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Common Causes of Masonry Cracks

It’s good to know what caused your masonry cracks so that you know the best way to repair them.

Masonry materials are pretty durable, but they are constantly enduring the various elements of nature. Over time, the masonry can begin to wear down and even crack. There are several different causes of masonry cracks, so here are a few to help you narrow down the cause of yours.

Shrinkage & Expansion

These masonry cracks usually appear within the first year of construction. This is because masonry expands and contracts during the curing process. With concrete block, water evaporates as the block cures, causing it to shrink. With brick masonry, the moisture is absorbed while it’s curing, causing expansion. Joints are typically built in walls to accommodate this shrinkage or expansion, but improper joints can lead to cracking. Shrinkage/expansion cracks typically aren’t serious and widen as they move upward.  

Uneven Settlement

Settlement occurs early after a building’s construction and typically is caused from an improper foundation. This typically occurs in the early years of a building’s construction or if there’s a change in underground conditions. Cracks from uneven settlement typically appear at corners and openings and follow a diagonal line. Bigger cracks can be a problem, but small cracks are only a real issue if moisture can get through them.

Masonry Piers

Masonry piers sometimes rotate or settle differently than when they started. In addition, cold weather can cause them to frost or be damaged by the freeze/thaw cycle. This could lead to the piers themselves cracking. The cracks typically aren’t serious but a shift in masonry piers can cause the wood components of masonry to lose their bearings.

Sweeping/Horizontal Cracks

If you notice these types of cracks, you probably want to get it fixed as soon as possible. Causes of sweeping cracks include things like vibrations from machinery or vehicles that are close by, improper backfilling, or freezing of the soil next to the wall. These cracks are a sign that the foundation wall itself is breaking, so masonry repairs or restoration may be necessary.

Contact Del Prete Masonry Today for Your Masonry Needs!

If you are ready to upgrade your home or commercial building with professional masonry installation or replacement, Del Prete Masonry has the experience and expertise to get the job done right for the right price. To explore our residential and commercial services and set up a consultation, please give us a call at 410-683-0650 or contact us online. We currently serve Baltimore City and County, Harford County, Carroll County, Anne Arundel County, and Howard County. To see examples of our work and get more updates, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest


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