Should You Repair or Replace Masonry?

Angi Staff
Written by Angi Staff
Updated February 9, 2012
A mason can tell you exactly what kind of repair you might need. (Photo by Katelin Kinney)

Cracked or damaged masonry can worsen if not properly treated.

When the bricks on Angi member Beverly Davis' front porch began to break and chip, the crew at Louie's Home Repairs & Painting decided to take action.

Davis says the Charlotte area masonry contractors were knowledgeable about the work that needed to be done, and she was happy with the professional end product.

Cracked or damaged masonry is not only an eyesore. These defects may worsen if left untreated. Cracks and holes in your masonry may also allow pests, water and drafts into your home, causing further damage.

If you notice cracks or holes in your bricks or concrete blocks, a professional masonry contractor can help determine whether the damage is repairable or if the bricks or concrete blocks require replacement, like the ones on Davis’ porch.

Exposure to the elements, shoddy workmanship, uneven settling of the soil beneath your home and damage from vermin can all lead to cracks and holes in your masonry. Water is the most destructive force that interacts with your bricks and concrete blocks. Persistent exposure to water weakens concrete and may eat away at the mortar between the bricks or concrete blocks.

Shoddy workmanship or the use of inferior materials during the construction of your home may cause damage to your bricks and concrete blocks. Over the years, the ground beneath your home settles and uneven settling leads to damage in your masonry. Pests and vermin including rodents and insects may eat their way through the mortar, brick and concrete and cause damage.

You may notice signs inside and outside of your home that indicate the need for masonry repair. These signs include uneven floors; cracks in the concrete slab of your basement or driveway; cabinets, windows and doors that no longer properly close; and cracks in the plaster or drywall of your interior walls.

Once your masonry has a small crack or hole, there is an opportunity for water to penetrate further into the structure. Once water has access to your masonry, freeze and thaw cycles and movement of the water cause holes and cracks to grow. These holes and cracks weaken the structure of your home.

An experienced masonry contractor will inspect your bricks and concrete blocks. The inspection will include measurements of the width and length of the cracks, diameter of holes, and analysis of whether your masonry walls are shifting or bowing.

Repairs may include filling and sealing cracks for minor issues all the way up to the installation of support beams and external piers for serious damage. When the cracks or holes in your bricks or concrete blocks are so severe that the wall can no longer bear its load, the masonry will need replacement.

During masonry replacement work, your contractor will do his or her best to find matching bricks or concrete blocks for you home. Masonry repair and replacement requires specialized skills and tools and the expertise to deal with complex situations. All masonry repair and replacement should be done by a professional masonry contractor for the best and longest lasting results.

Angi can help connect you with the right masonry contractor who can determine whether your home is in need of repairs or replacements. Kathleen Eiser had Mottern Masonry Design repair the mortar on her all-brick townhome before selling it. "Mottern Masonry provided quick, professional service at a fair price," Eiser says of the Washington D.C. area masonry contractors.