How to Fix Cracked Bricks More Easily
There are many reasons you may experience cracked bricks in and around your home. Upon seeing these cracked bricks, you may worry about your home’s structural stability and general health. Although they can be an issue, you don’t have to worry that this problem will overshadow your home entirely. If you know how to manage cracked bricks, you won’t have as much of a problem with them. Here’s how you can maintain your home and avoid cracked bricks.
How to Uncover Cracked Bricks
The first step to handling cracked bricks is knowing whether you have cracked bricks in the first place. Here’s what you need to know about uncovering your cracked brick problems.
- Know the Warning Signs
The first step is to know the warning signs of cracked bricks. Cracked bricks don’t occur for no reason; when you have cracked bricks, you’ll be able to tell because of the secondary problems that go along with those cracked bricks. These are just a few of the signs and symptoms that may point to the fact that you have cracked bricks:
- Uneven floors
- Sinking foundations
- Cracks in other areas of the home
There are other warning signs as well, but these are some of the most prominent ones. If you notice any of these concerns, you must contact an expert to give you more information about what might be going on and how you’ll be able to fix it.
- Get an Expert Inspection Every Year
Every year, it’s important to get an expert inspection of your home. Some homeowners don’t manage their homes with an expert inspection every year; they may just assume that because they regularly get the “all clear” from their inspector, they don’t need that expert inspection, or that the inspection is a waste of money every year.
This couldn’t be further from the truth. The expert inspection should be an incredibly important part of your home’s health. That’s because it clues you in to all sorts of potential problems with your home, including small problems that you wouldn’t notice until it’s too late. The expert inspection essentially ensures that you don’t have to worry about your foundation or home becoming seriously impacted.
- Inspect the Home on Your Own
It’s also important that you inspect your home on your own. Sure, an expert inspection is extremely beneficial for a lot of homeowners, and it’s a useful thing to do when you’re trying to make sure your home doesn’t have serious foundation problems. However, it’s just as important that you inspect the home on your own every few months.
When you inspect your home on your own, you’ll end up catching all the little problems an inspector won’t notice because the inspector doesn’t live in the home every day. You can tell when things are changing, not just when things are impacted. This can be extremely crucial information for an inspector to know for best results.
Can Cracked Bricks Turn Into a Genuine Problem?
These cracked bricks can have an impact on your family and the general health of your home. Here’s what you need to know about cracked bricks and their impact on the home.
Cracks in a brick wall will have a very immediate impact on it. The cracks will always spread out across the wall, significantly impacting your home’s foundation. They may even move into other areas of the home as well.
It’s important to note that the cracks may also have a serious impact when it comes to pests and insects. Walls should never allow insects and pests inside. However, when a brick wall starts to have issues with cracking, that’s exactly what the wall will start to do. You never want the wall to let in the things you’re trying to keep outside, and it’s one reason to manage cracked bricks early.
- In the Home as a Whole
The home will also undoubtedly have some issues when you see cracked bricks in even just a single wall. If the rest of your home has brick walls, you’re going to need to inspect all of the brick walls. That way, you’ll be able to make sure that your home’s brick walls are safe and there’s a very specific problem that’s occurring exclusively in that area.
However, if the problem isn’t exclusively in a single area, it’s up to you to find the underlying problem and tackle it. This could be a foundation problem, where one side of the home is sinking more than the other. It could be a construction problem, where the brick wall had poor construction to begin with. It could also be a problem with some other element of the home that you’ll have to consider.
- Across the Property
If the problem goes deeper than just a single wall, you could end up having repercussions that spread across the entire property. For example, say these cracked bricks are occurring because of foundation settlement. The next question should be, “Why is my foundation settling?” Chances are, it’s because of an underlying property concern.
Property concerns can be extremely frustrating to deal with. It’s common for properties to have concerns that reach far beyond just what you can see. These property concerns can then turn into severe problems that can be seemingly impossible to manage. When you catch the property concerns early, however, you’re less likely to see these problems as ongoing.
FAQs About Cracked Bricks
For the most part, cracked bricks do indicate an underlying problem with your home’s foundation. Despite this, there are still some situations where your cracked bricks might not indicate an overarching concern. Here’s what you should know about the situation.
- Non-Indicative of a Foundation Problem
In general, the only time you may see cracked bricks that don’t have anything to do with a foundation problem is if they’re in a very specific area of the home and they happened because of an impact. An impact can cause cracks in the foundation that don’t necessarily indicate an underlying foundation concern. In this case, repairing the cracks themselves may be enough.
Depending on the size, depth, and type of cracks that you are dealing with, repair may take many forms. If sections of your home have sunk, for example, it may be best to lift them back into place before filling or covering the cracks. A professional will be able to advise you on this matter and make sure that you get a fitting solution that restores your home to its proper state.
- Indicative of a Foundation Problem
If you see cracked bricks for no reason, it’s almost always because of a foundation concern. You should generally assume that brick cracks are a foundation concern. This foundation concern needs to be something that you manage early on because if you don’t, you’ll find it usually turns into something much worse. Foundation problems have a way of getting worse very quickly.
Other signs of foundation damage include persistent dampness, water pooling in your basement, mold formation, uneven floors, and gaps between your walls, floors, and ceiling. These last signs of structural damage are very serious and indicate that the problem is advanced. As such, you should get in touch with a foundation repair specialist as soon as possible.
There are several reasons that you can have cracked bricks in your home. For the most part, because it’s typically a foundational problem, these are just different versions of the same concerns. Here are just a few of the reasons you might see cracked bricks.
