Repairing the Corner

Masonry Damage

There are a number of different causes for masonry damage in an historic building like Rick’s Brewery.  Most of these are natural derived, but not all, here is my list of them:

  • Hot cold cycling
  • Expansion restriction
  • Failing mortar
  • Insect, bird, and rodent erosion
  • External forces
  • Wind erosion

We will explain all of these different source of masonry damage in a future blog.  Our repairing the corner was necessitated by a combination of Failing mortar and a poorly place concrete patio slab.  This large area of concrete was originally the floor of closed in porch. Unfortunately it was poured right against the limestone walls of the brewery.  The large single piece slab would expand in the summer and pushed against the brewery walls.  Eventually pushing the large corner stones four inches out of the wall.

Brewery Masonry repair first step

Brewery Masonry repair start

Here is what the wall looked like when the two large misaligned stones were removed. Not a happy moment I can assure you. Not all of the mortar was powder, but there certainly was lots of it. Here are a couple more views, just to give you a better perspective on what 150 year old masonry looks like after it get exposed to the weather.  If you attend to masonry damage early, you can greatly reduce how bad the damage will be.

Brewery Corner masonry damage

Masonry damage from mortar failure and concrete pushing against it.

Brewery masonry closeup of failed mortar

Brewery masonry failed mortar closeup view

Once all the bad ‘decayed’ mortar and dirt have been removed, the reconstruction can start.  Our first step was to get a level starting plane that was appropriate for the existing stones.  It also needed to eventually line up with the three large stones we were reusing.

Starting to fill the masonry cavity

All the loose mortar remove, starting layer completed

Filling the void with fresh mortar and stone

A better view of the freshly added mortar.

Second masonry repair layer added

Yet another layer has been added, everything below this is now sound

Using wooden mortar joint spacers

Another view showing the use of wooden spacers.

Using spacer sticks in masonry repair

Using spacer sticks to place large stone

Spacers for a 100 pound limestone block

Necessary spacers for setting a 100 pound stone block.

Completed 100 lb stone block installation

Completed corner with the 100 lb stone in place

Masonry repair job completed

Completed masonry corner repair