Over time, weather and decay can cause voids in the mortar joints between bricks, not only does this look unsightly it also allows water ingress which can lead to further damage to your property.
New Build’s & extensions
Whether you need high-quality brick or blockwork to compliment your project our team of professional bricklayers have you covered. With a wealth of experience working on both small and large scale projects, our bricklayers take great pride in delivering quality work on time, every time.
A professional built brick wall can compliment the outside of your property beautifully. We offer a wide range of garden walls tailored to your requirements.
Masonry & Brickwork
What is mortar?
Mortar is an essential element of brickwork and masonry – composed of a mixture of water, cement, and sand, with a higher water-to-cement ratio than concrete. Mortar’s thick consistency and abilities as a bonding agent make it a great adhesive for both bricks and tiles, helping fill gaps and uneven surfaces between objects and drying hard. Mortar is used across the construction industry. This mix is used in the UK for the construction of most brickwork projects, from walls to full homes, alongside repair work, re-pointing, extension construction, and tuck-pointing.
What is repointing?
The term pointing (or re-pointing) refers to the repair or renewal of existing mortar joints within brickwork and masonry. Significant pointing and repointing jobs generally require the removal of existing joints. Following the removal of old mortar, tradesmen will work to prepare and apply a suitable replacement mortar using a variety of tools. Repointing is often preferable to tuckpointing – the process of placing mortar in existing joints without removing previously placed mortar, with the intent of filling cracks or gaps. Though tuckpointing visually covers impaired mortar, it is not proven to deliver a thick enough paste to be considered durable or worthwhile when employed on a large scale.
How do I know when my wall needs repointed?
Brickwork should be inspected on a semi-regular basis in order to ensure signs of deterioration are spotted early. Look out for these common signs indicating brickwork and masonry age and damage:
• Damaged bricks – damaged brickwork often allows further structural damage to take hold through moisture penetration and leaks. This should be dealt with quickly to prevent negative effects on the structural integrity of the wall.
• Failed pointing – incorrectly applied or failing mortar may trap moisture, leading to brick freezing, damage, and crumbling.
• Efflorescence – the presence of white water and salt deposits on brickwork is often a sign of age, and may indicate repointing or repair is required.
• Damp – both rising and penetrating damp can be a result of ageing or damaged brickwork allowing for moisture penetration or leaks.
Why do bricks crack?
Bricks of all types can crack for a variety of reasons. These reasons can include exposure to extreme temperature, use of inferior clay, over-firing during production, and insufficient curing. The vast majority of bricks subject to manufacturing faults such as those mentioned above are rejected by distributors, or by builders on-site – rest assured, structures build by reputable tradesmen should be safe from faulty bricks.
Outside of this, exposure to the elements is a primary factor in brick cracking. Heavy rain absorbed by mortar may be retained, and lead to the freezing of bricks. This process contributes greatly to the crumbling and cracking of individual bricks. Individual bricks can generally be repaired on an individual basis. Cracks appearing in long patterns across multiple bricks, however, may be caused by issues in the property’s foundation and structural integrity.
Can cracked bricks be repaired?
It is important to identify the scale and cause of brick damage or cracking prior to undertaking any kind of repair project. Whilst individually cracked and worn bricks can generally be repaired on an individual basis, large cracks may be caused by ongoing structural issues – and may require further investigation and remedial work. If cracked bricks are simply filled as a short-term repair without consideration for larger issues, they will continue to crack, and worsen in condition, ultimately resulting in a more expensive repair in the long term. Where repair is considered the best course of action, individual bricks may be cut out and replaced (or rotated) or reconstructed using a tinted lime mortar.
When is the best time to do masonry work?
The majority of masonry work should be undertaken in months offering milder, more stable conditions and weather (generally between April and October in the UK). Brickwork and masonry projects will require protection from rain regardless of the temperature, and often need hording on cooler days. Ambient temperatures allow for the correct, quick setting of all mortar work.
Though winter is objectively the ‘worst’ time to undertake masonry work, repairs and projects may still be completed to some degree – allowing for the installation of protective measures.
Does the colour of bricks fade?
The majority of bricks fade in colour over time, with some materials more subject to colour wear than others. The speed at which the colour of a brick fades is primarily determined by sun exposure, weather conditions, and maintenance performed. Simple, easily resolved factors such as dust build-up may also contribute to the fading of coloured brick – this can often be wiped clean using a cloth and soap where possible. Those looking to retain the colour of their brickwork may opt for re-staining services, and those looking to avoid brick staining may look to acid washes.
Do I need planning permission for a garden wall?
Planning permission requirements for garden walls vary greatly in many cases, it is not required, however, it is best to review regulations prior to the start of work, in order to avoid planning breaches. Many joiners and construction companies, including B.A. Boyle & Son, are well-versed in these regulations and will be able to advise on what steps you should take when planning the installation of a new garden wall.
Generally, planning permission is required if the wall is planned to be;
• Over one meter high and next to a highway or footpath
• Over two meters high in any area
• Built upon a boundary with a neighbouring listed building or its curtilage
• Built within the property boundaries of a listed building or in the curtilage of a listed building
Planning permission must also be applied for if your right to construct or alter fences is removed by a planning condition or article 4 direction.
Do I need planning permission for an extension?
Many extensions to existing homes, especially single-storey extensions, are considered permitted developments, and do not require planning permission – but are still subject to a number of regulations and requirements. Regardless of this, it is important to conduct research on whether or not your extension will require planning permission, so as to avoid planning breaches and potential fines.
General planning guidelines for extensions to homes in the UK include:
• The extension area must be no larger than half of the original house
• No extension can be higher than the highest part of the existing roof – plans to exceed this limit must apply for permission
• Single-storey rear extensions cannot extend beyond the back wall of a property by over 3m – planning permission applies to developments planned to exceed this
• Extension eaves and ridges should be no higher than those of the existing house
• Side extensions must be single-storey – all of the above rules apply
• Two-storey extensions require planning permission if closer than seven meters to the rear boundary of the property
• Materials used to construct and complete the extension should be similar to those in the existing property – plans going against this guideline will require planning permission
The above rules are in no way a comprehensive guide to extension planning and construction – if you are looking to build an extension, but aren’t sure what planning permission regulations could apply, get in contact with one of our advisors to further discuss your specific situation and requirements.
Do extensions add value?
Adding more space to your property by means of an extension is almost guaranteed to increase property value, regardless of the number of storeys, or designated purpose. Though the average price for a domestic extension in the UK exceeds £20,000, extensions consistently add around 11% of additional value to a home – a hugely significant number when taking into account the average English house price of £256,000.