Brick Wall Cracks: Investigating Common Causes

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WHY DO BRICK WALLS CRACK?

Brick walls are admired for their aesthetic appeal and durability, often serving as a sturdy façade for buildings for decades. However, even the strongest brick walls are not immune to cracking, a problem that can arise from various causes, including the use of a mortar mix that is too firm. Understanding why brick walls crack prevents damage and ensures effective repairs.

One of the primary reasons brick walls crack is the natural settling or shifting of a building’s foundation. Over time, buildings settle into the ground, which can cause stress on the brick walls, leading to cracks. Environmental factors such as extreme temperature changes can also play a significant role. As temperatures fluctuate, bricks expand and contract, creating stress that can eventually lead to cracks, especially if the mortar is not flexible enough to absorb these movements.

Another common cause of cracking in brick walls is related to the mortar mix used during construction. Mortar is a bonding agent between bricks, providing structural integrity and flexibility. However, if the mortar mix is too firm, it lacks the flexibility to accommodate the slight movements of bricks caused by thermal expansion, moisture changes, or settling. This rigidity can lead to cracks as the bricks shift, unable to move without breaking the bond or the mortar cracking.

Moisture infiltration is another culprit, causing expansion in the bricks and mortar, which can lead to cracks over time. Poor drainage around the building exacerbates this problem by allowing water to pool near the walls, increasing the likelihood of moisture penetrating the bricks.

Addressing the cracking issue requires a comprehensive approach that uses the correct mortar mix—one that balances strength and flexibility. Proper construction techniques, adequate drainage, and regular maintenance are also crucial in preventing cracks in brick walls. By understanding and addressing these underlying causes, homeowners and builders can help ensure the longevity and beauty of brick structures.

About Dylan Garton

Dylan Garton is a co-founder, video producer and editor for the Skill Builder social media platforms.

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