There is no doubt that bricks are among the best masonry materials available. They allow for personalization, are easy to work with, and require minimal upkeep. They are also energy efficient, making them an environmentally-conscious choice for building structures.
Although bricks are inherently durable and are quite resistant to extreme weather conditions, they can still deteriorate, especially if they are frequently exposed to water or moisture. One of the best ways to help brickwork last as long as possible and keep moisture out is through waterproofing.
Brick waterproofing simply involves the application of a sealant that is especially designed for masonry use. Most sealants are made with siloxane, which when applied on the surface creates a thin layer of protection that prevents water from penetrating the brickwork. However, while the sealant does not allow moisture to infiltrate deep into the substrate, it does allow water vapour to escape, thereby letting the bricks to breathe.
Although the main objective of waterproofing bricks through the application of sealant is to make them watertight, there are a number of other reasons why waterproofing should become a part of a brickwork’s regular maintenance.
Prevents accumulation of dirt
For brickwork that is especially exposed to pollution, dirt build up can be a major issue. Over time, as dirt accumulates on the surface, it can affect the aesthetic quality of masonry. The application of a sealant can help address this problem as it provides a smooth finish that is capable of resisting dirt. The sealant also makes it easier to clean the surface, thereby keeping the pristine appearance of the brickwork.
Prevents the development of efflorescence
Another issue that brick sealing can help resolve is that of efflorescence–a white, powdery substance that commonly occurs on masonry surfaces. Efflorescence is the result of salt build up on bricks. This happens when the moisture absorbed by masonry dissolves the salt, and when it evaporates the salt appears on the surface in the form of a chalky substance. With the application of sealant, however, such white staining can be prevented since moisture will not be absorbed by the brickwork.
Spalling is another potential issue commonly seen on bricks. This happens when bricks flake because water has frozen in their surface pores. As a result, bricks expand and contract, causing the masonry to spall, crumble and even crack through. Applying siloxane-based sealant on bricks can help them to harden and stabilize. Hence, the surface is able to exclude water from being trapped within the masonry, preventing freeze-thaw spalling from occurring.
As you can see, waterproofing can do a whole lot in extending the service life and contributing to the usefulness of brickwork. However, it should be noted that the selection of sealant should be done with great care to ensure that it is appropriate for brick application. Likewise, proper preparation of the brick surface should also be done prior to applying the waterproofing material to ensure that it will adhere well and will not cause damage to bricks.