Winter is Coming…
As the cold weather swept in this week we have seen snow fall across most of the country, with many people in south-east England seeing their first fall of the winter. Many broke out the sledges and relished the chance to enjoy some traditional British winter fun, but as the weekend passed many were left now facing the reality of getting to work with disruption to road and rail travel. Forecasters warned the white blanket currently covering huge swathes of the country will ice over as temperatures plunge to well below freezing once more due to wind driven by Hurricane Alex, which has developed in the Atlantic and pushing cold air our way.
November and December saw a series of extratropical cyclones forming in a westerly flow over the Atlantic, directing warm and moist air to the region, with rainfall records being smashed across the country and widespread flooding. This combined with the recent sudden cold snap has highlighted the importance of adequately protecting your brickwork from the elements. The cost to repair or reverse the damage to brickwork can be significant, safeguarding your masonry is becoming increasingly important with our unpredictable and extreme British weather. The safety of a structure can be greatly reduced when its brickwork has been weakened by the weather and if left unchecked, unprotected brickwork will deteriorate and lose its ability to keep out frost, rain and snow. Once this occurs, any manner of accelerated decay and its by-products can happen with dramatic effects.
Exterior walls are most at risk of damage, as they are constantly exposed to the elements. Garden walls often bear the brunt of the onslaught of the British weather and people often overlook them in the Winter as gardening takes a back seat until the warmer months. With little natural drainage and no guttering they are subject to the worst of the weather and can unfortunately all too easily face neglect, with decay being spotted too late to prevent costly damage. The unusual wind directions seen this Winter mean may walls previously sheltered have been exposed to the full effects of the weather, and you may be experiencing damp walls for the first time. The mortar can become damaged as a result of water staining or frost amongst other things, which can eventually pose risks when it comes to the safety of the wall. Having walls in your front and back garden provides a great feature that can look attractive as well as adding extra security. However, it is important to ensure that you use the right products to not only enhance the look of your walls but also minimise on the risk of damage.
So what can you do to protect your brickwork?
There is more than one method of protecting brickwork from the damaging effects of the weather. Coping stones are very effective and can be placed on the tops of free standing walls to protect them, sheltering from the rain and ensuring run of is directed away from the wall. Brick that is allowed to be constantly saturated by water can first result in the serious and rapid decay of the mortar joints and the bricks themselves if left for long enough. Brick faces can crack and ultimately crumble as the result of frost. This is most common on chimney stacks and parapets, or anywhere that cement mortar has been used instead of the lime-based variety. One great way to avoid such damage is by ensuring there is no standing water. Our Coping Stones can be manufactured with a “drip channel” underneath either side which prevents rain water from running down your wall, thus helping to protect it from erosion and frost damage.
As well as Coping Stones it is advisable to use capping on pillars, piers and gate posts will help to protect the mortar from this type of damage, ensuring they continue looking great and are safe. Again choosing the right pillar capping product for you is crucial. We offer a huge range of styles of pier caps so you can always get the perfect protection in keeping with the style and design of your home.
It is important to regularly check your brickwork and ensure any adjoining paving is draining correctly. Drains can often become clogged with leaves and debris so should always be maintained adequately. Should the worst happen and your brickwork has unfortunately already become damaged by the weather don’t panic, you can undergo the rendering process, which replaces the coating on the face of the wall. Another solution is to replace damaged bricks with new ones, though we cannot emphasise enough the importance of protection. Understanding the signs of brickwork damage due to weather can prevent costly repairs down the road.
It is important to choose the correct coping stones and pier capping for your needs and to use a good quality product to ensure the wall is correctly safeguarded. At Classical Creations we love to help you make an informed choice and have a great team of experts at hand to help assist you with any purchase. We have been manufacturing Pre Cast Concrete products for the Trade and Public since 1996. We pride ourselves on our ability to produce high quality, handmade Pier Caps and Coping Stones that reflect our high standards and attention to detail.
We can often manufacture Pier Caps and Coping Stones to match your exact specification using our specialist mould making techniques. Contact us today to discuss your project requirements.Contact Us
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