Masonry Restoration 101 – Everything You Need to Know

Masonry restoration is a particular type of repair that involves old walls and buildings. A specialist must do this work to preserve the structure and keep its character intact. Masonry matters, not just for its aesthetic value but also because gaps in brick let in moisture that can damage the interior. Choosing a masonry contractor that specializes in historic restoration will produce superior results.


Masonry restoration is repairing a building or other structure with bricks and mortar. Historic masonry restoration, for instance, is a construction method often used in historical buildings and can provide a beautiful look for those who choose to live or work there. This is a necessary service for those who own historic buildings, as it can help to keep them looking their best and preserve their structural integrity.

This may include filling in cracks or replacing old bricks. It can also involve replacing old mortar with new mortar or repointing. This is particularly important in historic buildings, as the new mortar must match the original material to blend seamlessly.

This process can also involve restoring the lintels on a building, which are the steel sections fastened above windows and doors. These can become damaged over time and can cause water damage. The masonry contractor will remove these and replace them with new ones, ensuring they match the originals as closely as possible.


Brick and masonry are incredibly durable building materials but don’t last forever. General exposure to the elements will erode and break down any material over time. That’s why it’s important to regularly invest in masonry services to maintain your building’s integrity and appearance.

The first step in masonry restoration is to clean the surface. Masonry contractors use a chemical solution to remove dirt, grime, and paint from brick masonry surfaces. Using the right cleaning solution is critical to avoid damaging the structure. After cleaning the surface, a masonry contractor will perform tuckpointing to repair mortar joints. To test the condition of your mortar, drag a key along the surface. If the mortar scratches into powder, it’s time for maintenance work.


Masonry surface sealing helps extend the life of brick, stone, and concrete masonry. Unsealed surfaces absorb water, which can weaken and discolor brick masonry and mortar, especially in a humid environment. Unsealed concrete and masonry surfaces can also be susceptible to freeze/thaw damage, leading to cracking and spalling (breaking into smaller pieces).

Masonry sealers are available as either waterproof or water-repellent. Both types must be carefully selected, as a waterproof coating may accentuate a problem by preventing water vapor in a wall from exiting. Water-repellent coatings may also trap vapor water, causing it to change to liquid water within the wall.

Whether your building is true masonry or just a brick veneer, it requires regular maintenance to look its best. One easy way to test for masonry maintenance needs is to drag a key or other sharp object across the mortar joints. 


The main benefit of masonry restoration is that it helps maintain the external appearance of buildings and structures. The appearance of a building is important to both the occupants and the public. No one wants to work in a building that has been allowed to fall into disrepair. The exterior of a building also impacts its structural integrity. Cracks and gaps let in moisture, which can damage the other materials inside the building.

When repairing or painting masonry, it’s critical to prep the surfaces before starting work. This involves removing flaking paint, cleaning the surface, and making necessary repairs. Tuck-pointing tools, for example, break up old mortar and then work new mortar into the joints of bricks. This is called repointing.

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