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Ashes to Ashes, Mortar to Dust

Posted by John Gemmill on May 1st, 1998 03:41 PM

We live in a nine year old, all-brick home in Ontario. Living in Canada (even southern Canada) means sometimes having to endure long, cold winters.
Over the last few years we have noticed the mortar, in certain places, on our house slowly breakdown and turn to dust. This seems to be happening primarily on the southern- exposure side of the house and between bricks that are on their sides (mortar lines running vertically). This particular application for the bricks is used as window ledges and under our front door. In all cases the brick is exposed to moisture (rain, snow build-up) and an active freeze-thaw cycle.
The bricks are red cement bricks and the mortar has red pigment in it.
I feel this breakdown of the mortar is probably due to many factors (freeze-thaw, exposure) but I see other brick homes that have the same variables as us (some mortar much older) and the same problem is not occurring. Could there be a problem with the mortar mix or the way it was applied? Might the product(s) be inferior for this type of application?
I'm anxious to hear any thoughts on the matter.

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