General Contractor

I work in Maryland and Virginia. 35 years ago I started as laborer/gofer for a mason who spent a lot of time training me on how to prepare the brick, block or stone with the right moisture content. He was adamant that not doing so would draw too much water from the mortar causing shrinkage before it could bond to the materials.

He showed me recently finished masonry with hairline cracks between the mortar and the brick, and explained how the masonry would be weaker, fail sooner and be prone to unnecessary water entry damage and efflorescence.

I fee that mortar cracks especially on flat surfaces is a prime source for water entry into and behind masonry. Over half the masonry/stone jobs I see have cracks in the mortar and then efflorescence within six months of being laid. The efflorescence is the evidence that water is getting where it will damage.

It seems that preparing bricks, block or stone with the right moisture content is a lost art. Could you help revive it with some best practices. Thank you for any help you can provide.

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Apr 06, 2012
Thanks for nothing Charlie
by: General Contractor

All you did was try to get readers to go to your website. Your response did nothing to address my request for best ways to insure proper moisture content in masonry and the proper way to compress mortar.

Apr 02, 2012
General Contractor/ hair line cracks in mortar
by: charlie Cummins

Hello General Contractor. A lot of what your talking about can be eliminated by using pre mixed mortar. It is as close to making perfect mortar as we have ever come, because it eliminates thinking. The best way to eliminate effloresce is 1. to not do anything for about 6 months after the brick has been layed, let it come out if it is going to, then clean and seal it. 2. After it has been layed for about a week, wash and seal it.
You can learn a lot by going o brickcertification, and reading all the links. Pay special attention to the GUARANTEE.
PS Cracked, hair line cracks and soforh can come from a lot of things, -no full head and bed joints, foundation the brick are setting on is not below the frost line, tnerefore causing it to heave and settle, and many other reasons. Be sure and also check out
Thank you
Charlie Cummins

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