Different Types of Cracks in Brick

Published On: June 21, 2022

You just discovered a crack in brick during the walk-through of a potential sale, and your client is having second thoughts. Discovering and identifying the different types of cracks in brick are the first steps to saving the sale and guaranteeing a secure foundation to home buyers. Don’t let cracks deter the deal. Use this guide to build the knowledge base to help diagnose common brick cracks that can be easily fixed!

Diagonal or Stairstep Cracks

The most common type of crack seen in brick homes is the diagonal or stair step crack. You may see these common types of cracks in a brick exterior, on a brick or block wall, and around the wall of a foundation. These cracks will also appear near windows, doors, and garage door lintels.

A stair step crack will point you in the direction of settlement. This crack is usually wider at the top than it is at the bottom. The wider end of the stair step crack will be on the same side that the foundation is settling. When this diagonal crack appears near windows and doors, you may see it enter at the top of the window and exit via the base of the window.

What does this mean for you as an agent? Contact a foundation repair company on behalf of your client to provide a solution and a peace of mind to both parties. Foundation contractors like USS provide free onsite inspections of properties with stair step cracks in brick and customized repair plans designed to meet each property’s specific needs. USS repairs also include transferable warranties, offering new owners an even stronger foundation than the original.

Vertical Cracks

Like stair step cracks, vertical cracks can be a sign that the foundation is settling. A brick wall that has a vertical crack that is wider at the bottom than it is at the top indicates a possible sag in the foundation and may need attention.  Foundation settlement cracks come in all sizes. But some cracks that are small and vertical may have only appeared due to the concrete curing process.

Horizontal Cracks

If your client has horizontal cracks in the brick, you will likely find the cracks around the corner of the house. These are the easiest cracks to identify. When one end of the crack is wider than the other this signifies a settling on the wider side. The origin of settlement begins at the wider side of a horizontal crack.

At times, horizontal cracks do not mean a house is settling. Mortar will sometimes separate from an improper curing method. Other times, like in the case of a garage lintel, the house may have something else going on. When a garage lintel rusts, it expands causing a horizontal crack to appear between the bricks above the lintel. The expansion of the lintel is lifting the brick. This type of horizontal spacing is not caused by a foundation that is sinking. Therefore, treating this type of horizontal crack with piers, or underpinning, will only cause further damage to the house and once healthy foundation. Consider reaching out to a general contractor who can further diagnose the state of the lintel and replace it if necessary.

Horizontal cracks can be the effect of a significant problem needing foundation repair. If you locate a horizontal crack in the basement or other lower areas of the home, it is important to call a professional for a proper diagnosis and sound solution. Horizontal cracks in a basement wall and a bowing basement wall can be caused by exterior soil pressure and may need immediate attention. Calling a foundation repair company like USS will not only allow your clients to restore the integrity of their home with a repair plan designed specifically for their property, but it will also provide a warranty that is transferable to all future owners at no additional cost.

Interior Cracks

Locating interior cracks in drywall or interior cracks around windows and doors, along with any exterior cracks, helps confirm if there is settling near a foundation. Interior drywall cracks are usually diagonal but can be horizontal or vertical, too.  There are also times when foundation settlement does not cause any drywall cracks.

What Your House is Telling You

If you notice any cracks at all, your client’s house is telling you it needs your help.  Measuring the width of a crack is the next step in monitoring foundation movement. Rapid changes in the size of a crack should prompt a phone call to a foundation repair contractor; the house needs an inspection before damage ensues or increases. So, look for cracks in brick, cracks on the foundation wall, interior drywall cracks, and cracks around windows and doors. Cracks are clues and help you save the sale if you catch them in time!

If you represent a buyer or seller that lives in the Middle TN, Southern KY, or Northern AL areas, call USS, not just to diagnose, but to provide solutions for any cracks we find. Most of the time, the solution is simple, and the result provides a stronger foundation than the home had in the beginning!

Let’s get started!

Recent Articles