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Building Inspections

Masonry is so long lasting and durable that some building owners think of it as maintenance free. However, masonry like the other parts of the building, requires inspections, maintenance and repairs in order to provide long lasting service.

Masonry inspections and maintenance should concentrate on specific areas:

Damage of masonry units:

Damaged, broken or spaled units like brick, block and stone should be replaced.

Deteriorated mortar:

Deteriorated mortar should be repaired and replaced by tuck-pointing to stop water from penetrating into the interior of the walls. Mortar should be matched and duplicated to it’s original proportions.

Cracks in mortar:

Small, hairline cracks should be tuckpointed to prevent them from creating passages for water to penetrate into the interior of the wall. Cracks in masonry are classified as active and dormant. Active cracks move in response to temperature changes and building movement. Dormant cracks do not move and remain stable.

Water penetration and entry:

Water penetration is the greatest danger to masonry walls. Any water leaks into interior walls should be stopped immediately to prevent damage.


Chimneys are exposed to severe weather conditions and because of their high exposure prone to deteriorate and should be periodically inspected and repaired as needed. Left without repair can cause damage or injury.

Parapet walls:

Because of parapet exposure to the weather, they should be carefully inspected. Any displacement, cracking, efflorescence and spaling should be repaired to avoid the possibility of moisture and water infiltration.


Inspection of the flashing is important to prevent water damage at the end of flashing, especially in areas above windows and doors.

Weep holes:

Weep holes allow water to exit the wall. Clogged weep holes should be cleaned.

Steel lintels:

Steel lintels can be subjected to condensation, water leakage to the interior and weather conditions. This can cause corrosion from the outside and inside of the structural steel member. Corroded steel lintels should be replaced.

Maintenance of masonry can be classified as: routine maintenance to ensure adequate masonry performance and extend service life of the building structure, specific maintenance to correct problems and preventive maintenance to keep minor problems from developing into major ones requiring expensive repairs.

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