Fall tips for proactively preparing exterior masonry

If we’ve learned anything this 2020, it’s that we all have to be prepared and resilient. There’s one area where preparation and resiliency is relatively easy: masonry. 

Masonry is built to last, which is why commercial building owners and residential homeowners choose to go with brick in the first place. But certainly over time and in poor weather, even masonry can show some wear and tear.

With summer in the rearview mirror, it’s time to look ahead toward fall and winter. For building and home owners in the Midwest, that means taking any necessary precautions to protect buildings from the elements. 

Preparing a residence for fall 

There are many exterior areas of a home that you can better protect from the elements with a few enhancements. 

  1. Clean your gutters and inspect your roof

As the season of water and ice approaches, check to be sure that your roof’s drainage system is working correctly. Clogged gutter areas can cause excessive water in one area of a structure, which can damage the brick or foundation below. 

HGTV says, “As ice expands, the damage to fascia can be severe and a cracked foundation may require thousands of dollars of costly repairs.” With all of the trouble 2020 has brought, don’t add your gutters to the list. 

While you are up cleaning your gutters, give your roof a quick check, too. Look out for loose or removed shingles before the real inclement weather arrives. 

  1. Perform a paint check-up

Walk around your residence to check for peeling paint on the outdoor walls. If there are chipped spots, this may indicate that those areas are unprotected. There are many options for waterproofing such as concrete waterproofing coating, silicate-based concrete sealer, or waterproofing paint depending on your needs.

  1. Take care of broken sidewalks, driveways and steps

Besides the potential tripping threat during the winter season, you want to take care of existing cracks because the cold weather will only make them worse. Seal up cracks with a filler and then coat it with a commercial sealer. We can’t promise this season will be smooth sailing, but you can at least ensure your walkway is. 

Preparing a commercial building for fall 

The same principles of residential structures apply to commercial buildings, but there are a few extra precautions to take to keep your building protected. 

  1. Make sure the roof is in tiptop shape 

Look out for any damages or shingles missing and make sure the gutters are clear. This will help prevent an ice dam from forming and keeping water from flowing off the roof. An ice dam can cause damage to walls, ceilings, insulation and other areas, according to the University of Minnesota Extension.

  1. Give your windows an inspection 

Make sure to check the interior and exterior to ensure both areas are sealed. Not only can this keep cold air out and reduce your energy costs, but sealing windows also prevents excess moisture and reduces the risk of mold. It’s a win-win to keep your building protected for now and in the future. 

  1. Outdoor areas to check 

Checking exterior walls for major cracks or openings is an important task in preparing your building for cold weather. Make sure the grass or plants around your building are graded so that water and ice do not form a pool there. 

By taking the time to check on the exterior of your residential or commercial building, you can avoid costly repairs later. No doubt, none of us need any more bad news this season.

Be sure to contact Chicago Masonry Construction if you notice any cracks in exterior residential or commercial walls. We will remove your cracked, broken and/or spalled masonry and replace it with a masonry unit matched in color and texture to the original masonry unit. 

  1. Restore any deteriorating structures

Fall is the time to take care of any chemical cleaning, rebuilding, replacement and tuckpointing your building may need. At Chicago Masonry, we use new and salvaged materials, based on the integrity of your old materials, to recreate the original style of your structure. From a terra cotta façade on a hundred-year-old building to a 40-year-old building with water damage, our masonry restoration work can give your commercial and residential structures a new lease on life before this winter comes.

  1. Get your tuckpointing done now

If your building or home is due for tuckpointing, fall and spring are the seasons to get it done in the Chicago area. While winter can present a few days when tuckpointing work can occur, it’s better to get tuckpointing jobs completed before the heavy snow. 

We repair the mortar joints in masonry walls of your commercial or residential building by grinding out mortar joints to a depth of approx. ¾” using electrical grinders and hand chisels and then brush and rinse them before applying two compacted layers of Type N mortar. We’ll finish your tuckpointing project by matching the existing mortar joints on the original structure.

Now that we’re in Q4 and can set our sights on 2021, let’s be sure your building is ready for anything. Contact us for a quote