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How do I know if our house needs repointing?

A masonry structure needs repointing when an examination of the mortar points out any signs of deterioration: cracks in the mortar, loose or missing mortar, weak or crumbly mortar, gaps between the mortar and the masonry, loose bricks, water leakage on the interior of the wall, or damp spots on the surface of the masonry. These are all warning signs that if ignored can result in further degeneration of the mortar, the masonry, and the overall health of a structure. Ottawa is particularly susceptible to these sorts of issues with the extreme differences in temperatures. If you have any or all of these, you should contact us to see if your property needs to be repointed!

What is repointing and why does it demand care?

Repointing is the process of taking out and replacing the mortar ('pointing') from the face of masonry joint. Done properly, this helps exclude the weather and retard deterioration of the wall. Regrettably, repointing is commonly undertaken unnecessarily or unsatisfactorily. Unnecessary repointing, however carefully done, risks damage to the edges of bricks or stones, as well as the loss of valuable clues to a building's construction and history. Tuckpointing is one of Everest Restoration's main areas of expertise, professionally colour matching and mortar matching for over 3 decades. We started with tuckpointing during the forming years. Unsatisfactory repointing can not only be visually disturbing, but harmful to the actual fabric it is intended to protect.

Does my whole house need repointing?

This very much depends upon the amount of deterioration that is already present. However, we will only repoint that which needs doing. There is no need to repoint a whole house if only one a section of a wall is affected! We will always advise our customers upon the most appropriate action that should be taken when we inspect your property.

What should mortar matching include?

Correctly matching mortar extends far beyond just matching color. The other things that can and should be matched are: texture, important physical properties, hardness, vapor permeability, and tooling – the shape of the mortar joint. It is important that repair mortar be matched so that it will be compatible with both the surrounding masonry units as well as the contiguous mortar. Formulating the mortar recipe to perform well in the environmental conditions it is exposed to is also critical. Determining these things should only be done by an experienced professional with a sound understanding of historic masonry materials science. Contact us for help.

Why is matching my mortar important?

If it is not, you run the risk of the new repair mortar contributing to the deterioration of the wall instead of protecting it and not being aesthetically pleasing because the color, texture or tooling doesn't match the contiguous mortar. There are a multitude of examples of poor mortar matching in and around Ottawa and Everest is sometimes hired to cut out and re-point a house which has been just recently completed by others.

Is it only houses that can be re-pointed?

No, not just your house! Any brickwork that has mortar joints can be repointed. That may be stone or brick garden walls, monuments, outbuildings chimneys etc. Any external (or internal) brick or stone with mortar joints can be repointed. Everest Restoration has been hired successfully over the years to repoint hundreds of thousands of linear feet of mortar joints.

How long does it take?

Obviously this is dependent upon the size and layout of the brickwork and the scale of wall (walls) that need to be repointed. Another factor is the weather! Due to the very nature of the work, we can not point in the heavy rain or freezing weather as this can spoil the mortar. We will advise to how long a job would take upon inspection of the property.

When can you start?

Our work diary is based on a 2-6 weeks schedule. Due to the extreme weather conditions in Ottawa and demands, we usually give a loose estimate of schedule, Everest has always been able to accommodate these select customers.

How much?

We would quote for all works upon inspection of the property. Contact us and we will be happy to give you a free quotation.

Can I do it myself?

Poor repointing ruins many houses and can cause dampness. Pointing should always be done by a skilled specialist, and should respect the original pointing method. The mortar and joints should match the original and should in older houses always include lime. Flush pointing is usually best and 'weather struck' is almost always wrong.

Should I have mortar analyzed before the wall is re-pointed or repaired?

Not always. Considering the original mortar's age and the environmental conditions it has been exposed to, if it has not performed well, there is no reason to replicate it. On the other hand, if the original mortar has performed well over time, there is no reason to change it, and therefore a professional mortar analysis is a good idea. However, the answers to the above statements are complex and should only be answered by an experienced professional with a sound understanding of historic masonry materials science. Contact us for help.

What are the advantages of cleaning my masonry?

