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Brick Siding

Brick siding is exactly that, siding, it is not a structural part of the house. Under normal conditions brick siding will last the life of the building with very little maintenance.

Brick is one of the most durable siding materials used for residential construction: it doesn't need to be painted, it doesn't rot or fade, and it weathers great. Brick-veneer siding is usually applied to a wood frame wall over building paper or sheathing. Brick can be laid in many patterns and come in different sizes, textures, and colors. Brick also provides excellent insulation for your home.
Bricks are held in place with mortar. This is a mixture of cement, sand, lime, and water. The mortar that holds the bricks together can be finished, or "tooled," in several different ways. It can be:

* Concave
* Flush with the bricks
* Extruded between them
* Raked
* V-joined

Solid mortar and properly tooled joints are the biggest key to keeping your home weather tight. Although bricks and mortar are solid, they are porous. If you live in an extremely rainy climate, you might want to consider putting a clear water-repellant coating on your brick building to preserve the brick, especially if you have several freezing and thawing spells each winter.

Most of the problems with brick veneer sidings will occur along the mortar joints. The bricks themselves will rarely have a problem. If the mortar is poorly applied or it contains substandard ingredients, it will crumble eventually. Even the best mortar can wear away eventually. It shrinks and cracks open. Freeze-thaw cycles in cold climates, heavy rain, settling, and earthquakes may also result in mortar problems. Heavy rain and dampness can possibly cause brick to lose its effectiveness as an insulator and may eventually affect the finish of interior surfaces.

A white powder may appear on some brick veneer. This is efflorescence. It may be due to the normal action of heavy moisture in your climate, or it could indicate a leak. You can clean the efflorescence off by washing and scrubbing it with a brush. If the bricks get grimy, you can use a little TSP in warm water to wash them. Be sure to rinse it all away as it may leave a residue or stain.

Keep weep-holes cleared of crumbled mortar and debris so moisture does not build up between the brick and the interior surface of the wall.
Repairing Mortar
The process of replacing mortar is called re-pointing. To repair cracked or crumbling mortar, you should start by chipping out the old mortar with a chisel. Always wear goggles to protect your eyes from flying chips. You'll also need mortar and a small trowel.

Mix dry ready-mixed mortar (weather-resistant type N) according to the directions. Pack mortar with a trowel into the joints that have been cleaned of the old mortar. Tamp the mortar in with the flat of the trowel or a small piece of wood.

You should match the finish of the mortar joints to the existing joints so that new points of wear aren’t introduced. It will be difficult to get the mortar to extrude but other jointing types will be possible. You could finish the mortar flush with the brick, make a V-joint or a concave joint. Cut off excess mortar by sliding the trowel along the wall. Brush excess mortar from the wall and lastly, keep it damp for 3 or 4 days to give it time to cure.

Brick siding is popular for many reasons including its’ durability, low maintenance requirements and great appearance.

Since the appearance and longevity of brick depends so much on the quality of the installation this job requires a professional. Unfortunately, because of the increased cost of installation and the cost of materials, brick siding is at the high end of the siding costs scale. But while brick siding may cost more to install it is estimated to increase the value of your home by as much as 6%.
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