Type N Mortar & Type O Mortar

Type n mortar - brick layer

In masonry, mortars are prepared by adding water, cement, sand, hydrated lime, etc. and are used to hold bricks and other masonry, like stone, together to give structural integrity to a wall or other structures. Mortars consist of various types, but the commonly used are type N, O, S, and M. Each type of mortar is mixed in a different ratio of cement, sand, and lime to produce the preferred characteristic. Despite the mortars different strength and application areas, they still perform various general functions. All mortars perform the role of binding together bricks or stones. Additionally, they provide a strengthening finishing to repair cracks and improve the appearance of walls. Below, we will highlight mortar type N and type O. 

 

Type N Mortar & Type O Mortar

 

Type N Mortar

Mortars vary differently in strength, depending on the type of use to be applied. Type N mortar mix is typically recommended for exterior use and above foundation level walls that are likely to be affected by unfavorable weather. It has a moderate compressive strength compiling. It is used most generally for most masonry repairs.

Looking for a free estimate on your masonry issues in Chicago or surrounding suburbs, call Coast to Coast Masonry today at 847-438-9165!

mortar - masonry

Type O Mortar

Type O mortar mix has a low compressive strength. Therefore, Type O mortar is commonly applied on interior projects that are not structural pieces, rather decorative, and above foundation level. It should not be used in exterior purposes. Nonetheless, it is the great for repairs on existing interior walls.

Local Chicago Masonry Experts

At CTC, we repair, restore, protect, and preserve masonry including brick, stone, with proper use of type O, type, N, S or M. Whether it is chimney problems, standard size and modular size brick replacement or larger size, or a stainless steel chimney liner installation our expert masons are here to help. We use the latest masonry technology, ladder safety, and roof safety techniques to restore brick and protect your home.

We at CTC Masonry are the complete solution to your masonry needs and making your chimney last longer. We highly value our clients and seek to gain their confidence by offering the highest level of customized chimney tuckpointing services and masonry products at a competitive price.

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Comparing Different Brick Sizes

standard size brick - heavy scratch

Bricks are made up of clay with water, lime, sand, or any concrete material and then putting the brick molding in fire. Modular size brick is the requirement for many industrial constructions and is becoming an extremely common size in residential use. The measurements of modular size bricks is generally 2.5 inches tall and 7.625 inches long, and its depth is 3.625 inches. In the past, standard size brick was typically 8 inches long and this size is becoming less common, being replaced by the modular size brick. Regardless, different manufactures have a range of different dimensions and sizes to cover various application under the same name. For example, a standard size in a particular manufacturer (2.5 in. x 8 in. x 3.625 in.) can be minimally different from a standard brick size in another company (2.5 in. x 7.9 in. x 3.625 in.). In cases where specific porosity, strength, and resistance to acid are needed, engineer brick always gives a good solution, which is just a little larger than standard size brick, and modular.

 

Comparing Different Brick Sizes

 

Bricks Larger than Standard Size, Modular Size

The size of an engineer brick is (2.75 in. x 8 in. x 3.625 in.). Going larger than standard size and modular size, Norman brick was used more as an industrial size brick. Only a total of three bricks are needed per square foot where a standard or modular size brick has a total of roughly seven bricks per square foot. For a period, the Norman brick and other larger brick has been used for large buildings to minimize costs.

Looking for a free estimate on your masonry issues in Chicago or surrounding suburbs, call Coast to Coast Masonry today at 847-438-9165!

brick stock - brick sizes

Norman Size and Up

In the past the Norman brick was the biggest brick that was in common use but as time went on, it was beat out by the use of bricks such as Kingsize, Ambassador, and Monarch brick. The Monarch brick is (3.5 in. x 15.625 in. x 3.635 in.) Different types of bricks vary depending on the building  need. A range of specific shapes and sizes is available to facilitate the aesthetic design of buildings.

Local Chicago Masonry Experts

At CTC, we repair, restore, protect, and preserve masonry including brick, stone, or even a chimney crown. Whether it is chimney problems, standard size and modular size brick replacement or larger size, or a stainless steel chimney liner installation our expert masons are here to help. We use the latest masonry technology, ladder safety, and roof safety techniques to restore brick and protect your home.

We at CTC Masonry are the complete solution to your masonry needs and making your chimney last longer. We highly value our clients and seek to gain their confidence by offering the highest level of customized chimney tuckpointing services and masonry products at a competitive price.

