What to Look For in a Crack in a Brick Wall

If you’ve noticed a crack in a brick wall, you may have two choices. The crack may only be cosmetic, or it could go much deeper into the surface. Regardless of the cause, you should contact a professional masonry repair service to assess the damage and find the best solution. Here are some tips to help you decide whether to repair a crack yourself or hire a professional. Read on to learn more. Here are some things to look for in a crack in a brick wall.

Discoloration in bricks

When it comes to your home’s exterior, you might think that discoloration in cracked bricks is an aesthetic problem. But while some discoloration in cracked bricks can be an aesthetic issue, others may be indicative of a foundation problem. In this case, it’s best to call a professional masonry contractor to inspect your bricks. The discoloration in cracked brick is a warning sign that cracking is imminent. This discoloration results from moisture seeping into the brick during the brick-making process. Bricks are fired in a kiln until the moisture in the brick evaporates. Therefore, bricks fresh out of the kiln are the smallest.

Damp brick attracts moss, mildew, and mold. These organisms can eat away at the masonry and cause it to weaken over time. Damp brick often develops in dark areas of the home, such as basements, or heavily shaded areas. Luckily, there are some simple ways to treat damp bricks. Apply a bleach solution to the damp areas using a sponge. Do not use steel bristles on cracked bricks, as they may leave behind residue.

Diagonal cracks

One of the most common signs of a building’s weak foundation is the appearance of diagonal cracks in brick. Located in the corner of the external wall of a building, these cracks usually become thicker toward the top and become thinner as they move downward. They transmit stress through the diagonal ply of the wall to the foundation of the building. Diagonal cracks are also common in buildings that are built on clay soils and have shallow foundations.

If you notice diagonal cracks in your brick walls, you should seek professional help immediately. This problem can be a sign of foundation settlement. These cracks tend to run along the mortar joints, and may be caused by corroding steel. If these cracks are severe enough, a brick building may fall down. This is called a “compound crack,” and it may even cause a large portion of the wall to crumble.

Stair step cracks

Generally speaking, a stair step crack that is diagonal in shape signals that the house foundation has been affected by cracks. Cracks of this kind are often the result of slow movement of earth under a house, and are more of a concern if the crack is wider than a quarter-inch. Cracks of this kind are most common in homes built on a hillside, where the soil can move slowly, causing the cracks to show up on the walls.

Fortunately, cracks that are one-eighth of an inch are not large enough to cause significant movement, but they can be an indication of a larger structural issue. While a builder and structural engineer will tell you that the cracks are “normal” and do not cause any damage, this is not the case. Small cracks, or “hairline fractures,” can indicate a underlying problem that requires professional intervention.

Foundation settlement

The most common symptom of foundation settlement is cracked brick on the exterior of a house. While cracks in the exterior brick are certainly indicative of foundation settlement, they do not necessarily mean that the house is shifting. Cracks in the bricks may be stair-stepped, indicating that the footing has broken. Cracked brick on the exterior of a home may be caused by differential foundation settlement, which causes uneven settlement of the house’s foundation. In addition, oxidized metal supports may also cause cracks in the bricks above them.

In addition to cracks, you may notice stair-step cracks along the mortar line (the white part between the bricks) in your foundation wall. These cracks indicate that the foundation has started to settle. A long crack in the middle of a foundation wall may signal a foundation settlement or uplift. If you see a crack that’s over 1/4 inch wide or even an eighth inch wide, it’s time to call a foundation repair service. A foundation wall that has started to bow in can cause structural damage to a house and the rest of the building.