The color of the original masonry and the architectural detailing of your building becomes more apparent following cleaning. If you are in need of your mortar being repointed or some of the masonry units being patched, cleaning exposes their true natural color so that matching the mortar and patching the surrounding masonry units becomes easier. If your masonry can benefit from an application of a penetrating and breathable water repellent, cleaning the masonry must be done prior to application of the product. And if your house looks good that will increase its value.

What has caused my masonry to become so soiled?

There are several things which can result in your masonry to becoming so soiled : hard water deposits form on the masonry as a result of water from landscape sprinkling systems hitting the wall, graffiti, animal or plant life, smoke from a previous fire, metallic deposits, industrial pollution.

What methods are available to clean my masonry?

There are several methods. Each method has its specific application. The goal is to utilize the most effective method of achieving the desired level of cleaning without pitting, discoloring or otherwise damaging the masonry. Contact us for assistance on determining which cleaning method is best for your situation.

We have heard there is a way of changing the colour of the bricks. Will that be permanent?

The technique is called tinting and has been used with some success over the years. Experience has shown that the tinting is a permanent modification of the colour and treatment and has no adverse effects on the durability or other performance attributes of the masonry. The process consists of applying a colourfast oxide based pigment in a potassium silicate medium, which gives a permanent tint to the surface of brick masonry. It can be used to tint brick or mortar joints.

To prevent water from penetrating my masonry wall, can I have a water repellent applied instead of re-pointing?

Applying a water repellent should never be a substitute for a quality repointing job. Quality water repellents will not bridge over large cracks or voids in the masonry. Making sure there are no cracks or voids in either the masonry units or the mortar is essential, then the proper quality water repellant can be professionally applied. Everest can assist in this process.

How often will my masonry need to be resealed?

Water repellent will usually last around 10 years. After the water repellent has been applied, it is best to test the masonry to determine how absorbent it has become every year.

My estate agent told me that if I want to sell the house I should give it a face lift. How much will that increase the value of my house?

There are several aspects that can contribute to a house value increase. One of them is to give your house a face lift. We can not forecast an exact increase as this depends on, what kind of restoration process will be applied, and the area in which your property is.

What is important to look for in a contractor? What questions should I ask?

A track record of success with and restoration is critical, and references are the key to determining whether that experience will work for you. You should ask your contractor for references, how often they get business from referrals, and how often property managers hire them for additional jobs. It's also important to find out about the crew that will be assigned to your job – their level of experience, tenure with the company, and safety record. A good waterproofing and restoration company will have long-time employees and low turnover. Importantly, you'll want a crew that respects your property and the people who visit it – so ask the contractor how they'll restore or repair while you're still operating a business at the facility. Ask for proof of insurance. Your vendor should also be prepared to walk you through their bid, explaining cost of materials, labor and other factors. In short, you want a contractor that you trust and who communicates freely with you.

What's the best time to bring in a waterproofing and restoration company?

Safety is the number one consideration when evaluating leak repairs and other waterproofing and restoration projects. You don't want to be liable should anyone on your property become injured or ill because of water infiltration or façade decay. Property owners who postpone waterproofing and restoration typically pay a higher price in the long run, in the form of repairs to the damage caused by the leak and insurance deductibles or higher premiums. Everest Restoration (Ottawa) Ltd. is available to inspect your property and provide a complete analysis. The inspection can typically determine the cause of the leak and action required for remediation. Everest also provides preventive maintenance plans for its clients, indicating the expected lifespan of certain sealants and coatings and when replacement or restoration should next be planned to prevent leaks or damage.

How much does Everest Restoration (Ottawa) Ltd. charge for an estimate and what is involved?

Estimates are always free. After you call the office, an estimator will come to your location and will visually inspect the exterior of the building, noting all signs of stress. He can then develop an appropriate repair plan.

How much does Everest Restoration (Ottawa) Ltd. charge for an estimate and what is involved?

Estimates are always free. After you call the office, an estimator will come to your location and will visually inspect the exterior of the building, noting all signs of stress. He can then develop an appropriate repair plan.

Does Everest Restoration (Ottawa) Ltd. carry insurance?

Yes, Everest Restoration (Ottawa) Ltd. carries liability and Workers Compensation Insurance. A simple call to the office and our helpful staff will be willing to explain the particulars to you.

