If you have a home or foundation that’s largely or entirely brick, you may have noticed cracks forming in those bricks. They may be very drastic or very small, across entire walls or in isolated corners, but brick cracks can be alarming no matter their seriousness.
These cracked bricks can be a genuine problem. However, that problem’s not often easy for people to understand, especially if you don’t have a professional’s view of home repair.
If you’re noticing cracks in brick wall structures in your home, it’s likely there’s something deeper happening with your foundation. Keep reading to learn more about how you can make sure your cracking bricks don’t become a much more significant problem.
Exterior Cracked Bricks in Virginia, Maryland, DC
Identifying & repairing foundation issues related to cracks in brick – What does a crack in brick walls mean for your home?
Signs of Cracked Bricks
Cracked Bricks FAQ
Most people understand that cracks in brick structures bode poorly for the home where they show. However, most people don’t really know the problems that can arise.
Cracked bricks in your foundation or wall can seem relatively inconsequential when you first spot them. In many cases, you can overlook these sorts of bricks entirely. In others, you may want to wait until you’re in a better financial spot to deal with the problems that they may be heralding. However, cracked bricks are always indicative of a larger problem in your home—one you’re going to need to invest in fixing as soon as possible.
Consider, after all, what a cracked brick can indicate. If the bricks around your home are starting to show signs of wear and tear, you’re likely dealing with some manner of problem with your foundation. Hydrostatic pressure can cause some significant damage to your home, generating cracks, leaks, sinkage, and unwanted settlement within your foundation.
Getting Ahead of Your Problems
Note that the damage that’s already been done to your home by the time you spot a cracked brick is likely only going to get worse the longer you let it go. It can be tempting, of course, to hope that these sorts of problems will resolve themselves in time. Unfortunately, bricks do not fuse back together, and your foundation problems are not going to disappear, even if you see less water in your home after the rain stops. It will be simpler for you in the long run to fix a small problem—one indicated by the cracked bricks in your foundation or wall—than it will be for you to contend with the more substantial damage that may come in the future.
Of course, if it’s your budget that you’re concerned about, know that you don’t have to go about the process of fixing your foundation, walls, and floors alone. A professional contractor in your area can walk you through what repair options you have available to you, including foundation piering. Together, you can not only contend with the problems you are currently dealing with, but you can also move to protect your home against the kinds of problems that might come your way in the future.
Home repairs are definitely expensive. To avoid those expenses, some individuals try to do the home repairs by themselves instead of hiring a professional. While this may be helpful for very small cosmetic issues, brick cracks aren’t one of them. These are just a few of the reasons you may not be able to fix cracking bricks on your own.
As you look into home repair, you’ll soon find many legal requirements you’ll have to meet if you’re going to do any sort of serious changes to your home. These legal requirements make sure that the home you live in is stable and won’t just fall down.
However, this can raise problems for people who want to make those drastic changes without a professional. How do you know what changes you can make without a permit and when to apply for a permit?
That’s why it’s so vitally important to rely on professionals from JES for cracks in the brick. Professionals know exactly what to do and what not to do and have a thorough understanding of the legal requirements they’ll need to meet for those things.
Deeper Than the Surface
Cracks in brick stretch much deeper than the surface. If you try to fix these issues on your own, it’s likely that you’ll just plaster over the cracks and call it a day. The problem is, that doesn’t actually fix anything.
Remember, a crack in a brick house points to a very serious problem. These cracks show that your foundation has an issue. Whether that issue is sinking, rising, or something else may change depending on the home, but the cracks almost always point to foundational problems.
When you call a JES professional, you’ll get the full story. With years of experience and knowledge surrounding brick foundations and homes, a professional will be able to determine exactly what you need and help you achieve it.
Expenses Can Pile Up
DIY fixes exist to help you save money. This can definitely be a money-saver in some situations; for example, copycat recipes can taste like just the real thing. However, what about when you’re dealing with the foundation of your home?
That’s when the lines start to blur a little. You may not even save money in trying to fix cracks in brick on your own. If you end up renting specialized equipment and buying special products, that expense can quickly become much more than you’d pay a professional.
Additionally, a JES professional will make sure the job is done right the first time. If you try to DIY a fix and mess it up, even more, those professional expenses may end up being even more than they would have been. Trust the professionals from the start.
Dealing with cracked bricks can put a dent in your home renovation schedule. Whether you’re new to the area or well familiar with its quirks, these cracks can make it seem as though your home is in worse condition than it is.
That said, bricks do not crack at random. Cracked bricks are often a sign that something has gone wrong in your home. While at first, the problem may appear to be solely cosmetic, a cracked brick can indicate that unwanted hydrostatic pressure or moisture has made its way into your home.
Cracked Bricks and Your Foundation
To be more specific, cracked bricks are often a sign that your foundation has seen some significant pressure-related damage. When your foundation begins to suffer from unseen cracks or leaks, it can settle or sink at a much more rapid rate than it would have had it remained in one piece. Similarly, that kind of damage can let unwanted moisture into your home, which can facilitate the growth of mold and the overall destruction of your belongings.
