Power Washing Brick and Stone Buildings

The sight of a brick or stone building is a very striking and impressive feature. There is a certain something about brick and stone that really makes it stand out. This intangible quality helps set it apart from an ordinary structure made of wood. One common concern from brick or stone owners is keeping the masonry looking immaculate. There are a couple of options, but the preferred method among those in the industry is the use of power washing.

Power Washing is Safe and Economical

Power washing is generally considered a safe and economical way of cleaning an older structure.  Although very attractive, both stone and brick may begin to look dingy after years of exposure to different pollutants. Dirt, fumes from traffic, mold and carbon call all take their toll and mar the look of a brick surface. These dirty substances can build up slowly, so it is not always easy to notice the change in the exterior.

Washing a building made of stone or brick is obviously different than cleaning off wood. A particular type of equipment and accessories must be employed. There are certain chemicals frequently used in the power washing process. After applying the chemical via spraying, the brick or stone is then power rinsed off. If this does not remove all the grime and stains, a stronger method involving water blasting along with water and silica sand may needed.

Some people ask about sandblasting as an alternative to clean their building. Power washing is considered by most to be better since water is not abrasive like sand. The masonry surface is much less likely to be damaged via power washing. Conversely, sandblasting may damage some of the brick and perhaps damage it beyond repair. Another negative is that sand is not contained, making it a messy procedure.

In Chicago and the suburban area, your number one choice for power washing your masonry is  Arrow Masonry and Exteriors, Inc. Arrow Masonry has been providing quality tuckpointing, maintenance and masonry restoration services to commercial and residential communities for over 50 years. Call Arrow today at 847-776-6400 or visit their website to see how they can professionally restore the fresh look to your brick or stone structure.

Different Types of Masonry in Building Construction

Many people are vaguely familiar with masonry walls but have no clue regarding specifics.  There are actually several types of masonry used in building construction. Walls made of masonry are the most strong and durable part of any building. The masonry provides strength and durability to the structure. It also helps to control indoor and outdoor temperature.

Masonry Differs Depending on Different Factors

Masonry is the word used for construction with mortar.  It is used as binding material with individual units of stones, bricks, concrete blocks and tiles.  Mortar is a mixture of binding material with sand. Some of the more common binding materials include cement, lime or soil.

The durability and strength of masonry wall construction depends on the type and quality of material used. Load bearing masonry walls are usually constructed with bricks, stones or concrete blocks. These walls transfer loads from the roof to the building’s foundation. These walls can be exterior or interior. The construction system with load bearing walls are more economical than one using framed structures.

Reinforced masonry walls can be either load or non-load bearing. The use of reinforcement in walls helps it to withstand tension forces and heavy compressive loads. Masonry walls that are not reinforced are susceptible to failure. They have little strength to withstand lateral forces during high winds or rain. Cracks also develop in un-reinforced masonry walls due to soil pressure or the settlement of foundations.

Hollow or Cavity masonry walls are used to prevent moisture reaching the interior of the building. They do this by providing a hollow space between the outside and inside face of a wall. These walls also help to control temperatures inside a building from the outside as the hollow space restricts heat to pass through the structure.

In the Chicago area your best option for any masonry or tuckpointing work is  Arrow Masonry and Exteriors, Inc. Arrow Masonry has been providing quality services to commercial and residential communities for over 50 years. Call Arrow today at 847-776-6400 or visit their website to view all the services that can provide for you.

How to Know When Your Chimney Needs Rebuilding

As a general rule, a chimney is the first part of the masonry on a building that will show signs of age and deterioration. This is due in large part that a chimney is under almost constant attack from all the elements. Because chimneys are situated above the roofline, they have no roof or gutter system to clear away water. This makes them practically defenseless to heavy bouts of precipitation and wind.

Serious damage can result from the smallest crack or imperfection to your chimney.  If there is any penetration of water through a cap that fails, the results can be severe. The top section of a chimney can disintegrate so badly that the only course of action is complete repair of the masonry. When you get to the point where most of brick of a chimney shows signs of cracking or flaking it is time to rebuild the structure.

Keep Tabs on Your Capstone

This is why it is very important to keep track of the capstone on your chimney. The capstone is the cement section of the chimney that tops or caps off the brickwork. Due to its location at the very top of the structure it is exposed to the very roughest weather conditions. If you notice just one or two cracks here, you can relax – this is considered normal and can repaired without replacement. On the other hand, if you see a cap that is broken in sections you more than likely need to have another cap installed. This work is intricate and requires the experience of professionals.

In the Chicago area the number one place to call for chimney restoration is  Arrow Masonry and Exteriors, Inc. Arrow Masonry has been in business for over 50 years and has the experience necessary to complete any chimney work.  They service both commercial and residential communities for all types of masonry projects. Call Arrow today at 847-776-6400 or visit their website to view all the services they can provide for you.