Some of the most important components of your home are masonry structures. Usually your home sits on a masonry foundation, your chimney vents harmful gases from your furnace, hot water heater and fire place, and your steps carry you safely from the inside to the outside of your house. All these elements sit there year after year seemingly unchanging and as they seem solid as a rock, we pay them little mind. While masonry structures do not require the relatively regular maintenance of paint, deck stain, or drive way sealer, they do require periodic care.
As with many other elements of your home, masonry’s main enemy is water. In the New York area with its winter season, any masonry structure that is not sealed against water penetration is going to be subject to deterioration. Water that gets into your home’s masonry structures in the winter and spring goes through freezing and thawing cycles that can break even the strongest concrete. Proof of this is as near as the nearest pothole on a concrete highway. That concrete is many time stronger than the mortar holding your steps or chimney together, but even that concrete cannot withstand water penetration with its accompanying freezing/thaw cycles in the winter and spring. We trust it goes without saying that common salt should never be put on concrete; use a snow melt or calcium chloride.
To keep your home’s masonry in tip top shape it is simply a matter of closing any cracks where water may penetrate. If ever an ounce of prevention was worth a pound of cure, maintaining your home’s masonry is the poster child. Masonry problems caught early have material costs that are ridiculously inexpensive, less than $25 in most cases. A professional mason can do the minor repairs required in 4-5 hours so for $250-$300 spent every 4-5 years and your masonry will be around for someone’s great grandchildren to enjoy. The choice is simple, spend a few hundred dollars maintaining your front steps or spend multiple thousands replacing them.
How to patch concrete, re-point bricks, or patch stucco is the subject of plenty of articles on the internet and videos on You Tube. Masonry walls that are leaking water can be simply addressed by painting them with a masonry sealer, the most famous of which is “Dry Lok.”
Don’t have the time or just want professional help; call Handyman Connection of Westchester County at 914-345-1155 and we can assist you.