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Start to Finish with CTC

project estimate - masonry

Step 1 is obviously recognizing a problem. Like a doctor may not know what a downpipe is on his car, he can still recognize when something does not sound right. So, when you notice cracks in your bricks or mortar around your window, you don’t have to be a scientist – you know something doesn’t look right! Step 2 is to give Coast to Coast Masonry, your local masonry experts, a call. The call is simple – we take small notes of the issue, grab your number and address, and set up a 1 hour time window to go check out the issue, for free!

 

Start to Finish with CTC Masonry

 

Steps 3 to 4

Step 3 is when one of our project estimators visit your project site and evaluate the issue. A key part of our evaluations is to look for the root problem. We work our best to be a one stop shop and provide peace of mind when proposing our work. Step 4 follows as our project estimator writes up the proposal and our office emails it to our clients.

Looking for a free estimate on your masonry issues in Chicago or surrounding suburbs, call Coast to Coast Masonry today at 847-438-9165!

cracked stone - Stone work

Steps 5 to 7

Step 5 is where the ball is in your court. You have our proposal and if you would like to proceed with our company, we ask that you sign the quote and get it back to us. Step 6, we proceed with scheduling your work, looking for brick matches as necessary and getting all materials ready for your project. Step 7 is our arrival on site and proceeding with the work. As always proposed, we work in a craftsman like manner and do our best to keep our work area clean.

Local Chicago Masonry Experts

At CTC, we repair, restore, protect, and preserve masonry including brick, stone, or even a chimney crown. Whether it is chimney problems, masonry issues, or a stainless steel chimney liner installation our expert masons are here to help. We use the latest masonry technology, ladder safety, and roof safety techniques to restore brick and protect your home.

We at CTC Masonry are the complete solution to your masonry needs and making your chimney last longer. We highly value our clients and seek to gain their confidence by offering the highest level of customized chimney tuckpointing services and masonry products at a competitive price.

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Tuckpointing Options

spot grind spot tuckpoint - chicago masonry

Masonry work is a labor-intensive field. Moving items like bricks, cement, scaffolding, and more all attribute to final costs in your project. Some masonry work on your house has many routes to choose from and costs often vary based on labor. In this article, we will discuss different tuckpointing options for your project. These options will include spot grinding and spot tuckpointing, grinding 100% and tuckpointing 100%, and tuckpointing alone.

 

Tuckpointing Options

 

Grinding and Tuckpointing

Typically, as routine maintenance for your building, it is recommended to proceed with spot grinding and spot tuckpointing. This process includes a full visual inspection of the brick and mortar – any visual cracks are grinded out ¾”, or as necessary, and filled tightly with new mortar. A benefit of this work includes reinforced strength in your mortar and prevention from leaks, further brick damage, and more. Another option for masonry repairs on your building is grinding 100% and tuckpointing 100%. This can sometimes be necessary, however, more commonly it is selected for aesthetic purposes. Spot grinding and spot tuckpointing will match the existing mortar as close as possible in color, texture, and joint style, but it will never be perfect. Grinding 100% and tuckpointing 100% will guarantee all mortar will match and is always visually a treat!

Looking for a free estimate on your masonry issues in Chicago or surrounding suburbs, call Coast to Coast Masonry today at 847-438-9165!

tuckpointing - masonry work

Tuckpointing Only

The other option is avoiding grinding mortar and only tuckpointing over the existing mortar. This will typically done on an entire wall and can be visually appealing. A client may request just to tuckpoint over existing cracks to avoid the extra work of grinding to lower costs. This would not lower costs. Only tuckpointing, over an existing wall requires power washing the brick and mortar in the first place. This clears any existing debris and dirt that may weaken the bond of the mortar. Because of this additional labor costs will remain similar. The biggest difference between grinding and/or tuckpointing options is cost and aesthetics.

Local Chicago Masonry Experts

At CTC, we repair, restore, protect, and preserve masonry including brick, stone, or even a chimney crown. Whether it is chimney problems, masonry issues, or a stainless steel chimney liner installation our expert masons are here to help. We use the latest masonry technology, ladder safety, and roof safety techniques to restore brick and protect your home.

We at CTC Masonry are the complete solution to your masonry needs and making your chimney last longer. We highly value our clients and seek to gain their confidence by offering the highest level of customized chimney tuckpointing services and masonry products at a competitive price.

