Attic masonry repair

There is a laundry list of masonry repair items on the 2nd floor waiting for me. Not just the masonry pockets from the ceiling joists, but re-pointing and brick replacement too.

As with the basement and 1st floor, we will install a layer of polyurethane spray foam (SPF) across the interior masonry walls. The SPF will help with the insulation and air sealing of the building envelope. Before we install the spray foam, I need to get those masonry repair items done. Once the SPF is installed, I won’t have access to the brick any longer.

Damage to the masonry wall is almost always moisture related. A quick inventory showed that most of the damage was confined to the attic area. This included efflorescence and crumbling mortar joints.


This damage had been caused by water infiltrating into the masonry wall through the parapet, until we fixed it back in the fall of 2009.

I ground out the damaged mortar joints for re-pointing and removed all bricks that showed some level of spauling. Most of those bricks were along the north wall – the front of the building.

attic-07 attic-08

I suspect that I still have some water infiltration into the masonry along the north wall, right behind the cornice, where I can’t see it.


Fixing that problem will be a very interesting task, and probably requires me to take off the cornice and reinstall it.

For now, I had our mason come in to repoint the mortar joints and install the replacement .


That took care of the masonry work. Well – almost…

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About Marcus de la fleur

Marcus is a Registered Landscape Architect with a horticultural degree from the School of Horticulture at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and a Masters in Landscape Architecture from the University of Sheffield, UK. He developed a landscape based sustainable pilot project at 168 Elm Ave. in 2002, and has expanded his skill set to building science. Starting in 2009, Marcus applied the newly acquired expertise to the deep energy retrofit of his 100+ year old home in Chicago.

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