The effects of frost on brick facades

The effects of frost on brick facades

Winter in Quebec is often very rough, and frost is a common occurrence in Canadian regions. Houses survive as best they can, but sometimes traces of frost have a tendency to stick around.

This is particularly the case on brick facades, popular for their rustic appearance, but which are not, however, protected from many minor problems related to the cold.

This article will help you learn about the effects of frost and thaw periods on brick facades.

The erosion of material: unsightly and fragile

Stuck to the layers of frost, the surfaces of brick walls are often weakened, and it is not uncommon to deal with cases of crumbling.

Different types of erosion with varying symptoms are often noted.

The first type is flaking, or peeling: strips of bricks disintegrate from the whole. It is also possible to encounter alveolation, represented by hollows on the surface of the material, or disintegration, where, when one touches the brick, a thin layer is detached.

According to the level at which the brick is deteriorating, the technique used for renovation is adapted: repairing mortar for the lightest cases and complete replacement for the most damaged bricks!

Cracks and bursts: the consequences of a change in water volume

Cracks, whether active or passive, must be repaired as quickly as possible. They are a recurring problem in Canadian winters.

The bursting of bricks is created by the infiltration of water, which by freezing and thawing regularly changes volume. This causes strong pressure on the brick, and the brick eventually cracks. In order to diagnose and repair the cracks present on your facades, we advise you to call a professional.

An expert alone can tell you the level of severity of the cracks and advise you on the most appropriate repair technique: putty, polyurethane, epoxy, these are words that you may be unaware of but that will inspire building experts!

Joints: the sensitive point of your facade

The joints are the most fragile part of the wall and most vulnerable to the weather. It is therefore normal that after a period of freezing, they should be given special care.

The winter frost will lodge in the hollows of your facade, which causes the joint to lose its tightness and its initial adhesion. Dismantling and replacing damaged seals is no small task, and again, it is better to hire a specialized and licensed company to save time and ensure a good result.

Removal is carried out by chisel and hammer, and the laying takes place after moistening and using a repair mortar and a joint iron. This operation is messy and time consuming, but fortunately, should not be carried out too frequently.

Rising capillaries

Don’t confuse them with hair: rising capillaries are nothing but water infiltrations going from the base to the top of your walls!

Frost and snow build up at the bottom of the walls to form large accumulations. When the spring arrives and the latter return to their liquid state, the level of humidity is such that it is not uncommon for the water to seep into the foundations as well as into the facades of the houses concerned.

To solve this problem, several loopholes are possible: this includes things like the installation of a sealing strip in the lower part of the wall to electrosmotic drying. If all these terms seem foreign to you, have no fear: they are not doable alone anyway and you will need the help of a professional!


Frost and thaw periods are an ordeal for brick facades, and the consequences can be dangerous for their solidity. That’s why a spring check is worth it to ensure the good resistance of one’s home. If not, watch out for bad surprises!

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