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Fireplace Draft Problems – Shared Chimneys

rusted liner - utility liner

Fireplace draft problems are nothing to play around with. The danger of carbon monoxide, tasteless and odorless, is present with fireplaces and can be fatal. Side note – a carbon monoxide detector near your fireplace is a great idea! A fireplace should be build to code, but with regular wear and tear, improper repairs, or improper use – your chimney can begin to have some draft issues. In this article, we will cover one common issue which is shared chimneys and the effect of utility liners that can create fireplace draft problems.

 

Fireplace Draft Problems – Shared Chimneys

 

Utility Liner Gases Escaping

Fireplace draft problems are often noticed after lighting a fire for the first time in a while. A common issue we see is shared chimneys where actually the utility liner (exhaust for the water heater and/or boiler) causes the deterioration of the fireplace liner. How can this happen? Fireplaces are not in use every day, but utility liners are. The continuous gas can deteriorate the utility liner and eventually gases escape and deteriorate everything in the chimney.

Looking for a free estimate on your masonry issues in Chicago or surrounding suburbs, call Coast to Coast Masonry today at 847-438-9165!

fireplace liner - deteriorated liner

Effect of Utility Gases

The issue now comes when there are holes or voids/gaps created by deteriorated mortar in the fireplace liner from the utility gases. As your fireplace begins to light the fireplace gases want a perfect funnel out of the chimney but are getting caught and slowed down by these new issues. So as the smoke builds and stays in the chimney too long it cools down. Hot air rises and cold air sinks – this is often when smoke begins to fill the house.

Local Chicago Masonry Experts

At CTC, we repair, restore, protect, and preserve masonry including brick, stone, or even a chimney crown. Whether it is chimney problems, masonry issues, or a stainless steel chimney liner installation our expert masons are here to help. We use the latest masonry technology, ladder safety, and roof safety techniques to restore brick and protect your home.

We at CTC Masonry are the complete solution to your masonry needs and making your chimney last longer. We highly value our clients and seek to gain their confidence by offering the highest level of customized chimney tuckpointing services and masonry products at a competitive price.

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Reoccuring Cracks in Brick/Mortar

mortar cracking - Foundation crack

Brick, stone, mortar, etc… you drive by it every day – some of it is brand new, while other buildings are almost 100 years old. The question then comes… why is this 100 year old brick house still standing and my bricks and mortar are cracking, chipping, or spalling 1 year after I had them repaired on a brand new house. These reoccurring cracks in mortar, or damage in bricks, will have a root problem. If not taken care of at the root, you will be emptying your wallet over and over on your house. Two common root problems of reoccurring cracks in mortar or damage in bricks are foundation cracks and improper flashing.

 

Reoccurring Damage Mortar/Brick

 

Foundation Cracks

Reoccurring cracks in mortar or damage in bricks from foundation cracks will often happen at early stages of a new house. As the foundation needs to settle, it is suspect to cracking. A foundation crack shifts the whole house and even if it is only a tiny bit, brick and mortar is not very flexible! So, like a cracked windshield, even if the cracks are filled in, it is still weakened, suspect to more movement, and more cracking. Having your foundation stabilized can be a pricy project, but it is preventive maintenance towards a possibility of many more issues.

Looking for a free estimate on your masonry issues in Chicago or surrounding suburbs, call Coast to Coast Masonry today at 847-438-9165!

improper flashing - damaged bricks

Improper Flashing

As foundation cracks deal damage from below and can cause reoccurring cracks in mortar or damage in bricks, improper or nonexistent flashing, is the culprit on the other end. Especially in Chicago like temperatures where freeze and thaw often occurs, if your house cannot provide an umbrella like effect steering away moisture from the top, your brick, stone, and mortar will begin to absorb much more moisture than it can handle. If you have window sills, or limestone copings where snow or ice can build and slowly melt under and freeze again when absorbed by brick below – you are suspect to reoccurring cracks in mortar or damage in bricks. Removing and resetting these pieces with proper flashing is the fix!

Local Chicago Masonry Experts

At CTC, we repair, restore, protect, and preserve masonry including brick, stone, or even a chimney crown. Whether it is chimney problems, masonry issues, or a stainless steel chimney liner installation our expert masons are here to help. We use the latest masonry technology, ladder safety, and roof safety techniques to restore brick and protect your home.

