Brick and Mortar

1615frontbefore

In the words of The Commodores, “She’s a brick… house!”

Well it feels like we’ve been doing brick work for ages now, but thankfully we have made major progress! And just in time too. Now that the weather is cooler, it feels so good to have our new windows installed in the front. In the last house post, I shared how we removed the old windows. After taking out the windows, we built a new support wall, and installed the proper vapor barrier and flashing. For the front of the house, we decided to combine the two center windows into one big picture window. To do that, we had to take out the center of the two middle windows and put in a new supporting lentil. Once the new lentil was in, we could put cut the openings in the plywood and install the new window!

The picture window measures 52 x 72 inches, and was pretty heavy. Thankfully we have amazing friends and neighbors who helped us put it in while I stood by and took pictures. After it was in place, I stepped in and did my job.

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1638newlentilin
^ Putting in the new lentil

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1662cuttingopenings
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1686bigwindowgoin
1696srewwindow

Repairing the mortar.

Something that has always bothered me since the first day we found our house was an area on the front beneath the windows. Back in the day before we owned it, there was a fruit tree that grew right in front of the house. Over time, the root growth damaged the foundation and ultimately the face of the house. When the repair was done, the mortar did not match at all, and it really bothered me. Brandon knew this bugged me, so while we were replacing the windows, we decided to repair the mortar and re-point/replace the damaged area. First, Brandon used a mortar grinder to grind out the existing mortar. Then we carefully removed each associated brick. While Brandon was removing the mortar, I used a hammer and chisel to remove the mortar stuck to the brick.

Brandon measured the amount of dye we needed for the mortar, mixed it with water, and added it to the wheelbarrow of mortar. (1ml of dye for every 10-pounds of dry mortar was our sweet spot). We ended up using three 60-pound bags of mortar. While Brandon laid the new bricks, I used a pointing trowel tool to push mortar between the bricks we were re-pointing. Once the mortar cured after a couple weeks, Brandon sprayed them with a muriatic acid and water solution. The acid is meant to weather them to match the texture of the original mortar.

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2616removingmortor 2618removingmortar
2621mixing 2623rebuilding 2628filling
2757trim
^Brandon made the window trim using PVC trim and brick mold.

outsidebeforeafter-copy

We are both so pleased with the way it turned out! The view from the picture window is now completely unobstructed. We also purchased new bluestone windowsills from Heldeberg Bluestone. In the next house update, I’ll share the updates on the inside of the front porch. I can’t wait to show you. Any guesses what we did??

Have a great weekend!

There are 5 comments for this article
  1. Dotti Beacham at 10:58 pm

    Hi Maggie and Brandon,
    I read all your posts since August tonight! I’m studying (or I have been) studying to prepare for my cardiac boards. The goal here is for me to get a job as an Echocardiology technologist once the boards are passed. I take them in mid-November.
    At any rate, it’s absolutely awesome what you both have done with your home! I can’t wait to see you both (and the house) in person in the hopefully not-too-distant future!
    Love, Dotti (and Alexa, who is at College doing great!)