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Brick and Mortar


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Need some help! Don't know what else to do...

I had a home built and almost from the beginning started to have moisture problems. I have had several people look at it but no one seems to be able to figure what the problem is nor do they seem to care.

I did notice many holes in the mortar between the bricks,(not the weep holes), and the mortar is very sandy & crumbly. Comon sense would tell me that it is not right and could very well be the problem.

If that is correct, where would I get the information to verify this problem so I can get it taken care of once and for all?

Is there a way of testing the mortar for the right mixture? If the mortar is coming out in chunks with it being new, just think what will happen when it gets older.

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If this is a newer home the brick is a covering, just like the vinyl siding and there should be a moisture barrier behind it. All bricks get some moisture behind them; this is the reason for the weep holes. I doubt you have moisture inside the home as a result of your brick fascia. Now that is not to say, there is not a problem with the mortar, but I do not think it is the cause of your concern.

Describe the what, where and when of your moisture issues. Include a couple pictures if you can.

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Since the late 70's, brick have had to be under a set moisture absorption rate, which put some manufacturers out of business and made others truck in necessary materials from other quarries to meet the standard.

So, it is most likely a combination of both: a really lousy installation (skimping on the mortar) and a lousy mortar (skimping on the cement).

It sounds tragically inexcusable.

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Do you have any suggestions as to what I can do or any recourse?

1. Name of the manufacturer of the brick

2. The name of the brick used.

3. Name of the manufacturer of the mortar

4. The name and type of mortar.

5. Call the local distributor that supplied these materials and ask that the sales representative visit the site. He can and most likely will bring the sales reps for the products involved.

6. Each manufacturer has their own plant engineer and lab - some labs are pretty impressive. I used to work with Riverton's (Martin Merietta) all the time to. Math mortar from historical buildings, and they were always very competent and helpful.

7. The manufacturer of the mortar usually has the ability to analyze that mortar - not typically for investigation, but rather for producing matching custom mortars. Just the same, they can determine the composition of the mortar in your masonry.

No doubt, the result will be a woefully bad mixing job - way too much sand per bag. Typically, the mix should be about three to one sand to mortar (by volume), which ends up being about 16 - 18 average round shovels of sand per bag.

All of this is bound to point to the installer - bad mix and bad installation.

Certainly, the brick and mortar companies will be eager to provide sound proof that their products are not at fault, and you can rest assured that they won't be.

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