In one of our earlier blog posts, we looked at some famous examples of listed buildings in Oxfordshire. All buildings, whether listed or not, require some special types of brick repair from time to time. This might be due to the materials used, the process of installation, or maintenance issues over time. Before undertaking brick repair, Oxfordshire property owners need to understand it’s important to work out the cause of the damage. This is so that once the building is restored you can prevent the same thing from happening again. Here are six of the most common types of brick repair Oxfordshire buildings tend to require:
Two examples of brick restoration projects completed by Ernest Barnes
These inherent defects can be separated into two categories: that of the materials used, and the process of building, including the design and the quality of the brickwork installation. Defects in the bricks used might be due to inadequate firing or impurities found within the bricks, making the brickwork more prone to weathering. When it comes to specialist brick repairs, Oxfordshire buildings might specifically suffer from problems created during the initial design or craftsmanship of the building. This includes inadequate bed joints, walls that are out of alignment and bow to one side, inadequate or lack of curing after building, failure to account for the absorption rate of the bricks and the wrong quantities used when making the mortar.
Over time, it’s inevitable that your brickwork will start to age. A small amount of this is fine and even helps to give your building character. However, if this leads to obvious signs of damage such as crumbling brickwork, this usually means that your building is in need of specialist repair before the damage becomes worse. If severely damaged, the weathering of an exposed wall can eventually lead to structural instabilities. All buildings go through a period called ‘settlement’ where the ground adjusts to the increased weight placed on it, either from a new building or an extension. Defects caused by settlement are often just cosmetic, however, brick repair is recommended to prevent further problems.
Plants such as ivy often grow on the outside of brick buildings. This is sometimes overlooked as it can appear to enhance the building. However, it is often harmful, especially for old and more delicate brickwork, and if it isn’t removed carefully it can detach parts of the brickwork. Another maintenance defect is open joints. These can cause further problems, depending on the direction the wall faces and weather conditions. Finally, another cause for brick repairs Oxfordshire buildings might suffer from is the saturation of the brickwork due to overflowing or leaking gutters. If brickwork is continually saturated, damp will often permeate through the exterior brickwork, into the building’s exterior. The good news is that if this defect is caused by an issue such as an overflowing gutter and is spotted early on, the cause can easily be removed and the brickwork preserved.
Pointing refers to how mortar joints are finished in brickwork. It’s done to try to protect the joints from excessive damage from water, as they are one of the weakest points of the brickwork. If done incorrectly this can expose these weaknesses and require specialist brick repair. Repointing can be done to correct this, making sure it matches the existing style and age of the building’s brickwork.
Structural defects are often the most serious and require very specialised brick repair in Oxfordshire. You might notice structural defects by spotting cracks in the bricks or walls that lean to one side. Often this is caused by subsidence where the ground underneath a building collapses or sinks. Trees, leaking drains, soil shrinkage or the direct result of human activities, like mining, can all cause this. Structural brick repairs in Oxfordshire can be resolved using crack stitching and anchors, however.
Cleaning and Painting
These are more decorative repairs that help to keep your buildings looking their best. Though they might be the final stages of your brick repair, Oxfordshire buildings can really benefit from a little cleaning and painting. The method differs slightly depending on the age of the brickwork and whether the building is listed or not. The older the bricks – or the softer the type of stone – the more careful the brick repair project should be. If the building has previously had a layer of paint, it may be necessary to either refresh the paint with a new layer or restore the brickwork to its previous condition. A layer of clear weatherproof paint can also be applied and makes no visible difference to the exterior of the building.
For the best brick repair Oxfordshire has to offer, look no further than Ernest Barnes Ltd! Get in touch today to start your repair job.