Regardless of the masonry material used, the most common problems in construction occur in the mortar that holds these materials together. As you survey your brick siding or stone patio, keep an eye out for any mortar that is cracked, or chipped and flaking off. Sometimes moisture can penetrate the mortar, and deterioration occurs as this moisture freezes and thaws during the cold months.
The process of these repairs is called repointing. When a mason makes these repairs, they match the original mortar in terms of strength and composition, to maintain uniformity throughout the structure.
Let's take a quick glance at some general categories of masonry building materials:
Stone is the oldest form of masonry material. Given to us by Mother Nature herself - it is beautiful, durable, and waterproof.
Brick is the most common form of material used in masonry projects. It's made of clay, which when fired in a kiln, can take on a wide variety of colors and styles. One of the great advantages to brick is that it too is waterproof.
Concrete block, although more commonly used for industrial projects, is also seen in residential homes. Concrete block can be a less costly material, but needs to be water-sealed about every 10 years, and it doesn't have the same visual appeal as stone and brick.
Remember, your masonry work can potentially last a lifetime and then some. Just be aware of the possible mortar damage that can arise every 20 years or so. If you notice any such signs of disrepair on your property, you can find professional masons in your area on Kudzu.com.