Have you ever walked around the outside of your house and noticed a change in your beautiful brick home? Do you have one or more cracked bricks? The actual cracked brick can cost you money in different ways. If it is the actual brick itself, many problems can occur.
Cracked Brick Can Be a Scary Sight!
When you find that you have a single cracked brick, it should be replaced immediately. The crack in the brick can allow water to enter your home, which could damage structural elements and interior finishes. The resulting moisture could possibly create a mold situation, which can also be costly.
Most home improvement stores sell bricks fairly inexpensively and this small task can be handled by you or a professional. But don't shrug it off! If the crack is more than just a single brick, there may be additional issues with your foundation. There may be an underlying reason for your cracked brick, especially if it's more than one.
How do I know?
Begin by taking a thorough walk-around of your brick home. Note areas where single bricks are cracked, as well as areas where multiple bricks have damage. Does the crack cross just a single brick? Or does it span several bricks and include the mortar seams? Where are the cracks located? These questions can help determine if your issues are cause for concern.
What are the signs of a foundation issue?
Do not confuse a single cracked brick with a crack in the actual brickwork of your home. As shown above, a crack in the brickwork will usually follow a line from the top to the bottom row of bricks (but can also be horizontal cracks as well, or even stair-step shaped). The crack occurs in or crosses both bricks and mortar joints. This is a definite cause for concern.
If you see actual cracks in the mortar of your brick home, this is a problem that needs immediate attention. When your foundation becomes damaged, it creates faults in the brickwork that is utilizing the foundation for its base. Just like in Geology, when we learned about tectonic plates and fault lines, it is the pressure and damage below the surface that is causing the issues above the surface. What is going on below the surface or deep within the structure should never be ignored.
Cracks that result from foundation issues will grow larger over time, eventually allowing the structure of the home to be in jeopardy. Walls can eventually cave in, and what was once a simple foundation fix can now become a very costly home repair.
If you have determined that the issue was isolated and replaced the damaged brick, be sure to log the instance of the cracked brick, and where it was located within your brickwork. Pay attention to future cracks that occur around the same area, or continuing off of the original problem brick. This can also be a sign that the single cracked brick was a larger issue.
Consult a professional
Once you've inspected your brickwork and determined there may be an issue, your foundation structure should be investigated by a professional as soon as possible. If you are unsure of the severity of your issue, consulting a professional is always recommended.
Upon inspection, we will determine if there is cause for concern, and calm your worries if it's merely the result of natural settling. If we determine there is an issue, rest assured that we will make sure that the process of fixing your foundation is not a scary experience at all.
**This blog has been updated since its original post.