- Foundation Settling to One Side
Foundation settlement typically occurs in areas where the soil is heavily clay-based and expansive. When one side of the foundation has started to settle more quickly than the other, you’re going to have foundation problems of all types. One of the problems that you’re likely to see with the foundation settling in this manner is wall cracks as the weight shifts to one side of the foundation.
This uneven sinking process puts undue strain on specific parts of the structure and it is in these places that cracks are most likely to form. As your house sinks even further, you will notice that these cracks widen and spread. As it becomes advanced, this issue can even cause sections of your home to break away from the structure as a whole.
- Not Enough Strength in the Foundation
If the foundation just doesn’t have enough strength to support itself, it might start to crack under the weight of the home as a whole. The foundation can also crack due to hydrostatic pressure if it’s underneath the ground. Street creep and frost heave can also damage a weak foundation more significantly than an otherwise strong foundation.
A weak foundation can be caused by many things. First and foremost, poor design or substandard materials will leave your foundation weak and vulnerable to pressure of any kind. Second, if the soil under or around your home is unstable or weak, it won’t matter how strong your foundation is; it will begin to settle, subside, or crack as it struggles to find firm footing.
- Foundation Settling Faster Than Other Concrete
When your foundation starts to settle faster than any concrete it’s not connected to, you can see problems in both the foundation and the rest of the concrete. The concrete can start to settle and crack as it moves out of sync from the foundation, but the foundation can also start to crack as the concrete presses up against it.
To a certain extent, settling is a normal process for a house; all houses settle after construction and this process can cause cracks. Settlement, however, is an entirely different and ongoing process that is damaging to your home in a variety of ways. This is most often caused by problems under your home, for example, expansive soil.
There are many different types of cracked bricks you may see in your home. Typically, these cracks move in different directions. Knowing a bit more about the different cracks that you might notice will be beneficial in helping you to fix them.
- Stair-Step Cracks
The most common type of crack you’ll often see in a brick wall is a stair-step crack. This type of crack goes up, then over, looking like a stair step, which gives it its name. It also makes it incredibly distinctive and easy to spot. This crack occurs because it’s the path of least resistance in most brick walls. It also occurs when the wall places most of its weight on one side, leading to the other side having little to no support.
Stair-step cracks form in the mortar between bricks because this is the weakest point in most structures. Mortar is also fairly brittle and porous, so once a crack forms and water gets into it, it can spread very easily. It may also start to crumble away, especially during periods of intense, dry heat or during the spring thaw after a hard winter.
- Horizontal Cracks
If you see a horizontal crack in the brick, chances are that the wall itself is starting to bend as a result of excessive lateral pressure. This may be a sign of bowing walls, as you might see in the basement, or it could be that the top is moving either inward or outward, often due to soil shifting. The horizontal cracks tend to be due to the inflexibility of brick and a huge amount of hydrostatic pressure.
If you find water pooling in the corners of your basement, or the walls which are bowing are wet, then there is a very good chance that expansive soil is the cause of your horizontal cracks. Soil problems are almost always at the root of foundational and structural problems. Thankfully there are plenty of professional solutions available to help you ensure your home stays what it always was.
- Diagonal Cracks
Diagonal cracks don’t occur very regularly in brick; it’s much more common to see them in drywall and poured concrete walls. However, when they do occur, it’s typically due to a problem with the weight of your home shifting. Essentially, it’s often the same problem as stair-step cracks, just in a different location and presented differently because of the materials at play.
Diagonal cracks can form as a result of hydrostatic pressure and bowing walls, but they are far more likely to form because of the same forces and pressures that cause stair-step cracks to form. It can be tempting to simply fill these cracks in, but it is far better for you to call a professional to make sure that the underlying causes are dealt with instead.
It can be tempting to think about just grouting directly over certain cracked bricks to get rid of the crack. However, grouting over the cracked bricks isn’t the type of fix that you’re looking for. It’s more of a surface-level fix that won’t do much.
- An Aesthetic Fix
Grouting over the cracked bricks is, for the most part, a purely aesthetic fix that won’t address the underlying problem which caused the cracks in the first place. Instead of fixing the crack itself, it just makes the crack look better for a short time. You’re not tackling the root of the problem, which means the crack will open up again in the future, probably worse than it is right now, or it could even cause more problems like wall and floor collapses.
Of course, these aesthetic fixes will no doubt be a part of the overall solution once you have had an expert assess and address the underlying problems which caused the cracks. By combining the aesthetic fixes with proper solutions, a professional will make sure that your house is strong, stable, and aesthetically pleasing–just the way it was before the damage occurred.
- A Permanent Fix
You must consider the long-term benefits of contacting an expert that can help you manage your cracked bricks instead. Grouting over cracked bricks is just a temporary fix, which means it’s not something that you’ll be able to maintain for a long time. A Groundworks expert can help you with a much more permanent solution.
Our team has been trained to the highest possible standard to give every client the best possible results as well as service with a smile. Whether the root cause of your cracks is street creep or foundation settlement, we will help you to find a tailored solution that works for you.
It’s Even Easier to Fix Cracked Bricks with the Help of an Expert
Cracked bricks don’t have to be a problem you just worry about and never actually fix. You can fix your cracked bricks for good. You just have to know how to do it. When you have the help of an expert, you’ll be able to do that fix for good.
An expert will be able to help you understand what’s going on in your home and maintain your basement or crawl space, foundation, and general home well-being. Talk to a local expert today so you can learn more about your home’s problems and how to fix them.