Owning a home isn’t always easy. Every homeowner has a horror story when it comes to disrepair or flooding. Sometimes, the problems can feel pretty overwhelming. Therefore, of course it’s natural to immediately panic at the first sight of a tear, crack, drip or break. At Flawless Masonry, we’re in the business of helping Long Island homeowners upgrade their homes. However, sometimes it’s more important to deal with disrepair first.
Several homeowners have one very similar concern: their bricks are beginning to crack or crumble. Of course, this would stress any homeowner out. Many jump to the conclusion that this is a severe problem that cannot wait another second to be fixed. However, this isn’t necessarily a critical emergency. In this post, we’ll explore what cracking bricks could mean and how to handle them.
Brick Cracking 101
There are a few different kinds of brick cracking. There’s vertical cracking, horizontal, diagonal or crumbling. Obviously, none of them are ideal. Nobody wants to see cracking or crumbling of any kind in their house.
However, the most important thing to do is to identify the cause of the cracking. This way, you can swiftly fix the issue. In addition, you can do what is necessary to prevent any future breaking/cracking.
What Causes It?
Several factors can lead to brick cracking. Some of them are natural and relatively benign. However, some of them can be a sign of a very serious foundation problem. Don’t immediately assume it’s a grave problem!
Usually, brick cracking is a byproduct of your house just naturally settling. Over time, every house settles into the earth. This is especially true if your plot was excavated before your house was constructed. As your home’s weight continues to make the earth more compact, this often leads to cracking. Your house may be settling unevenly, or it may not even be a foundational issue.
If settling isn’t the reason for your cracking bricks, then it might be water. Bricks are a naturally porous and absorbent material. Therefore, they often retain water from rain or leaking pipes. Very often, exposure to the sun will evaporate the water and dry the bricks. However, if there’s too much water within, they can expand. Usually, this is what will cause the cracking.
Problematic Brick Cracking
Unfortunately, not all brick cracking is benign. While they all can be ugly and irritating, others are indicative of a really serious problem. Sadly, it’s almost impossible to tell the difference between severe issues or otherwise without a professional mason. However, the following are all symptomatic of severe foundation issues:
- Doors and windows not closing properly
- Sudden, dramatic changes in brick crack shape/size
- Cracks near foundation/roof
- Leaning chimney
If your brick cracking is not a severe foundation issue, then luckily repairs can be done by a reliable mason pretty quickly. However, if the problem is extensive, you’ll need to enlist the help of a foundation repair company. Step one is to determine the cause of the cracking. Next, your mason will develop a plan to mitigate the damage. The most important thing to do is to call on a professional for help, and then go from there.
Cracking or crumbling isn’t always a sign of impending doom. As long as you address it right away and don’t procrastinate, you can avoid costly issues.