A brick exterior requires less maintenance than most other forms of exterior. With a little preventative maintenance brick can be the most enduring exterior used in today’s homes.
Deterioration of the bricks outer surface is the leading cause of all the problems that affect brick. The main reason for the deterioration of a brick surface is rainwater and freezing temperatures. On older homes built with unglazed brick, the deterioration of the bricks face can cause serious problems and eventually structural failure if not treated, remedied or repaired.
Particular attention should be paid to the areas around windows and doors, as well as where the soffit or wood trim meets the brickwork. These areas need to be caulked to stop water from getting in behind the brick.
Any cracks in the pointing should be repaired. Large cracks or cracks with movement may be signs of a foundation or structural problem and should be checked out.
Spalding bricks, where the face has fallen off or a hole is developing in the face of the brick, should be replaced or repaired using a colored mortar. To keep the brickwork from deteriorating (or to stop further deterioration) it is recommended that the brickwork is sealed with a waterproofing agent that forms a barrier, stopping water penetration while at the same time allowing the brickwork to breathe.
Any type of creeping plant (particularly ivy) should not be allowed to grow on brick. The roots from these plants will force their way into hairline cracks in the mortar between the bricks. As the roots grow larger they act as a wedge, forcing the brick work apart. Left unchecked, this damage will cause serious structural failure.
Bushes and trees should be trimmed back from brick surfaces, this will allow the brick to dry out after rain.
Along the bottom of most buildings made of brick there should be small holes visible every couple of feet along the bottom row of bricks. These holes called weep holes are intentional, they allow any condensation that may build up on the inside of the wall to drain out. Do not seal or fill in these holes.
NOTE: On some construction, weep holes may not have been incorporated into the design.