Will fixing my foundation close the existing cracks or open new ones?

It is possible to do both. The goal of foundation repairs is to return the house to as near its original horizontal position while trying to limit damage to the home.

Brick Cracks - the brick step-cracks that you typically see on houses where the foundation has failed will generally close up when you lift the slab back into place. There is no guarantee that the cracks will close because each home is different and there are other factors that have more to do with the construction of the home.

Some small new drywall cracks are more common

How long after the repairs should I wait to fix my mortar and drywall cracks?

Your wait will depend on how much the house has been lifted. The slab should not move after it has been lifted but the walls may need time to adjust to their new position. A general rule-of-thumb would be to wait 4-6 weeks after repairs are completed.

What are some indicators that I should fix my basement?

Besides the obvious signs of puddles on your floor or water trickling down from your wall there are several ways water damage rears its ugly head:

  • Musty odors
  • Mold and / or mildew
  • Damp spots on the walls
  • Dry Rot
  • Cracked walls
  • Peeling paint
  • White chalky substance on walls
  • Rust on appliances or furniture
  • Warped paneling
  • Browned stains on the wall
Why should I fix my basement?
  • To utilize the space as an increased living area (family room, extra bedroom, game room) or for extra storage space
  • To ensure a structurally sound foundation
  • To prevent termite and insect infestation
  • To prevent electrical shock hazards
  • To prevent the deterioration of your property value
  • To prevent mold and mildew growth and the problems that arise from the two
  • Because it is less expensive to fix and maintain your basement than it is to add an addition on your home.
  • To create a healthier home environment
  • To avoid further damage or future damage to your stored belongings
  • To prevent / minimize radon intrusion
What are a few factors that may contribute to water damage, or basement flooding and dampness?
  • The settling or shifting of your house
  • A low landscape
  • A poorly installed drainage system, not pitched correctly.
  • Neighboring yards sloping towards yours
  • A neighbor added an addition or installed a swimming pool.
  • Chemical breakdown of concrete walls
Why does my basement leak?

Your basement may leak for several reasons. The drain tile installed, or lack of drain tile, may become clogged with silt and settlement, causing it to fail. The parging done on the outside of your home may have deteriorated causing water to enter the foundation. Your sump pump may be working improperly. A professional inspector from Everest Restoration (Ottawa) Ltd. is trained to notice these signs and will help determine exactly why your basement is leaking.

How do I know where the water is coming from?

Water can enter a foundation many ways; the most common source is through the cove area (where the floor and the wall meet). The cove area is a natural seem where the water can most easily penetrate your foundation. A second common source is through hydrostatic pressure. This will cause water to penetrate through cracks in your floor and/or walls. Many other sources are common, though not as easily visible. Call Everest Restoration (Ottawa) Ltd. today for more information or to schedule an appointment for a free inspection.

What causes the musty smell in my basement?

The musty smell in your basement is most likely caused from mold, fungus spores, or mildew. This can potentially spread and cause asthma, respiratory problems, and allergic reactions in people and should be taken care of immediately. Call Everest Restoration (Ottawa) Ltd. today to schedule a free inspection.

What is the white chalky substance I see on my walls?

The white chalky substance on your walls is most likely efflorescence. Because concrete is made of more than one material, an excessive amount of water is in your walls can cause a chemical breakdown of the bonding agent in concrete that hold your wall together. This problem, over time, may leech the lime cement out of the wall, leaving nothing to keep it together.

Why do I have cracks in my wall or floors

Cracks in your walls and floors can result from several different factors. Cracks can be a sign of settling in the foundation or they can be caused from pressure build-up of water around or under your foundation. Cracks in your floors or wall can also be a sign of movement. With nearly 47 tons or more of pressure resting on your foundation walls, they must be maintained. If you have visible cracks in your floors or walls call Everest Restoration (Ottawa) Ltd. today for a free inspection.

What does it cost to have my basement waterproofed?

The cost of waterproofing a basement depends on what needs to be repaired or installed and what method you choose to fix the problem area or prevent future damage. Everest Restoration (Ottawa) Ltd. does, however, perform all inspections and estimates free of charge!