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View Diary: Bricks, or the Damnedest Clues in the Damnedest Places (152 comments)

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  •  this is fascinating. i love bricks (16+ / 0-)

    and i am a tilemaker and make architectural ceramics as well. i make tile for a lot of early 20th c. fireplaces and have helped resore some  very early 19th C  adobes.
    nowdays everyone want to seal everything, including the mortar. i understand this, but it doesn't work in a living breathing perspiring environment.
    in studying as much as i can , i also came across  the idea that the mortar is in fact the path for water evaporation..it almost acts as a the 'lungs' for the structure or the clay cladding , as well as the brick.
    it draws  and drains and evaporated the moisture and  takes the brunt of the freeze thaw... and repointing mortar, though tedious , is easier than replacing brick, tile or large clay components.
    i love bricks and every brick tells a story.
    i also believe that you do have to live in a place long enough to understand  'what happened and why. the clues are all there, but living inside the skin and story of the place allows you to begin to understand , as a workman would.
    hope to read future diaries, thanks for this one.

    •  actually, bricks do the "breathing" (6+ / 0-)

      bricks are a clay material.  When they come out of the kiln they are dry, but from then on they begin to absorb moisture- because that is the nature of clay- and they will continue to absorb water for scores of years after.  So much so that they are also slowly growing in size.

      A brick wall killer is paint.  Paint traps the moisture inside the brick.  All kinds of problems then result, but essentially you have to keep re-painting the wall to save it.

      Here, I found a good article covering some basics:

      http://www.oldlouisville.com/...

      •  You're right that bricks "breathe" (6+ / 0-)

        but I believe that manyamile is also correct.  I'd always heard that mortar actually "draws" moisture from the bricks and directs it out to be evaporated, which is one of the many reasons that lime mortar is preferable to modern.

        That's a great resource.  The Dept. of Historic Resources Preservation Briefs are also terrific and filled with best practices: http://www.nps.gov/....

        "I speak the truth, not as much as I would, but as much as I dare, and I dare a little the more, as I grow older." --Montaigne

        by DrLori on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 02:11:59 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  The link is wonderful (0+ / 0-)

        I especially like the creative suggestions for what to do with determined "upgraders" who lack appreciation for historical architecture.  I think some of them might be adapted to people who try to sell chemical lawn treatments as well.

        Of course, we can always "Line them up and throw them overboard!".

      •  ah, i was thinking about architectural ceramics (0+ / 0-)

        more in the line of ceramic cladding, such as tile and the large architectural ceramics components which arrived with the invention of the 'skyscraper' in the late 1800s.

        many times these clay components were glazed or fired higher so they were less porous  though  they usually all still had some porosity.  kind of like brick... it depends how high the bricks or tiles are fired. but the mortar still played a very active roll in the breathing of the building, and migration of moisture.

        also design elements such as trim, overhangs, which worked to physically shed outside water.....

        I make  tile and arch. ceramics for a living and am fascinated and in love with brick and tile and clay clad and  adobe buildings and have also studied them a bit and helped to repair and restore them...there is so much to learn from them, and from those who are still alive who know some of the old trades and techniques

    •  Beautifully put. (2+ / 0-)
      i also believe that you do have to live in a place long enough to understand  'what happened and why. the clues are all there, but living inside the skin and story of the place allows you to begin to understand , as a workman would.
      I couldn't agree more.

      "I speak the truth, not as much as I would, but as much as I dare, and I dare a little the more, as I grow older." --Montaigne

      by DrLori on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 02:40:50 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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