Preserving the brick exterior of your home is an essential maintenance task. Eventually, your home will need tuckpointing. In Chicago, where the weather is extremely varied and quite harsh in the winter months, you may consider sealing your brick. Bricks are made of an extremely porous material, and sealing them will prevent moisture and leaks from seeping through the brick and protect your interior walls from water damage.
If your gutters leak your air conditioner’s condensation drips down the side of your house, try to divvert the water. Bricks will absorb this water and transfer it to the interior walls of your building. Over time, bricks that have been repeatedly subjected to this soaking will begin to show signs of efflorescence, or an unattractive whitish-gray stain from salts that have been ejected from the brick via water pressure. (Note: if you are experiencing weather related moisture, it is still safe to continue cleaning and sealing your brick.)
Clean the Bricks Scrape of large areas of debris such as mold or moss from the surface with a putty knife before scrubbing the brick. Mix a solution of oxygen bleach and water and pour or spray the cleaner onto the bricks. Using a stiff-bristled brush or push broom, scrub the remaining dirt from the surface. Allow the brick to dry completely before applying the sealant. (Note:We do not recommend using a pressure washer for this project as it can damage the mortar.)
Seal the Bricks Measure the surface area you’ll need to cover with sealant and purchase materials accordingly. Choose a sealant that contains silanes or siloxanes, which are designed specifically for use on masonry. Because these sealants give off harmful fumes, wear a respirator or ensure there is adequate ventilation in the area where you’re working. Using a brush or sprayer, apply several coats of sealant. Brushes are good for smaller spaces to ensure a proper coating.
Tuckpointing in Chicago homes is necessary to prevent damage to the interior of your home. Properly sealing your brick will extend the life of your home by ensuring water doesn’t seep into your walls.