Question: When Is A Crack in Brick Veneer Too Large?

By
Home Inspector with HABITEC Home and Building Inspections, LLC

Well, to some any crack is too big!  But to many Inspectors 1/8 inch is a key number.  If a crack in the brick veneer of a home or building exceeds 1/8" in opening, OR, shows differential movement, then the crack should be repaired.

brick veneer cracksIn this picture on the right the vertical cracks are approaching 1/2" in width.  Clearly this is unacceptable as the potential for water and insect intrusion is readily apparent.  This veneer is on a home that is over 50 years old and the concrete mortar is breaking down.  Fortunately the veneer was not "moving" off the house due to a foundation or brick ledge failure.

Also, the cracks are the same size at the top as they are at the bottom.  That's good in the sense that there is no differential when comparing the size of the cracks at the top versus the cracks at the bottom.  In a case where the cracks are larger/wider at one point compared to another, differential movement is occuring.  That is very serious and should be flagged every time in an Inspection. 

Richard

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Comments in this blog posting are the copyrighted property of Richard Acree, President, HABITEC Home and Building Inspections, LLC, and are intended to educate and otherwise assist home owners, sellers and buyers, building owners, sellers and buyers, realtors, real estate investors, property managers, and lenders in the process of owning, buying or selling homes or commercial buildings.  HABITEC is a residential (home) and commercial building inspection company serving Middle Tennessee including Nashville, Brentwood, Franklin, Murfreesboro, Smyrna, Mt. Juliet, Hendersonville, Dickson, Belle Meade, Columbia, Spring Hill and more!  In addition to building inspections HABITEC offers Environmental Services for mold assessments, radon testing and water quality analysis.  Additional information about HABITEC can be found on our website at www.habitecinspections.com, or call 615-376-2753.  Thank You! 

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Rainmaker
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Mary Aguilar
David Lyng Real Estate - Monterey, CA
I'd hate to see this wall after an earthquake!
Feb 24, 2008 09:31 PM #1
Rainmaker
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Joan Whitebook
BHG The Masiello Group - Nashua, NH
Consumer Focused Real Estate Services
This was very helpful.  I don't see a lot of brick in So. New Hampshire -- but I get a lot of questions regarding cracks in foundation walls (concrete) and granite -- It would be interesting to learn more about when those are a red flag vs. acceptable settlement.
Feb 24, 2008 09:47 PM #2
Rainmaker
1,090,441
Joan Whitebook
BHG The Masiello Group - Nashua, NH
Consumer Focused Real Estate Services
This was very helpful.  I don't see a lot of brick in So. New Hampshire -- but I get a lot of questions regarding cracks in foundation walls (concrete) and granite -- It would be interesting to learn more about when those are a red flag vs. acceptable settlement.
Feb 24, 2008 09:47 PM #3
Rainer
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Ron Rittiner
HABITEC Home and Building Inspections, LLC - Nashville, TN

Hi Mary and Joan,

Thanks for the comments.  Fortunately we don't get a lot of tremors in Middle Tennessee.  A few tornadoes, but not many earthquakes.

Joan makes a good point.  I suspect that most Inspectors are more forgiving of cracks in the brick veneer than cracks in the foundation.  The brick veneer is moreso a cosmetic component of the structure compared to the foundation.  Cracks in the foundation can effect the rest of the structure whereas cracks in the veneer usually do not.  Most Inspectors still use the 1/8" rule for foundations but they hopefully use a keener eye when making that judgment call.

Richard

Feb 25, 2008 07:15 AM #4
Anonymous
Anonymous
Anonymous

hi,

     Bought my house in January ,Noticed a vertical crack in the brick veneer about 3 feet long and jagged  not 2 weeks after I bought the house. It`s right under the bathroom window. Made sure to thank the inspector for NOT bringing that to my attention, But he had a 'Patch it up and forget about it, It ain`t serious" attitude. So I called a structural engineer to look at it and He also said it was just cosmetic and just have a bricklayer fix it. Well, The brick layer is scheduled to show up at any time now and I`ve noticed the crack is getting larger and starting to crumble in spots.I`ve tried calling the structural guy back out but he won`t get back with me. I don`t know why, I havent bugged him at all and I did PAY him when he came out.My question is should I let the brick guy fix it or should I have another structural guy look at it?Thank you very much.

Jul 10, 2008 08:15 PM #5
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Rainer
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Ron Rittiner

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