Cracks in mortar over garage on new house

I am building a new house. It’s almost complete. Today I noticed some small cracks in the mortar over the garage. Since the brick work is only a few months old, this concerns me. But I wanted to get a professional’s opinion.

I appreciate your thought.


Where are you located? Can you provide any pictures? If you do provide pictures please take one out far enough to give us a reference and then one closer of the cracks.

Pictures would be really helpful. Cracks on anything new could be concerning. The location of the cracks and size can help us determine what is going on. Around here, many metal lintels don’t get properly bolted to the header over the garage. This allows the lintel to flex and you get cracks. Send some pictures and hopefully we can help.

Here are the photos you asked for. I appreciate your thoughts and suggestions.

Well…for some reason the images are not showing. Here is a link to them on my Google Drive.

Cracks like that in new brick, something isn’t right. I would ask the builder if the lintel was bolted to the header. My guess, is it isn’t. If he says that it is, get in writing. If he says it isn’t, get pictures when they remove bricks to properly bolt it. They metal lintel may have been improperly sized as well… Should be plans that say exactly what it should be. If the builder doesn’t give you a satisfactory answer, get a structural engineer to look at it and advise.

In relation to the width of the door, where are the cracks?

One way or the other, the support for the brickwork above the garage is inadequate. Unless properly repaired, the cracks will likely get much worse.

I uploaded a photo that shows the approximate location of the cracks. Also, the header is an engineered wood beam. I don’t guess that makes any difference? The lintel holding the bricks should be bolted to the header and that makes sense even to a novice like me. I appreciate your thoughts on this problem. Jim

I spoke to a residential structural engineer today. He said it’s probably not a problem. The brick was laid this winter and it got very cold. He said that was more likely the cause. The lintel by code has to be bolted to the header. It’s been repaired. The builder has agreed to extend a 5 year warranty on the brick against cracks due to inadequate structural support.

I appreciate your insights and if you have any additional comments or thoughts.


Jim, where are you from?

It appears to me that the brick mortar joints may have been tooled when the mortar had set to much, usually the tooling shows a good overlap on the edges of the brick and a little more glossy when tooled at the right time.

Looks like the brick veneer needs a good cleaning and the mason should have cut the soldier course over the door to prevent the sliver of brick coursing.

While you are at it, check for GFCI’s outside and inside the garage.

Drywall and wood base should be left high above the concrete floor in the garage to prevent wicking of moisture causing potential mold and damage.

Brick looks like it is buried at grade level, should be 4" above grade.

I don’t see any weep holes in the brick coursing.

Don’t know if you are in a frost prone area, but there should be a slip joint on the PVC riser at the service entrance lateral, if you are.

Why would they recess the brick coursing on the left facade of the garage only?

The gutter downspout should have been installed more towards the exterior corner of the garage to prevent possible pooling of water in the approach driveway.

Can’t comment on the header and brick lintel, because I don’t see it.

Hope this helps a bit. :):wink:

When you say lintel was repaired, was it unbolted and they installed bolts?
Just be sure to get it in writing and signed.

I am totally confused.

Andrew - I did not say anything about the lintel being repaired. The lintel was bolted to the header. The engineer I had look at this thinks the crack came from the harsh winter. He thinks it’s cosmetic only. The mortar was removed and replace. So far, no more cracks.

Marcel - While I appreciate your comments, I am unsure what this has to do with mortar cracks.

In summary, right now I feel everything is okay. A structural engineer looked at it and feels it’s not a problem. And the mortar has been replaced.

Thanks again for the feedback.


I did and the rest was surplus. :wink:

Not a crack I would worry about in masonry.

Update: The replaced mortar has cracked and one of the bricks is now cracked. In addition, mortar has cracked on the other side of the garage. I know over time brick and mortar can crack, but since this is a brand new home, I think we need to have the brick removed over the garage door and have a structural engineer inspect the support and determine the cause. Then make repairs or structural enhancements then replace the brick. Does this sound like the correct plan? I have informed my builder and all he said is that he would address the problem. I want to ensure we get this fixed for long term adequacy.

As always I appreciate your professional opinions.



You did not post an overall picture of the front of the house. Is there living space over the garage or just an attic? Depending on the framing a living space over the garage can add substantial loading to the garage header. Double check the plans on the recommended garage door header size and lintel attachment.