What Causes Brick Faces to “Pop Off” and Deteriorate?

Anyone who owns a home made of brick understands the numerous benefits that follow. Brick homes have higher property values, they look absolutely stunning, and they tend to outlast other structures when they’re properly cared for. With that being said, when brick homes aren’t cared for, there can be major problems. Some problems are structural while others are aesthetic; both need to be addressed as quickly as possible to avoid serious damage. One problem that many homeowners experience is having their brick faces “pop off.” In this article, we’ll explore exactly what that means and how it can be fixed.

Brick Spalling or “Popping Off”

When you first notice this “popping off” sign of deterioration, it may only seem cosmetic. It occurs when the faces of your brickwork appear to be peeling or jutting outwards from your home to give the appearance of popping off. Accurately enough, people have compared it to looking oddly similar to how skin peels. This type of deterioration is called spalling. Spalling makes it seem like half of the brick, primarily the face of the brick, has simply come off, which explains the common pseudonym “popping off.”

What Causes Spalling?

There are a few reasons why you might experience brick deterioration like this. Some of them include increased moisture levels, water entry, poor manufacturing, and improper tuckpointing. Most spalling occurs because of moisture and water entry. Bricks are porous materials and are easily penetrated by water. When moisture gets trapped inside and temperatures drop, the water inside of your bricks freezes and in the process of freezing, expands. Then, inevitably, the temperatures rise again and the water melts and contracts back in size. When this cycle continues over and over again, it causes a lot of strain on your bricks and will eventually lead to some sort of deterioration—primarily spalling. Over time, the face of your bricks will appear to have simply popped off due to the internal pressure happening when water and moisture freeze and thaw in a repetitive cycle.

The problem with spalling is that it’s a sign of a deeper problem. For some reason, too much water or moisture is getting into your bricks. If you simply replace the bricks that are spalling, you’re only addressing the surface issue. Instead, you need to look deeper. Some reasons that spalling may occur include power washing your home too frequently or improperly, having a major water leak, living in a home made of old or poor bricks, and of course, living in a climate where temperatures fluctuate often. The last issue isn’t really something you can fix, but you can deal with the rest.

How to Fix Spalling

While general tuckpointing jobs are often recommended to help combat spalling, there is a simpler solution if you catch it early enough. This includes coating the bricks over your entire home with a sealant. Choosing a sealant that’s waterproof will give you an added layer of protection and help ensure that moisture doesn’t continue to seep into your bricks. You can also opt to replace your bricks as they spall with newer, better quality ones.

Whatever happens to your brickwork, finding a professional to repair them is essential. Being proactive will help you avoid costly repairs, keep your home’s value high, and give you unbeatable curb appeal. Rather than waiting until it’s too late and having to pay for a teardown and a rebuild, getting tuckpointing work done as soon as you see a problem is imperative. This is why doing regular inspections is so valuable. Take the time to walk around your home and check for any signs of deterioration and take note if any of your brick faces appear to be popping off, or spalling. If you’re not comfortable making the inspection yourself, get a professional inspection at least once a year, twice if you live in areas with extreme weather. Doing so can easily save you thousands of dollars and a huge headache.

If you do find that you need to get some tuckpointing done, always opt for a professional job. Doing tuckpointing yourself with no experience can lead to more damage and may compromise your home’s stability. Instead, give the professionals at Chicago Tuckpointing Inc. a call today. All of our professionals are trained and have over 20 years of experience. We specialize in brickwork, repairs, tuckpointing, restoration, and can get your brick faces back to normal. Our affordable prices allow you to sit back and relax, while we do all the heavy lifting. For unbeatable masonry service in the Chicagoland area, call Chicago Tuckpointing Inc. today at 708-942-1951.