Brick houses are usually more expensive than other types of construction because of their highly prized characteristics. They are solid, well-insulated, and can stand the test of time provided they were correctly constructed and have a solid foundation.
When you’re shopping for a home and looking at brick houses, it’s crucial to keep in mind that, while brick houses are desirable, some develop problems with their foundations or the brickwork that can lead to costly repairs. When looking at homes, know what to look for, as some issues can be cleverly disguised by cosmetic repairs that will quickly cause problems. If you miss the signs of damage, you could wind up having to call on a masonry or foundation repair company like Brickworks Property Restoration to correct any problems.
Inspect the mortar between the bricks of the walls. If a lot of it is crumbling or falling away, you may have to invest in having it redone. If some gaps or cracks branch out and spread, the problem may have been caused by the settling of the home’s foundation, which is an even bigger problem. If you notice there are areas where the mortar is a different color than the rest of the house, cosmetic repairs may have been made, but there’s no guarantee the root cause has been addressed. Be sure to ask the realtor or homeowner whether there have been any repairs to the foundation. Sometimes cracks in the mortar or missing mortar in a stair-step pattern going up or down the exterior wall is a sign of frost damage or thermal expansion.
Bulging or Crooked Walls
If any of the walls appear to bulge or bow outward, significant repairs will be needed. If you aren’t sure whether the wall is bulging, check by dropping a plumb line from the roof down along a corner of the house to see if the edge of the wall is vertically straight. Another indication that damage has been repaired is areas of the wall that have brick and mortar that don’t match the rest of the house.
Sometimes a quick look at the windows can indicate that the building is settling unevenly. If the window ledges look crooked, as though they are sliding in one direction or another, the house’s foundation may be unstable.
Check over the windows and doors. These areas are susceptible to leaks and damage due to poorly applied caulking or sealing. This often leads to rust and cracked or loose bricks due to moisture damage. Signs include rust discoloration along the top of the lintel and streaks of darker color around the top edges of the openings.
Many homeowners sandblast their brick homes to remove stains, algae, or loose paint. Unfortunately, the high-pressure water can damage the hard, outer surface of the brick. The exposed brick underneath is softer and prone to quickly deteriorating. They absorb moisture and will crumble and flake, particularly if further damaged by frost.
Images from Brick House by Architecture Paradigm – See the full story here