With that in mind, you might be tempted to pull bricks from the wall or otherwise try to take on the problem of a cracked brick on your own. Unfortunately, this isn’t the best idea. Instead, if you want to address the problem of cracked bricks head-on, you’ll need to reach out to someone who has experience dealing with such issues. A professional contractor in your area can inspect your home with you and let you know what kind of foundational damage your cracked bricks may indicate. While tackling the cost of professional repairs may be less than fun, relying on a trained party to repair your home can prevent you from trying to take on a failed DIY project and can give you back the comforts of a safe house all the faster.
Your bricks can crack in several different ways. Some of the most common cracks you may find yourself contending with include:
- Vertical cracks. Vertical cracks tend to form when the soil around your home begins to shrink in size. Should you find yourself contending with a drought, the soil particles around and beneath your foundation will start to grow smaller. In doing so, these particles will leave gaps where they used to be. Without other materials present to fill those gaps, your foundation may start to sink at a faster rate than it would have had your home seen more rain. Note that you can combat this kind of damage by investing in a home irrigation system.
- Horizontal cracks. Horizontal cracks tend to form as a result of hydrostatic pressure outside of your home. Should the bricks in your walls or foundation start to crack horizontally, you’ll want to reach out to a professional to try and act before your walls or floor start to bow.
- Diagonal cracks. Diagonal cracks form for many of the same reasons horizontal cracks form. However, diagonal cracks are often wider on one side than they are on the other. The side of the crack that is the widest is the side that has been exposed to the greatest damage. As such, you can follow a diagonally cracked brick toward what might be the source of unwanted moisture in your home.
- Stair-step cracks. Brick foundations and walls can often develop damage along their caulking. These types of cracks, referred to as stair-step cracks, can allow water to seep into your home, as they are most often caused by hydrostatic pressure. While you may be tempted to try and fix a stair-step crack with additional caulk, it is in your best interest to instead reach out to a professional to determine what kind of damage you might be contending with elsewhere in your home, based on the way the cracks in question travel.
Symptoms of Cracked Bricks to Watch Out For
If you’re not sure what kind of damage you’re working with, or if it appears you have multiple cracks across multiple bricks, you can reach out to the contractors in your area for additional guidance. At the end of the day, be certain to note what kind of cracks you’re contending with as well as any other signs of water damage in your home and to then share those notes with the appropriate parties.
For reference, common symptoms of water damage throughout your foundation, basement, or crawl space include:
- Mold growth in unexpected locations
- Higher levels of humidity throughout your home
- Difficulty controlling the temperature in your home
- Sticking doors and window frames
- Foggy glass
Not all brick cracking on house structures will be the same. A cracked brick wall can look very different depending not only on the home but also on what’s happening underneath to crack the bricks. Understanding these differences can be vital when it comes to understanding your next steps.
Overall, there are three different types of brick cracking you’ll discover in a brick home or foundation. Here’s what the different cracks in brick walls might mean for your home.
Horizontal Brick Cracks
If you’re starting to see bricks crack along a horizontal line, these cracks indicate foundation failure. A horizontal crack in bricks along any wall essentially indicates that the soil is pushing up against the foundation, forcing the walls in.
Why does this matter? Well, when the foundation is pushing inward, it’ll start creating a bowed wall. Leave that bow for too long and it’ll collapse. Plus, if the wall in question is a foundational wall, that collapse can lead to the collapse of the entire home.
Vertical Brick Cracks
If you’re seeing vertical cracks in brickwork, that probably means you’re having different types of foundation issues. Basically, this is a sign of uneven house settling — one side of the wall is holding more strain than the other side, so it cracks down the middle.
Vertical cracks in brick walls will usually come alongside other signs of uneven settling. That can include cracked drywall and sagging floors. Even if you haven’t noticed those problems yet, if you see a vertical crack in brick wall structures in or outside your home, it means the other problems may simply be hiding.
Stair-Stepping Brick Cracks
These cracks follow up the mortar like a set of stairs. Like vertical cracks in brick walls, these typically showcase uneven settling. The problem is essentially the same: one side of the wall has more strain than the other, but due to a combination of factors, it’s simply easier for the home to crack along a stair-stepping pattern.
If you’re seeing stair-stepping cracks in a brick house, it means you’re going to need to fix the unstable soil under your home’s foundation. You may also see drywall cracks, nail pops, and sagging floors, similar to vertical cracks in brickwork.
Cracked Bricks: Your Next Steps
If you’re starting to see cracked bricks, you’re probably dealing with some form of foundational issues. So how do you make sure those foundational issues don’t lead to a broken house?
At the end of the day, you need to put your trust in the experts. When you schedule a free inspection from JES, you’ll learn more about your home’s current situation. Plus, JES won’t leave you hanging; if it is just a cosmetic problem, JES will let you know.
Cracked Bricks Solutions
Each product offers a long-term solution to your home’s foundation problems. We’ll work with you to create a customized, economical foundation repair solution to your home’s cracked brick and foundation issues.
OUR EXPERTS ARE HERE TO HELPREQUEST YOUR FREE INSPECTION
Free Homeowner's Guide to Foundation Repair
Have you ever wondered about your bowed basement walls and what causes them? Or if that drywall crack is a sign that you have a bigger problem? Subscribe to our email list to receive the Homeowner’s Guide to Foundation Repair, your resource for learning about foundation problems, causes and solutions.