What's the Future Ever Done for Me?

Vintage Brick Repair

P1100368Like most old houses, mine was in need of some repair. The bricks on the south wall had deteriorated over the years  and I even saw birds picking away at them.

You can also see some previous repair work with some modern bricks inserted.

Chauncey Builder’s Supply on Chauncey Ave. off of Kipling carries a PERFECT reproduction Ontario Orange Brick. Both size and colour are correct.

This brick has SKYCON imprinted on it and they cost $1.00 apiece.

P1110421As this is a soft clay brick, the real challenge with brick replacement and tuck pointing on an old house is finding the correct mortar mix to use.

It’s important that the mortar is softer than the bricks. The mortar is designed to fail before the bricks do. Using modern Portland cement is a BIG mistake as it is TOO strong and the natural expansion and contraction of the structure will cause the bricks to break first.

For well over 30 years it has been common practice to prescribe the use of a Type-O masonry mortar for use on the conservation of masonry buildings. The most common formula of a Type-O mortar is 1:2:9, a blend of 1 part white Portland cement, 2 parts Type-S hydrated lime (most often dolomitic lime) and 9 parts sand by volume.

This is a simple ratio. I made up the mortar in small batches using an old Pyrex coffee cup as my measure.

2 cups of cement, 4 cups lime and 18 cups of sand. Water was then added at about 3-4 cups depending on the humidity and thoroughly mixed until it was the right consistency.

So, when talking to a contractor re: brick repair make sure he is aware of the need for a softer mortar on an old house.

P1100369Bricks should be removed in small sections so as not to compromise the entire wall.

P1100377The new mortar is then tinted to match the existing colour. In this case I was more concerned with the structure over aesthetics as this wall is fairly hidden from general view.

Dan  the Man on the scaffold.

The overall result was very good and I’ll probably do anther round when the weather gets better in the spring..

P1100371With the proper maintenance, an old Victorian house could last another 500 years.

Please use this post only as a guide and consult with a knowledgeable contractor regarding the correct mortar mix and re pointing.

P1100365This brick detail, on the south wall, reveals evidence of a substantial wooden shed or carriage house attached to the house years ago before the property was sectioned and newer houses built next door.


6 responses

  1. Pingback: 1388 Queen St W is on Sale. What is Under the Siding? | Parkdale Village Historical Society

  2. I posted an article with a link to this useful link of yours. It would be nice to hear from you.

    February 24, 2014 at 1:41 am

  3. here is the link to the article I just mentioned.

    February 24, 2014 at 1:43 am

  4. Imran Latif

    Thanks for posting. I am repairing the brick at the front of my 1880s victorian and appreciated the contact for Chauncey Building Supply. Going there later today to see if I am able to match my brick.

    August 29, 2017 at 12:25 pm

    • Thanks. You probably want a “John Price”.

      August 29, 2017 at 7:56 pm

      • Imran Latif

        Thanks. I checked out the John Price bricks but they are 8 3/8″ long. Mine however are 9″ long. I think mine were probably another manufacturer back in the day.

        August 31, 2017 at 12:12 pm

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