We at CTC Masonry are the complete solution to your masonry needs and making your chimney last longer. We highly value our clients and seek to gain their confidence by offering the highest level of customized chimney tuckpointing services and masonry products at a competitive price.

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Constructing Proper Stone Stairs, Stone Walkways

stone stairs - chicago stone work

Stone stairs and stone walkways, a beautiful site at first, and a nightmare to look at two years down the road. What went wrong? Is there something that could have kept your stone stairs or stone walkways from caving in, cracking, moving, or simply loosening up? The answer is yes. It starts with a proper foundation. At Coast to Coast Masonry, we only do stone work on stairs if there is a proper foundation. A thick foundation is preferred, and such work can be warrantied. A thin concrete slab is most likely insufficient unless heavily reinforced and warranty will be lessened as foundation issues will lead to failure of the stone stairs or stone walkways – this is especially true in the Chicago area with constant freeze and thaw in the winters. Lastly, no foundation is something we will not work with – these stones will “dodge, duck, dip, dive, and dodge” – seriously, it will be a mess.

 

Stone Stairs, Stone Walkways

 

Concrete Preparation

The process of constructing stone stairs or stone walkways is begins with pouring concrete stairs or walkways. If concrete already exists, the concrete will be cleaned to a smooth surface before stone installation with the use of high-pressure water and various commercial chemicals and detergents. Upon preparing the surface, the new stone is laid with completely sealed bed and head joints. Polymer-modified mortar will be mixed with 1:1:6 proportions.

Looking for a free estimate on your masonry issues in Chicago or surrounding suburbs, call Coast to Coast Masonry today at 847-438-9165!

custom stone stairs - stone walkway

Stone Installation

First, solid materials are put in a dry mix and then a minimum amount of water is added as a bonding agent consistent with workability to provide tensile bond strength capacity of the mortar. An additional note, stone at treads will be installed with 1/8” pitch for water runoff.

Local Chicago Masonry Experts

At CTC, we repair, restore, protect, and preserve masonry including brick, stone, or even a chimney crown. Whether it is chimney problems, masonry issues, or a stainless steel chimney liner installation our expert masons are here to help. We use the latest masonry technology, ladder safety, and roof safety techniques to restore brick and protect your home.

We at CTC Masonry are the complete solution to your masonry needs and making your chimney last longer. We highly value our clients and seek to gain their confidence by offering the highest level of customized chimney tuckpointing services and masonry products at a competitive price.

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Waterproofing a Brick Foundation

cracked foundation - brick foundation

Leaks in your basement and in need of waterproofing a brick foundation? In older cities, like Chicago or Philadelphia, many houses are built with a brick foundation instead of a concrete foundation. With this type of foundation there is often less structural integrity and foundations cracks, leading to water intrusion, often occur. Below we will discuss the steps of waterproofing a brick foundation.

 

Waterproofing a Brick Foundation

 

Foundation Preparation

We begin with the excavation of foundation exterior, removing soil and disposing temporarily. This is done from top of the foundation down to the point where foundation meets footing. As a preparation prior to waterproofing and to solidify the wall, we spot grind and spot tuckpoint as necessary at this point. Additionally, any bricks that are cracked, or spalling, are removed and replaced with new. The final step prior to the waterproofing is cleaning of all the newly exposed masonry foundation walls below grade. This is completed with the use of high pressure water and various brick-safe commercial chemicals and detergents. This work shall be performed in a craftsman-like manner, taking all possible precaution to protect the surrounding surfaces and objects.

Looking for a free estimate on your masonry issues in Chicago or surrounding suburbs, call Coast to Coast Masonry today at 847-438-9165!

Waterproofing foundation - brick
Hands Protecting House from Bad weather on chalkboard.

Foundation Waterproofing

The final step is to apply, below grade, the liquid waterproofing membrane system (Sonneborn HLM 5000 T) directly to the foundation wall specially formulated for hand application by trowel to vertical surfaces. After proper curing time, we apply 1/4″ thick protection board over the membrane. After the protection board is installed, we will fill in  the above area with the original soil. These are all the steps of waterproofing a brick foundation.     

Local Chicago Masonry Experts

At CTC, we repair, restore, protect, and preserve masonry including brick, stone, or even a chimney crown. Whether it is chimney problems, masonry issues, or a stainless steel chimney liner installation our expert masons are here to help. We use the latest masonry technology, ladder safety, and roof safety techniques to restore brick and protect your home.

