Why is my brick facade cracking? Types of cracks and what you can do to repair them.
- 05 May, 2017
- By Admin: admin
- Comments: 00
WHY ARE HOMEOWNERS SO AFRAID OF CRACKS
The fear of cracks in masonry happens to two kinds of people, the owner and the buyer. Everyone who is buying a home hire a home inspector to do a home inspection before they buy. Most home inspectors are afraid to give conclusive answers to cause for façade masonry crack because they are afraid of the legal implications, if their answer proves otherwise. So usually they recommend that a professional foundation contractor or engineer is brought in to specifically evaluate the cracking problem. Usually engineers are too expensive, so realtors will bring in a foundation contractor for “free evaluation”. (Remember this is what these guys do for a living), so they usually call brick veneer cracking “foundation failure”. Then they talk the home owner into spending for money for foundation stabilization. In most instances, this cost varies between $5,000 and $60,000 or more. So if the seller is desperate to sell their home, they will pay, what’s the alternative? YOU
Right now if you go to people you know and ask them how to fix a crack, they will tell you to put caulking in it, or put some cement in it or some other fix. I can guarantee to you that none of these people will know anything about Crack Stitching. This is the great thing about this whole opportunity, no one knows about it, and there is no one doing what you are about to do. You are literally connecting two walls that broke apart, and through the use of helical wire and our special grout being able to permanently reconnect them. And by being able to do this sets you apart from everyone else, you are now a specialist and can offer a product and service that is not common in the market place, being able to stitch a wall together, and save a homeowner a ton on money.
OUR OPINION ONLY
The shape and size of cracks in masonry sometimes give you clues to why the crack happened. This will be important for you to understand, because not all cracks are serious. But a homeowner likes to know why something has happened to their wall. We will not be giving out advice just an opinion, if they want or need a professional opinion, then we will refer them to our in house structural engineer. The cost of his visit to the site will be $500.00 any drawings or other work will be at a rate of $250.00 per hour.
HOW CRACKS IN WALLS DEVELOP
Cracks in walls are the result of movement beyond that which can be accommodated by the masonry construction materials. A wall tends to crack where masonry is over-stressed and least restrained, such as at window and door openings or at corners. Stress and movement is usually caused by variations in moisture content in the walls, or in the ground that supports them, temperature variations or chemical reactions. Some movements are cyclic and reversible, many are permanent.
CRACKS IN WALLS CAN BE DIVIDED INTO 3 CATEGORIES:
- Active– cracks in masonry that are increasing in width and or length
- Passive-cracks in walls that are not increasing in width and or length
- Cyclic-cracks in brickwork that open and close seasonally
Unless one knows the history of the building, and knows that the cracks fall into the passive or cyclic categories, it can be difficult to determine the type of wall crack or the appropriate method of repairing it. Generally, cracks that are passive or cyclic and less than 3/16” in width can be repaired by our crack stitching techniques that will improve the tensile and flexural strength of masonry walls such as to accommodate small and or cyclic movements. Repairing wall cracks that are active or that are greater than 3/16” should only be carried out under the guidance of our structural engineer.
Please note a crack in a masonry foundation can reduce a homes value by 10 to 15 percent. So a home valued at $200,000 is potentially looking at a loss of value by $20,000 or 10%
COMMON CRACKING PATTERNS
Expansion (passive) Cracks (1)
Cause: Walls are affected by temperature and moisture change. The cracks are often seen above window and door openings where the opening itself relieves the crack. This type of crack has a consistent width which distinguishes it from other more serious cracks.
Cracks Above Openings (2)
Cause: Four causes are:
- Removal of windows or doors with inadequate propping
- Inadequate bearings
- Loads applied directly over the opening
- No Lintels or undersized lintels
Wall Tie Failure (3)
Cause: Failure normally occurs when the ties rust. When the metal ties reuse they expand causing the cracking normally seen every sixth course horizontally in the mortar joints.
Cause: The worst and most serious type of cracking and consequently the most difficult to repair. The basic problem is the foundation of the house is moving. The cracks are normally the first indication of a problem and the cracks are widest at the top, and can occur to corners of the building or from the top to the bottom of the walls.
Ground Heave (5)
Cause: The pattern is similar to subsidence cracks; however, the crack will be widest at the base of the wall. The most common cause of ground heave is expansion of clay subsoils. If the clay becomes waterlogged it can expand and push the foundations upwards causing the cracks. The removal of trees can also cause ground heave, which is why trees that are too close to the property should be taken down in stages, slowly over a number of years to allow gradual ground movement.