Problem: Cracking of brick veneer.
Cause: Installation of bricks during cold or wet weather.
In cold conditions, freezing mortar with high moisture levels will expand, resulting in cracking mortar and brickwork.
- Keep bricks off the ground, remove any plastic wrapping materials and cover the bricks with a tarpaulin, allowing air circulation to remove moisture from the bricks.
- When mixing mortar in cold weather, reduce the quantity of mix water and use warm water. Maintain the temperature of the mortar above 40°F (5°C). Keep sand on site covered to reduce moisture content ; heat sand and ensure that there are no frozen lumps in the mix. Tent the area to be bricked, loading bricks into the heated area to raise their temperature. Cover all unfinished work to prevent water or ice from getting into the masonry wall. Tool the mortar joints only when they are stiff enough to mark a thumbprint. Raked joints are not recommended.