Cracks in Masonry Walls: Types, Causes, and Prevention
Cracks in masonry and walls are a serious cause for concern. In some cases, the only solution to masonry cracks is demolishing and rebuilding the wall. Today, the team at Majestic Exteriors is here to discuss the different types of masonry cracks and how to prevent them.
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Cement in masonry walls can contract and expand depending on the temperature and atmospheric moisture content. Expansion and contraction from atmospheric changes can cause large cracks to form along walls. These types of cracks generally do not indicate major structural damage, but they can allow water infiltration if you leave them alone.
Differential movement occurs when two different substances react differently to temperature and atmospheric changes, causing friction between the two. For example, differential cracking often happens between clay brick and structural steel because these two materials react to climate changes differently. You can avoid these cracks by using joint separators between materials.
Overload cracking occurs when external pressure exceeds load-bearing capacities. These types of cracks can be a result of several things, including wind, pressure, soil, or seismic activity. The main way to avoid these kinds of cracks is to ensure proper structure and design when building masonry walls.
Deflection is a kind of masonry crack that occurs when interior structural elements, such as beams and supports, deflect outwards because of high-weight loads. Deflections can cause cracking and cause structural elements to protrude from masonry walls.
Settlement cracks are a result of parts of the masonry shifting due to foundation shifts. These types of cracks often look like stair steps and typically occur along mortar joints. The key to avoiding these kinds of cracks is ensuring proper soil compaction in foundations.
Preventing Masonry Cracks
Below are some tips on avoiding masonry cracks.
- Inspect walls and foundations before constructing walls to ensure soil is compact and won’t shift.
- Separate different materials with masonry joints so they can shift and expand without causing damage.
- Make sure you hire an expert masonry company that uses materials efficiently and understands proper masonry construction.
Contact Us Today!
Now that you know about cracks in masonry walls, read our blog to learn more about masonry projects that can improve your home value. Contact Majestic Exteriors online or call today at (848) 863-6775 to schedule an appointment!