5 Causes For Cracks In Your Brickwork

Posted on: 1 September 2021

Cracks in brickwork are more than an eyesore. They also allow moisture to permeate into the bricks, which can cause further damages. Diagnosing the cause is necessary in order to plan for proper repair. 

1. Thermal Movement

Thermal movement occurs due to fluctuations in temperature. Masonry expands in freezing weather, and contracts as it warms. This can lead to cracks forming, particularly in the mortar that holds the bricks together. A brick work service can remove damaged mortar and replace it with new ones. They may also install expansion joints, which allow for some thermal movement while preventing cracking.

2. Settling

Settling can affect walls, pathways, and any other type of brick work. Part of the bricked area will settle more so than the rest,causing cracks to form in the mortar or even in the bricks themselves. Constructing upon a strong and level base is the best prevention. If cracks have occurred already, then the damaged areas may need to be removed and rebuilt. In some cases, the base may also require repair.

3. Shrinkage

Shrinkage is primarily a problem in mortar. Shrinkage cracks can occur as soon as the mortar finishes curing, typically as a result of a poor mortar mix. It can also occur over time as the mortar begins to age. Tuckpointing, which is the removal of old mortar and installing new mortar, is a simple fix for the problem. You can have just the areas that are cracked repaired or you can have the mortar in the entire bricked area replaced, depending on your preferences and the state of the remaining mortar.

4. Weight Overload

Like any wall, brick masonry walls are engineered to support a certain amount of weight. Too much weight pressure, whether it's from above or from behind (as is the case of brick retaining walls), will eventually lead to cracks in the mortar and sometimes in the bricks. Weight must be reduced or the wall must be reinforced to prevent further cracking. Then damaged bricks and mortar will require replacement. 

5. Material Failure

In some cases, the cracks are a result of material failure. Problems in manufacturing can lead to crack-prone bricks, for example. The only solution is to replace the sub-par materials. Some failures occur when materials are mixed. Brick mortar may shrink away from tile or stone insets in a masonry wall so that cracks or gaps form, thus necessitating caulking to seal the opening. 

Contact a brick work service if you have masonry cracks that require repair.