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Dust to dust.


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This is the center wall that splits the basement of an 1820 brick farm house. There are a number of randomly spaced brick that have spalled to dust, over time.

The wall is still in pretty good shape, considering. The basement has a gravel floor, there is moisture, but no evidence of flooding. It looks like the same brick was used for the exterior walls. They were in great shape.

I told the owner I'd run this by you guys, and see if I could get some opinions about why some of the brick has deteriorated.

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It looks like the same brick was used for the exterior walls. They were in great shape.
The bricks selected for the exterior had the best look and superior glazed skin. The bricks selected for the interior were under-fired (further away from the fire of the kiln).

If they hired a contractor to 'fix' it, they'd probably make it worse.

If they did nothing, it would probably need attention in another 50-75 years.

If someone wants to intervene and not do harm, they can patch the severely eroded bricks (more than 5/8") with a lime-based brick-patching mortar.

They can chisel out and insert Buckingham slate at the bottom of the wall to reduce the wicking moisture.

If the red dust bothers them, they can apply a lime-wash.

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We see that often at the inner wythe of old houses. They are often called salmon brick. Much softer since they were not fired as much as better brick.

As long as they are not falling apart they should last a long time. If the mortar joints deteriorate then they should be repointed with a soft mortar.

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