Technical Note #11 Safeguarding Bricks from Sea Spray Attack

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When choosing face brick, make sure that the material is strong, hard-wearing and weather-resistant, so as to withstand the local exposure conditions.

Certain face bricks may not be suited to external conditions in Zones 3 and 4. Failure to comply with the recommendations of the manufacturer and/or building professional, particularly in these sea spray areas, could result in surface weathering and spalling (disintegration) of the brickwork in the long term, as can be seen in the attached case studies.

Optimising Exposed Brickwork

The recommended Exposure Zone to which each product is suited should be indicated by the manufacturer, as well as the building professional or contractor specifying the product. Best practice and the implementation of the following measures prior to construction can further enhance the performance of exposed brickwork:

  • Understanding and consideration of the seasonalmacro and micro climatic conditions impacting on the site
  • Orientation of the building structure to take best advantage of the sun’s energy through the seasons
  • Design and detailing of the building envelope with adequate eaves, overhangs, guttering and flashings to limit the potential negative effects of the weather elements on exposed surfaces
  • Emphasis placed on quality of materials, mortar mixes, joint profiling and pointing, sealants and placement of damp-proofing
  • Assurance from the supplier that the bricks are fit for purpose for the climatic zone.

We also review remedial practices to restore brickwork.

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