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When to Worry About Cracks in Brick? What To Look For!

crack all over a house brick wall

Brick walls are incredibly durable, and it’s easy to think they will last forever. However, cracks in the brick can be terrifying to a homeowner, and many people wonder if their house is about to come down. Fortunately, most cracks are not that serious. Here, we look at the most common brick cracks, what causes them, and when to be concerned.

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Types Of Cracks & How Concerned You Should Be

Small Exterior Cracks

Small exterior cracks about 1/16 of an inch deep are pretty common and are usually the result of exposure to extreme weather conditions. Any permanent structure is likely to experience harsh weather, so it’s not uncommon to see this type of crack on any brick surface more than a few years old.

The damage is entirely cosmetic and does not compromise the strength of the structure. However, these tiny cracks can continue to grow over time, especially in cold areas with plenty of ice, and the problem can worsen. The best thing to do is to fill or cover the cracks so they don’t get worse.

Vertical Cracks

Vertical cracks in the mortar joints can result from hot weather, causing the bricks to expand and contract. However, if you see these cracks inside your home, it could signal that you have a problem with your foundation, so it might be time to call a professional.

vertical crack on a brick wall
Image By: PublicDomainPictures, Pixabay

Long Horizontal Exterior Cracks

If you notice long exterior cracks running along the outside of your home, it can indicate that ground movement or deterioration is causing a structural problem. You see this problem more frequently in old buildings, but regardless, it requires immediate attention from a professional.

Stair Step Cracks

Stair step cracks are usually noticeable because they move up along the mortar of an exterior wall. It is often a sign that your foundation is sinking. If you notice other symptoms, like cracked or bulging drywall or doors or windows that are starting to warp, it’s time to call a professional to look over your home.

Brick Veneer Cracks

Brick veneer is more of a cosmetic surface, but cracks can still indicate a problem, and since brick veneer is much thinner than a standard brick wall, you can expect problems to worsen much faster, so it’s usually a good idea to call a professional to make repairs as soon as you notice something wrong.

Other Types of Cracks

If you notice any other cracks in your building, there is a good chance that it’s only a cosmetic issue, especially if it doesn’t look like it goes too deep into the surface. A professional experienced in masonry will be able to tell you how serious the problem is and provide tips to repair it.

How Can I Repair a Cracked Brick Wall?

Most of the problems with brick are because the brick’s mortar is breaking down, causing it to come loose. Many people mistake this deterioration for cracks, but a professional mason can usually repair this damage and make the brick as good as new if the problem is limited to one area. But if you notice other serious cracks, like long horizontal or stairstep cracks, only a professional can make repairs. The only repairs that you can DIY are the small exterior cracks to help prevent more damage from occurring. You can use cement or putty to cover cracks to prevent moisture from getting in.

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Several types of cracks can occur in a brick wall. If the damage is minor, you may be able to cover it to slow its progression. If it’s more serious, you may need to watch it carefully for signs that it is getting bigger, as it could make your home unsafe. Always consult with a professional as soon as you notice any problems.

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Featured Image Credit: Andrii_Video Production, Shutterstock


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