Frequently Asked Questions
about Cracks, Settlement & Leaks:
Question: What caused my masonry to crack?
Answer: The answer is not simple. There is a myriad of things that can cause masonry to crack:
- Post-construction settlement.
- Tremors or earthquakes.
- Heavy equipment working nearby.
- Faulty original engineering or construction.
- Redistribution of weight loads due to remodeling or building additions.
- Excessive snow or wind loads.
- Material failure.
- Expansive soils.
- Plant roots.
- Thermal expansion and contraction.
- Poorly bonded masonry.
- Using incompatible building materials.
- Accidental impact from vehicles.
- Failure to adequately compact the earth prior to construction.
- Lack of adequate water drainage away from the structure.
- Excessively hard mortar.
- And much more.
Question: How can I determine what caused my masonry to crack?
Answer: This is a job for an experienced expert who has been a long-time student of the nature of cracked masonry and its causes. Often, special monitors can be used to gather information to provide clues regarding the cause of cracked masonry. There are other specific observations and measurements an experienced expert can make.
Question: Do all cracks need to be repaired?
Question: Why should I repair my cracked masonry?
Answer: Left unrepaired, some cracks provide an opening for water, insects, wind, plant life, and dust penetration. Each of these has the potential for causing further damage.
If not repaired so the weight load is redistributed, the crack may travel further or even get wider.
If you are trying to sell your building, unrepaired cracked masonry is a huge negative in the mind of potential buyers and therefore negatively influences the building’s value. A properly repaired crack will aesthetically look much better and may not even be noticeable.
If the crack is not properly repaired but simply filled with mortar, the crack will appear very obvious and the mortar-filled crack will likely reopen in the future. Mortar cannot succeed as "glue" in holding cracked masonry together.