The discovery of a masonry crack on your building or home can be unsettling. Often homeowners begin questioning whether it’s a sign of a bigger problem, such as foundation issues.

Even if not associated with a larger problem, cracks are unsightly. So, why does masonry crack in the first place?

Environment

Temperature fluctuation inevitably affects masonry. Though brick, stone, and mortar are solid construction materials, environmental elements still take a toll over time.

Often, the most common cause of cracks due to weather is water infiltration. Water gets into small spaces of the brick and mortar and then expands as it freezes. This can lead to cracking over time.

Environmental elements can also lead to spalling. Spalling is the crumbling and flaking of the actual masonry unit. Since deteriorating brick can compromise the integrity of the entire masonry structure, it’s essential that spalling be repaired.

Settlement

Settlement is a common cause of cracks, as buildings may shift or move over time. This slight movement can lead to stair-step, horizontal cracks. These cracks are generally seen on corners of the building.

Cracks around windows or garage door frames can be due to settlement, but also due to an undersized lintel around the openings.

Once repairs are made, you should be sure to monitor for any future cracks. This is a sign the building is continuing to shift and settle.

Bowed Wall Cracks

These cracks emanate from around a bulge or bowed area of a masonry wall. Bowed wall cracks indicate the structural integrity of the masonry wall is compromised, which means the wall could come down.

Because of the severity of the situation, it’s imperative to call a professional mason to complete the repair as soon as possible.

As frustrating as cracks in your masonry can be, they should not necessarily be alarming. Once a cause is identified, you can develop a plan for making the repair.

For assistance with cracks in your masonry, please give us a call. We would be happy to answer your questions.

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