How To Avoid Common Masonry Mistakes

Masonry is one of the most popular construction methods, but it’s also one the most prone to mistakes. You can easily avoid these mistakes if you take the time to learn about the proper way to do things. 

And by avoiding these mistakes, you can ensure that your finished product will be of the highest quality. Read on to learn some of the most common masonry mistakes and how to avoid them.

You use the wrong mortar mix.

One of the most common mistakes is using the wrong mortar mix. Mortar is the substance that bonds bricks or other masonry units together. It’s important to use the right mix. If it’s too weak, your structure could collapse. Too strong, and it can crack and damage your bricks. Your local building code will specify the right mix for you.

There are different types of mortar available, and each has its benefits and drawbacks. 

Using the wrong mortar type can lead to cracking, chipping, and other problems. So, it’s crucial to choose the right kind of mortar for your project to ensure that it will be strong and durable. For example, if you’re working with brick, you’ll need to use a brick-specific mortar rather than a generic one.

There’s an extreme amount of efflorescence.

Efflorescence is when mineral deposits from the water in the mortar come out and leave a white powder on the surface of the bricks. It can happen if there’s too much water in the mortar or the bricks are too porous. Efflorescence can also be caused by using saltwater to mix the mortar.

You didn’t use enough mortar.

When you’re laying bricks, it’s crucial to use enough mortar. If you don’t use enough mortar between the bricks, they could shift and settle over time, leading to cracks and instability. Conversely, using too much mortar can also be problematic as it can squeeze out from between the bricks as they’re being laid, making a mess and weakening the bond.

You failed to cure the mortar properly.

After you lay the bricks, the mortar needs to cure to reach its full strength. Curing involves keeping the mortar moist so it can continue to hydrate and harden. Curing the mortar also allows the chemical reaction between the cement and water to happen correctly. 

If you don’t cure the mortar, it will be too weak and might not bond with the bricks correctly.

You improperly prepared the surface.

Another mistake is not adequately preparing the surface before you begin laying brick or stone. If you don’t clean off the area where you’ll be working, dirt and debris can get into the mortar and weaken the bond between the bricks. 

Bricks are often covered in a thin layer of dust or dirt. If you don’t remove this, it can impact the mortar’s ability to stick to the brick. It can lead to a weaker bond and eventually, cracking and chipping.

It’s also vital to make sure that the surface is level before you start so that your finished product looks even and professional.

You use the wrong tools.

Using the wrong tools is another common mistake when laying bricks or stones. Not having the proper trowel, for example, means you might not be able to get the mortar at the right consistency. Or, if you’re using a power washer to clean the surface before starting, you could damage the bricks. So, be careful.

You laid the bricks too thick.

Another mistake is laying the bricks too thick. If the bricks are too thick, they won’t bond appropriately with the mortar and could eventually fall off. You should take a look at your local building code. It will specify the thickness of the bricks.

You cut the bricks improperly.

If you don’t cut the bricks properly, they won’t fit together correctly and could leave gaps that allow water to seep through.

Poor maintenance.

Masonry needs to be regularly cleaned and sealed to prevent water damage. If you don’t maintain your masonry, it will start to deteriorate and could eventually collapse.

We recommend power washing your masonry at least once a year and sealing it every few years or when you notice cracks.

You tried to do it yourself when you were inexperienced.

Masonry is a complex process that only experienced professionals should attempt. Try doing it yourself, and you could injure your property or yourself.

There are a few common mistakes that people make when working with masonry. These include not curing the mortar, using too much water and not maintaining the masonry properly. By avoiding these mistakes, you can ensure that your masonry project will be successful.

Contact Ray Arnold Masonry today for all your masonry and waterproofing needs.