Cracks in brick veneer

At what point should I be call it an issue? At a house today there were a lot of cracks in the veneer but not so bad at the visible portions of the slab. In the interior some separation could be seen in some joints in the walls and ceiling.




crack by vent.jpg

crack at window.jpg


I would point out their presence and recommend that they be re-pointed to prevent moisture intrusion and further deterioration. I don’t see a significant structural issue however.

Questions I ask myself in determining weather a engineer should be involved.

  1. Are the crack greater than 1/8 - 3/16 of an inch.
  2. If step cracks, do they follow mortar joints.
  3. Are the bricks and blocks broken themselves.
  4. Do the cracks extend to the footing
  5. Is the footing cracked
  6. Are the cracks near a window or door.
  7. If the cracks are at a corner, is there proper grading and/or gutter installed with downspouts and extentions directing water away from the corner. (usually the culprit on cracks at corners)
  8. Is this area noted for expansive soils
  9. Is this a fill lot
  10. Is there displacement.
  11. Any indication of masonry tie failure
  12. Any cracks to the interior wall board at locations of exterior cracks
  13. Are floors level
  14. If crawlspace, are cracks noted at interior of crawlspace to the foundation blocks.
  15. Is there evidence of previous moisture infiltration in crawlspace
  16. Are cracks occurring where moisture infiltration is taking place and/or where moisture is gathering or puddling.
  17. Are location of cracks adjacent or opposite where existing cracks are occurring.
  18. Number of interior cracks in crawl or at exposed foundation slab along with their size.

There are the some of the questions I ask myself when determining if a structural engineer is warranted.

The more you do inspections as well as working with engineers you will develop your own directives when deciding to bring in a structural engineer.




I can’t see a structural settlement issue in any of your photos. That means nothing in the grand scheme of how you report what you observed.

Sometimes while this is a great sounding board nobody has great advise when it comes to telling how an observation should be reported. That isn’t because they don’t want to help but because they aren’t there.

Foundation uplift.
Look at the vertical crack.

The raker joints are bylawed in Quebec sense 1982.
5/8" of the masonry is removed after the courses are laid.
It gives a 2D effect. An aesthetic shadow.
The bricks lead face is exposed 5/8 of and inch with rake joints.

Water and MIC moisture content get trapped in the brick lead face.
It brakes and spalls easily during frost thaw cycles.
The water tight of a clay kiln brick is 1/16" inch of the lead face of the brick in clay units.

The brick is deficient for that style of jointing.
It is a rustic brick with high clay content and rigid.
Not geometrical shape.

Pour masonry practices.

Foundation uplift.
Typical vertical pressure cracking.