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Q & A - Sunday Times - Crumbling Bricks

Question submitted to The Sunday Times Home Help May 2016

I have a utility extension on my house that is single-brick thickness. A number of the brick faces at ground level are crumbling. There are some on the main house and the garage where this is occurring, too. What causes this? And can the bricks be replaced without causing the wall to collapse?

Billy Heyman Director of BTL Property answers your questions

Crumbling bricks at ground level would suggest that frost, water or temperature fluctuations are causing the brick faces to spall, and that the type of bricks used is not correct. Below the damp-proof course (DPC), which is usually 150mm above ground level, the bricks used should have a rating of at least F2; I imagine the bricks that have been used do not meet this standard.

A reputable general building contractor will be able carefully to remove the affected bricks and in their place insert engineering bricks or dense concrete blocks, which will need to be rendered below DPC level. The other option would be to apply a waterproof bell-shaped render to the face of the affected brickwork, but this can be unsightly and should be considered only as a last resort.



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