The walls of your home do two vital jobs — they support the structure, and they keep out the weather. If they become worn or cracked, their ability to do both jobs is compromised and they need to be repaired. But there are a number of things that can happen to your walls, and it’s important to recognise them.
Repairing Cracked Walls
Walls often develop small cracks as a result of ageing, and the damage can be easily repaired. Sometimes, however, and especially if the cracks are more substantial, they may be symptoms of subsidence. In this case, it’s essential to repair the foundations with underpinning or piling before patching up the walls.
Hairline cracks can be repaired simply with caulk, but more substantial cracks need to be stitched, once underpinning or other structural work is complete. This is normally done from the exterior, using helical wires.
Repairing Worn Masonry
Worn brick or stone can give an old building period charm, but if the wearing becomes too bad the walls are no longer protecting you. In any case, once the external face is gone, deterioration is likely to carry on more quickly.
Various methods of repair are available, depending on the type and severity of the damage. These range from applying clear sealant or lime mortar over the damaged surfaces to partially rebuilding the wall.
Whether the rendering on your walls is stucco, pebbledash or roughcast, it performs the crucial job of protecting you against the elements. When it starts cracking or bulging, or when patches start falling off, it’s no longer doing the job as effectively.
Except in the most serious cases of render damage, only localised patches need to be replaced. The damaged render should be hacked off, and the exposed wall allowed to dry out, before applying the new render.
Repairing Damp Walls
Damp can get into the walls due to damage to masonry, render or windows, or else because of leaking gutters or internal condensation. Signs to look out for include smells, blistering paint or peeling wallpaper inside, or either white salt or black mould on the walls.
Repair methods will vary depending on the cause of the damp. This may involve repointing the walls, with softer lime-based mortars better for this purpose than modern cement mortar. The damp will also need to be expelled with extractor fans.
A Professional Job
While a few of these jobs (repairing hairline cracks with caulk, for instance) could be done by an expert DIYer, it’s generally best to get professionals in. In any case, you’ll need a professional analysis of the problems, otherwise, you risk missing a serious problem, such as subsidence.
You’re very welcome to get in touch with us for more advice on masonry repair.