We at CTC Masonry are the complete solution to your masonry needs and making your chimney last longer. We highly value our clients and seek to gain their confidence by offering the highest level of customized chimney tuckpointing services and masonry products at a competitive price.

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Replacing Bricks

brick replacement - replacing bricks

Bricks can go through a lot of stress, however, like all things, they do have a breaking point. Overstressed bricks can have multiple outcomes. Some of these include spalling bricks, cracked bricks, chipped bricks, and more. The result is that the brick needs to be replaced. Replacing bricks is a rather simple project, however, the final completion can vary! A good masonry company, can properly level the bricks, select a proper mortar color match, and choose a proper brick match. Replacing bricks with new bricks requires the proper brick size, color, and texture.

 

Replacing Bricks

 

Brick Replacement Process

What is the exact process of replacing bricks? Replacing of bricks starts with finding a proper brick match. This work is completed usually with the use of new bricks to match the original existing bricks as close as possible: ASTM C-216 latest edition, Grade SW, Type FBX or better. Occasionally, salvage brick is used which is typical in Chicago common brick buildings. At the site of the work, mortar and brick is either grinded out or broken up out of its place. Upon cleaning the surface from dust and debris, the new bricks are relayed back to the original lines and set plumb with the surrounding masonry.

Looking for a free estimate on your masonry issues in Chicago or surrounding suburbs, call Coast to Coast Masonry today at 847-438-9165!

scaffolding - brick lot

Brick Replacement Process Cont.

When replacing bricks it is important to lay the brick with completely sealed bed and head joints (horizontal and vertical). And again the mortar is mixed to match the existing in comprehensive strength, color and joint style as close as possible. Replacing of bricks is a simple job but so is painting – there are people that can do the job, but then there are experts in their field.

Local Chicago Masonry Experts

At CTC, we repair, restore, protect, and preserve masonry including brick, stone, or even a chimney crown. Whether it is chimney problems, masonry issues, or a stainless steel chimney liner installation our expert masons are here to help. We use the latest masonry technology, ladder safety, and roof safety techniques to restore brick and protect your home.

We at CTC Masonry are the complete solution to your masonry needs and making your chimney last longer. We highly value our clients and seek to gain their confidence by offering the highest level of customized chimney tuckpointing services and masonry products at a competitive price.

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Clean Fireplace Ashes

fireplace ash - chimney cleaning

Step back for a second and ask… Is it even necessary to remove fireplace ashes? The answer may surprise you – yes and no. Seasonally yes, it is very important to clean up your ashes. Additionally, if your ash buildup is too high than it is important to remove fireplace ashes, however, it is actually ok to allow a little to remain. Why is this? Ashes are a convenient catalyst that allows for an even, quick-start, and consistent fire.

 

Clean Fireplace Ashes

 

Removing Ashes

Eventually, comes a time, to remove fireplace ashes as necessary. When is this? During winter months, where air is typically more dry, the 1”-2” build up of ash can remain. During spring, post-winter, moisture levels rise. The mixture of ash and moisture, increases the ash acidity levels and can set doom on your fireplace. The acidic ashes can eat away at brick or metal. Post winter, is the correct time to remove ashes and clean your fireplace.

Looking for a free estimate on your masonry issues in Chicago or surrounding suburbs, call Coast to Coast Masonry today at 847-438-9165!

wood burning fireplace - ash cleanupExtra Uses – Fireplace Ashes

As you clean your fireplace throughout the winter, there is actually a few uses for the extra ashes. For plants and gardens, the ash is a tremendous fertilizer – this can be saved over the winter, or used at in home gardens/plants. Another interesting option is the use of ashes on ice. Ashes spread across iced driveways or iced sidewalks can provide some needed traction. Overall, fireplace ashes are actually a nice commodity to have. At the end of your fireplace season, however, be sure to schedule a chimney sweep for a final season ending cleaning.

Local Chicago Masonry Experts

At CTC, we repair, restore, protect, and preserve masonry including brick, stone, or even a chimney crown. Whether it is chimney problems, masonry issues, or a stainless steel chimney liner installation our expert masons are here to help. We use the latest masonry technology, ladder safety, and roof safety techniques to restore brick and protect your home.

We at CTC Masonry are the complete solution to your masonry needs and making your chimney last longer. We highly value our clients and seek to gain their confidence by offering the highest level of customized chimney tuckpointing services and masonry products at a competitive price.

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For more information on our services – click here

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