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Can Frost Boils in Masonry Lead to Structural Issues?

Understanding Frost Boils and Their Impact on Masonry Structures

What Are Frost Boils in Masonry?

Frost boils, also known as "frost heaves" or "frost blisters," are bulges or swellings that appear in masonry walls when the materials, such as bricks or stones, separate from the structure due to the freeze-thaw cycle. This process occurs when moisture trapped within the masonry expands as it freezes and then contracts when it thaws. Over time, these cycles can lead to the formation of frost boils, compromising the integrity and aesthetics of the masonry walls.

Can Frost Boils Cause Structural Issues?

Yes, frost boils can lead to structural issues in masonry. When left untreated, frost boils can cause:

  • Cracks and gaps: As frost boils continue to develop, they can lead to the formation of cracks and gaps in the masonry, which further weakens the structure.
  • Loss of support: When the bricks or stones separate from the structure, they may no longer provide the necessary support, potentially resulting in a partial or total collapse of the masonry wall.
  • Water infiltration: Cracks and gaps created by frost boils can allow water to seep into the masonry, exacerbating the issue and causing additional damage to the structure.

How to Identify Frost Boils in Masonry Walls

To identify frost boils in your masonry walls, look for the following signs:

  • Bulges or swellings: Frost boils appear as raised areas on the surface of the masonry wall, usually with a curved or irregular shape.
  • Cracks: Keep an eye out for cracks radiating from the frost boils, as these can indicate more severe structural damage.
  • Loose or displaced bricks or stones: Frost boils can cause bricks or stones to separate from the structure, resulting in loose or displaced materials.

Preventing and Addressing Frost Boils in Masonry Walls


To prevent frost boils from forming in your masonry walls, consider the following steps:

  • Proper construction techniques: Ensure that your masonry walls are built with appropriate mortarmixes and adequate drainage systems to prevent moisture buildup.
  • Regular maintenance: Inspect your masonry walls regularly for signs of damage or wear and address any issues promptly.
  • Waterproofing: Apply a waterproofing sealant to the surface of the masonry to prevent moisture infiltration.

Addressing Frost Boils

If you've identified frost boils in your masonry walls, take the following steps to address the issue and prevent further damage:

  • Remove damaged materials: Carefully remove any loose or displaced bricks or stones, taking care not to cause further damage to the surrounding masonry.
  • Repair cracks and gaps: Fill any cracks or gaps with an appropriate mortar mix, ensuring a proper bond between the materials.
  • Rebuild the affected area: Replace any removed materials with new bricks or stones, following proper construction techniques to ensure a strong and durable structure.
  • Consult a professional: If you're uncertain about the extent of the damage or the best course of action, consult a masonry expert like Maçonnerie Montréal for professional advice and repair services.


Frost boils in masonry walls can pose a significant threat to the structural integrity of your brick and stone walls. By understanding their causes, taking preventative measures, and addressing them promptly, you can protect your masonry structures and ensure their longevity. As a leader in the field of masonry in Montreal, Maçonnerie Montréal is here to help you with all your masonry needs, from prevention to repair.