Cracked Mortar Joints? Why Preservation Of Your Home's Masonry Walls Is So Important

Homes with masonry walls offer many benefits for their owners and occupants. Walls of rock and stone are durable, very strong, and even capable of adding additional insulation value to reduce heating and cooling bills.

In addition, homes with masonry walls often have better resale value and require less exterior maintenance. However, as masonry walls age, the mortar joints that hold the bricks, stones, or blocks together can begin to deteriorate.

If you own a masonry home that is showing signs of cracked or missing mortar, this information will help you understand the importance of keeping them in good condition. 

Moisture and water infiltration

When moisture or water seeps through damaged masonry walls, it can cause more than one type of damage. With little ventilation behind the masonry walls, moist wood, insulation, and other building materials can allow mold to grow. Over time, mold growth can expand inside wall cavities and into the interior living spaces of the home, exposing the occupants to potential health hazards associated with mold spores. 

Moisture and water that infiltrate damaged masonry walls can also form pockets of water that can freeze during the winter. When this happens, the water will expand as it turns to ice, and it will begin to force the masonry wall outward, causing more extensive damage to occur. 

Increased pest activity

Another common problem associated with cracked or missing mortar in masonry walls is that each area of damage can increase the opportunity for insects to infiltrate the structure. Moist wood behind the damaged areas of masonry can become a haven for damaging termites who are seeking shelter and a ready supply of nourishment and hydration. 

Damaged areas of masonry can also provide ants, spiders, mice, rats, and even snakes with access to your home's attic, crawl spaces, or interior living spaces. Honey bees, hornets, carpenter bees, and some types of wasps can even use small holes and openings in masonry surfaces as secure entry points to protect them while they build large hives or nests inside masonry walls, making removal difficult. 

What to do 

Homeowners who have a brick, stone, or block home can help protect their masonry walls by: 

  • Removing vines that may latch onto and damage mortar joints
  • keeping gutters clean and operable to direct water and melting snow and ice from masonry wall surfaces
  • Visually inspecting masonry walls regularly and having repairs made as needed

To learn more about repairing masonry wall damage, homeowners can discuss their situation with a masonry wall repair service in their area like A-1 Rooftop Chimney Sweep.​