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How to Prevent Frost Attack on Bricks

Posted on by J Radford Group

Inforgraphic: how to prevent frost attack on bricks

Many factors lead to excessive frost attack on otherwise healthy bricks and mortar. The key factor is moisture and specifically moisture saturation. In simple terms this means having overly wet bricks and mortar due to inclement weather. When temperatures get extremely low this water freezes and expands. Once the frost thaws, the gaps left behind weaken the bricks, leading to large sections of missing brick and the splintered look of bricks which have suffered frost attack. The answer to this is quality workmanship that prevents frost attack on bricks, as well as using frost-resistant bricks to build outer walls and boundary walls.

Let’s go into more detail about how you can prevent brickwork from being victim to frost attack throughout the colder months. Much of it is prevention, maintenance and the use of quality materials.

What causes frost attack?

Firstly, let’s understand what frost attack is. Moisture penetrates bricks of all kinds, no matter what the finish and spec. However, most bricks are resistant to excessive moisture ingress. When there is impurities in the brick or flaws in the brickwork, pointing or workmanship, this part of the wall can be prone to frost attack.

This is where the moisture is concentrated in an area of brick and has frozen and then thawed. ‘Freeze thaw’ is a natural process of erosion which affects all stone-derived materials. However, it’s something that should be accounted for when building a wall using bricks.

How to protect bricks and masonry from frost

For existing walls, treatments such as silicone can be retroactively applied to bricks to prevent further frost attack. Maintenance of the pointing and mortar will also help to reduce water ingress around the individual bricks. For newly built walls, considering frost resistant bricks for boundary walls, where thermal heat from the home will not pass through the wall, is a good idea. These particular bricks prevent water ingress and are highly effective when paired with quality coping. Coping is the ‘cap’ that should be used on the top of brick walls to protect the wall from excessive amounts of water saturation.

Other considerations

Poor maintenance of guttering and downpipes exposes your brickwork to concentrated levels of moisture. Essentially, a leaking gutter or downpipe will focus the rainwater into a small area of the brickwork, leading to failure of the pointing and bricks overtime. This is because high levels of moisture saturation in one particular area will weaken the structure. Combine this scenario with extremely low temperatures in winter and you have a prime example of frost attack due to lack of maintenance.
Solve this by checking your guttering and downpipes for major leaks and have the problem fixed immediately. Once checked and repaired, the frost attack should diminish in this area very quickly and with noticeable results.

Maintain your buildings with professional services

With professional building conservation, you can expect thorough checks for frost attack damage and the correct fix to ensure the building remains safe and presentable for years to come. Cleaning, restoration and maintenance is the key to keeping a historic building up to scratch and working efficiently. When it comes to frost attack, the best course of action is to let the professionals deal with the problem by applying the latest technology in facade cleaning and repairs, as well as brickwork and stone cleaning.

At J Radford Group we’re dedicated to preserving the capital’s buildings, their brickwork and their stonework. That’s why we offer a range of services to help you protect your building, including protective coatings, facade cleaning, graffiti removal and brickwork repairs. Simply contact our team today to discuss your building restoration and protection needs and we’ll be happy to help.


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