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Masonry Tips

Water Problems
Insulation
Chimney
Masonry Walls
Outdoor Projects
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Water Problems

Water Around Your Foundation

Extra rainfall in the spring may cause excess moisture around your home’s foundation. This could lead to water seeping into your basement. One way to help prevent this water dilemma is to install a rain diverter at each of your downspouts. The diverters direct the water away from the house, spreading it over a wider area of ground.

Wet Basement Walls

How do know whether your basement walls are wet due to water seepage or condensation in the air? Try taping a 1 ft. square piece of aluminum foil to the wall with some duct tape. After a couple days inspect the foil.
If the foil side facing the wall is moist, you have water seepage into the basement. Find a masonry sealer like ThoroSeal to waterproof the wall.
If the foil side facing the room is moist, you have condensation and need better air circulation and or a dehumidifier.


Insulation

Heat Loss Through Roof

Remember that heat radiating from bricks melt the snow faster from around your chimney. If you have other melting places on your roof, check the insulation. It may have fallen between your rafters or you might need additional insulation, since you definitely have some heat loss through your roof.


Chimney

Cleanings

Fall is a great time for your annual chimney inspection and cleaning. Call for an expert to clean your chimney if the buildup exceeds ¼ in. Residue left over from last years cozy evening fires can be deadly causing chimney fires, so its better to get rid of that creosote buildup!

Hints to Save Your Money During Cold Weather

  • Try to minimize the number of times that you open your doors to the outside weather.
  • When not using the chimney, remember to shut the flue.
  • Insulate walls and attic areas properly. Batts of insulation added to your attic is an easy do-it yourself project.

Fireplace and Chimney

Before building your first fire of the season, check to see that the damper opens properly and closes tightly. If the "fire clay" used as mortar for the bricks inside the fireplace has fallen out, replace it.
Inspect the flue with a flashlight for heavy soot residue.
If you have a brick or clay tile flue (not a metal flue), an occasional handful of salt tossed on the fire will help remove the soot.
When the soot deposit gets too thick, have the flue professionally cleaned.
Keep the damper closed when fireplace is not in use.



Masonry Walls

Efflorescence

Efflorescence is a whitish powdery stain formed on masonry walls when water-soluble salts in brick, stone, or mortar are washed to the surface and crystallize. Older wall efflorescence indicates a leak in your wall.


Outdoor Projects

Frost Line Requirements

Check with your local building department to determine the exact depth you need to build post holes and foundations in outdoor projects. You definitely want to dig the hole down to the FROST LINE,(the depth to which the soil freezes in your area). Builders go to the frost line because any structure whose base is not below the depth where the ground freezes will raise the structure unevenly and leave it out of plumb. SO FIND OUT THE FACTS!!

Rent Vs. Hire

Keep a list in your workshop of rental tools and equipment at nearby tool-rental stores. The next time you are tempted to hire a professional, check your rental list. Doing the job yourself generally saves YOU money! Good luck!


Hiring a Mason

Tips on hiring the mason

I have been a Mason for 22 years and have been in the business for 29 years. The worst thing I see is people getting taken for a ride by a would be mason. Heres the deal.
  1. Don't pay the mason a third upfront. On a regular commercial job you don't get paid for 30 days, and thats only on what was done a month ago.
  2. You don't have to be a brichlayer to know what a bad job looks like. If its screwed up to you its really screwed up to the mason. Stop him from doing any further disasters. And don't pay him.
  3. Get references.
  4. And lastly, old, dirty, tools doesn't mean a lousy mason.

Our thanks to Michael Nichols for that tip

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