Review of Information Obtained from Investigation of 20 Distressed Exterior Brickwork Walls Built in a Severe Weathering Region of the USA

    Published: Jan 1996

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    The investigation of 20 distressed brickwork walls built in a severe weathering region of the USA revealed that the lack of expansion joints to accommodate movements of the wall and structure is the major cause of distress in brickwork walls as is documented in the literature of the masonry industry. Other significant findings found during the investigation that are not as well documented are as follows: 1. Deterioration of brick in walls due to exposure to severe weathering is rare even among brick that meets ASTM Grade SW by alternate considerations. 2. Deterioration of mortar in walls due to exposure to severe weathering is rare in non air-entrained portland cement lime (PCL), mortar, and in air-entrained masonry cement (MC) mortar. 3. Efflorescence occurred in 35 percent of the distressed brickwork walls investigated. 4. Water leakage into the interior of the building occurred in 20 percent of the distressed brickwork walls investigated. 5. There is no obvious correlation between the use of Type M, S, or N mortar, the use of PCL or MC mortar, or the air-entrainment content of mortar with the types of distress conditions that occurred in the brickwork walls investigated.

    The information obtained from the 20 distressed brickwork walls investigated can be used to minimize the development of distressed conditions in new brickwork walls, and to study methods to improve the performance and durability of brickwork.


    distressed brickwork, brick, mortar, severe weathering, efflorescence, water leakage, air-entrainment

    Author Information:

    Chin, IR
    Vice President, Principal and Chicago Unit Manager, Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc. (WJE), Chicago, IL

    Committee/Subcommittee: C01.21

    DOI: 10.1520/STP18201S

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