.

For more information, contact a company like Excel Chimney & Fireplace Service.