How to Deal with Cracks in Brickwork Before Rendering
We come across many older properties with brickwork in really poor condition. This might be because the brickwork has become cracked and damaged over the years due to exposure from the elements, it could be due to structural issues within the building, or it could be where old render has been removed and damaged the brick underneath. In many cases where old render is removed, the bricks underneath are substandard anyway, and in desperate need of repair.
What has caused the cracks?
As part of our initial survey we will take a look at any cracks in the brickwork to see what has caused them. In some cases where we suspect a structural issue, we might recommend a survey from a structural surveyor to ensure there is not a more serious issue. In this case it would not make sense to render until the problem is resolved.
If the damage is merely superficial or easily remedied with some levelling mortar, we may be able to repair this as part of the job.
Levelling out surfaces prior to insulation and render
If there are uneven surfaces which could cause cavities when covered with insulation, or create a uneven base coat in render only jobs, we will sometimes recommend levelling out the surface with a specially designed levelling mortar. This fills all the voids and ensures that you have a quality surface to render on to.
Strengthening Brickwork prior to rendering
If the damage is severe, but not structural, then we may suggest adding a strengthening metal mesh. As seen in the photo, this metal mesh is fixed mechanically to the brickwork to hold the brick together and ensure a stable surface to render on to. We would then cover the mesh with a mortar layer before proceeding with the regular basecoat, fibreglass mesh and top coat.
Why do we ensure stable brickwork?
Many rendering companies would not bother to carry out this sort of strengthening work, but we insist upon it because we have to offer you a long term warranty (10 years for render only and 25 years for insulation and render). Without this sort of groundwork, you are more susceptible to cracking and failure of the render system, so don’t take the second best option here.
Does strengthening the brickwork cost more?
The cost will depend on the amount of brickwork affected by the cracking. If much of the wall needs to have metal mesh, there will be a fairly considerable increase in cost. If it is only a patch here and there, the cost is only going to be a few hundred pounds. Well worth that extra investment to ensure a long lasting finish.