Mortar Repair On a Slate Home

Answered by Jeffrey ~ February 16, 2010 ~ Comments

My husband has notice a lot of crackes in the mortar and while pushing in on the sides of the house notices the wall may move. What do you suggest for repair.

Elizabeth B. ~ Midwest City, Oklahoma

Jeffrey Anderson

Hi Elizabeth, What you describe could be a fairly simple problem, or it could be evidence of a more major problem. First the simple problem, homes with slate blocks, called sculpings, are just like brick and stone veneered homes in that from time to time the mortar joints need to be touched up. The cracks you see in the mortar will happen over time, and as long as they are pointed up with new mortar, they shouldn't be a problem. If they are left uncorrected, water can work its way into the cracks and as it freezes and thaws during the winter, it can cause further problems. A good mason should be able to point up your mortar fairly quickly, and after a bit of time the new mortar should blend in with the old.

Now for the more serious problem, if you think the wall is moving, then you could have a structural issue going on which is causing the cracking. If you notice any pattern to the cracking, such as what appears to be a stair stepping pattern, or most of the cracking is in one area of the house, or you notice any cracking of the interior finishes in the same area of the home, then there may be some sort of structural failure going on. If you notice any of these items, or the wall does seem to be moving, I strongly recommend that you have a professional home inspector take a look at the problem.

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