Best BrickMasters provides masonry services to residential and commercial owners, general contractors, and builders in the Chicagoland area. We perform the following masonry services:
- Leak repairs
- Correction of building code violations
- Parapet wall rebuilding
- Flashing installation
- Lintel (beam) replacement
- Chimney rebuilding
- Installation of metal chimney liners
- Chimney caps
- Grinding and tuck pointing of brick, stone, and concrete masonry units (CMU)
- Brick, stone and CMU replacement
- Cornice replacement or repair
- Efflorescence cleaning and removal
- Patios, driveways and walkways
- Concrete steps, slabs, foundations and walkways
and we proudly maintain,
- Accident-free projects
- High occupational health and safety standards
- Jobs completed as scheduled (weather permitting)
- Projects completed within budget
- We provide the highest quality in masonry construction
- Pleasant relationships with our customers
- Trust, honesty and integrity
- We view our work as an art and a craft
- That small details count
- That we have become industry specialists
- Our masonry maintenance program
- We provide superior service and workmanship
- All job sites have lead masons and foremen
- All job sites are left broom-swept and clean
- All work is done in a professional and workman-like manner
- Our estimators and project managers prepare detailed proposals that are informative and prepared with the customer in mind
- We have restored landmark-status buildings
TAKE A LOOK AT YOUR BUILDING!
Masonry buildings are extremely durable but need to be maintained properly. Their greatest enemies are commonplace: water and movement caused by thermal expansion. When water confined in masonry freezes it expands, causing cracking, crazing, spalling and deterioration of surfaces. Movement of wall systems results in cracking masonry, providing easy access to the elements.
Cracked joints and bricks or blocks that appear to be deteriorating are alarm bells. If you notice mildew, algae growth or damage to interior finishes, you may be looking at signs of excess moisture in your masonry structure. If portions of masonry structures appear to be crumbling or are falling apart, it’s time to take some action.
CONCERNS OF PRIORITY WHEN INSPECTING YOUR BUILDING:
1. Structural or Safety, where there is potential collapse and/or danger of masonry or fixtures falling from the building.
2. Water Penetration Through the Wall Envelope, damage to contents, equipment, interior, finishes, and/or the wall envelope from water penetration.
3. Water Penetration into the Wall Envelope, potential rapid deterioration of the wall envelope from water penetration without leakage into the building.
4. Excessive Energy Consumption or Loss of Comfort, Excessive heat loss/gain, and/or cold walls.
5. General Deterioration, Adverse Appearance and Nuisances, age deterioration, graffiti or pollution remnants and insect invasion.
KEEP IN MIND WHEN INSPECTING YOUR BUILDING:
- All clay products (brick) expand in long-term service while all concrete products shrink over time. Unless their differential movement is accounted for, cracks and other problems will develop.
- The most frequent difficulty with exterior wall systems relate directly to moisture. Humidity, wind, water, and ice are the greatest single cause of masonry deterioration. The most substantial natural hazards are the freezing and thawing of moisture within the structure.
- All materials are subject to some degree of deterioration and thus some maintenance is required.
- Deteriorated brick or block: primarily look for weathering damage. Spalling (absence of a brick’s face) is expected in older structures, especially exposed masonry that is not heated on the inside. This includes parapet walls and retaining walls. Isolated spalling at shelf angles is cause for concern as a serious problem may exist.
- Deteriorated mortar: slightly rub the mortar with your fingers. Slight dusting is common, provided that this motion does not cause larger debris to loosen.
- Cracked masonry: vertical cracks on walls are created by overloading, causing compression failures. Rotation and movement can create vertical cracks near corners. Horizontal cracks are due to window, door, etc., openings not properly compensating the masonry above them with a properly installed lintel (metal beam).
- Loss of bond between units and mortar: the connection between a masonry unit and its mortar sometimes separates. Top-of-mortar, bottom-of-unit is the typical defect in this situation. It can be recognized by a slight opening, similar to a crack. The loss of these bonds are caused by low-suction masonry units and mortars with a high cement content.
- Exterior masonry moving away from structure: this is due to inadequate lateral support of the masonry, coupled with masonry growth and structural frame movement. Roof slabs and exposed columns are typical culprits. This primarily occurs in masonry panels whose backups are not anchored to their adjacent columns. This could be that vertical strip windows prevent contact between the columns and the wall, or in a framing system in which the columns are too far away from the wall.
- Misalignment of masonry at expansion joints or corners: expansion joints ill suited for the particular application are the typical culprits. The location and spacing of these joints is critical. They must be free of mortar to be effective.
- Sealant expansion failure or other: the standard laboratory-tested expansion and contraction threshold of quality sealants before a failure occurs is 200%. If the joint is properly prepared and a quality sealant used, fatigue from movement and ultra-violet exposure are still factors in deterioration. The south and west elevations are generally the first to show symptoms of this type of problem.
- Torn or compressed sealant at window jambs and other: the horizontal movement of a masonry structure creates this defect.
- Efflorescence: This is the white, powdery film found on the exterior of a masonry wall. These patches can be found directly below points of moisture penetration. At times, poor flashing installations near shower rooms that are adjacent to an exterior masonry wall cause this. Efflorecence is most common in the spring.
The best solution is to give us a call and ask to take a look at your building. At no charge we will perform a thorough inspection and inform you on the condition of your brick and masonry, as well as concrete caps, copings, sills, lintels, sealant joints and other components subject to weathering and deterioration.