What are my options for fixing flaking brick on the front of my house? The place was built in 1980, and the bricks were failing noticeably by the late 80’s. I’ve had repair work done over the years, but the situation is getting crazy now. Is stucco an option?
Brick can last hundreds of years or less than ten depending on the quality of the brick and how well it was installed. And in all cases of deterioration, the source of the problem in northern climes is water absorption. When water soaks into brick and freezes, it expands and causes flaking. If your brick had been regularly treated with breathable water repellent from day-one, it would be fine today.
Your idea of stucco may be the best bet. It would hide the current deterioration, stop the flaking process (if applied correctly), and not add significant thickness to the outside wall surface. This means that your doors and windows would not have to be moved outwards as they would with some types of siding.
The trick in all this is finding the right kind of stucco product and the right person to put it on. You’ll need to track down professionals who claim to have the know-how, and then verify that they actually do by asking for at least three references from each one, then checking them out. Success depends on finding an appropriate stucco product that’s designed for this application, stabilizing the current brick surface, then applying the stucco in a way that will last.