Cracks in rock veneer

Just thought I’d share these pictures of some large cracks in a rock veneer exterior.





:shock: :shock: :shock:

How old was this house? I did a warranty inspection (single component)home 5 months old last week and had similar problems.


Many parts of Texas have high PI soil (extremely expansive). It only takes one season of failing to perform proper foundation maintenance here to cause these conditions. We are also in our second year of a very bad drought which, along with lack of foundation maintenance, only aggravates the condition.

I’ve seen homes here where you could see the bottom of two feet deep footers, seen underneath slabs, etc.

This year and next there are going to be many more homes like this one. Have a friend who wanted me to go into the foundation repair subcontract business with him. I should have taken him up on the offer!!!

My inspection was to inspect and document the failed structural components of this particular home so that my client could submit the findings to the builder for repair…The builder told them that it was normal settling that caused the failure and not their problem. My client submitted my report and the repairs were completed and documented. Just curious tho…What foundation maitenance are you refering to?

Hey, Mike.

I believe your terminology is wrong. Those are not large. Those are huge, monster, gigantic. :margarit:


I have to ask, what if anything was adhering the stone veneer to the building structure? did it have ties?

I have personaly never seen a veneer other than over a steel mesh and stucco/mortar bed.



The maintenance he is refering to is to try to keep the moisture level consistent around the perimetere of the foundation.You can do this by adding a sprinkler system to the flower beds,or by hand .OML optimum moisture level is essential in keeping foundations from heaving or ginormous cracking.I have been a concrete contractor for a long time,and one thing I know is this .Theres two types of concrete in Texas that is concrete thats already cracked ,and concrete that is going to crack.The only thing you can do is to do maintenance,by keeping the fairly damp around the slab.this will only limit the size of the crack.Let me add,it cdoesn’t look like there are any ties holding that veneer to the walls.


John S. is correct! There are other maintenance steps to take also which includes regular checks of condition, grading, etc., etc. Here is a site that has very good explanations of conditions here:

John S.,

Being a concrete contractor for some time you no doubt have extensive experience. You could do us all a great service and start a concrete thread and help answer questions, provide insights, etc. That would be a great help even to those that know about concrete. It is always good to obtain different perspectives and experiences. I would look forward to a concrete thread on the BB.

The house was quite old - 70 years or so. I could not find anything holding the rock onto the home. In fact there were quite a few loose ones that I could have easily pulled off. That was another write up in my report.

The link that Mr. Scanlon posted is great. The owner of that site is Michael Gray, a P.E. I took a foundation class from him a couple of weeks ago in Houston. It was absolutely the best, most informative class I have taken as a home inspector. There is a link to a 150-page foundation book on the site, but the link has not been working for me. I do have a copy of the book on CD and it is very good. He did say that he is editing it, so I assume he will repair the link when that is done. I don’t remember if he said that would be in six weeks or six months.

Also, along the theme of foundations. I’ve about finalized a deal to write a monthly article for our local newspaper. Here is the first article that I am planning to submit; the information is based very much on what I learned in Mr. Gray’s class.

Most soils in the central Texas area have some expansive clay in them. Expansive clay gets its name from the fact that it expands significantly when it gets wet. Expansive clay soils can exert extremely high pressures on a home’s foundation and can cause serious damage if ignored.

For homes built on expansive clay soils, water is the foundation’s worst enemy. During dry periods, the soil will contract and pull away from the foundation, leaving the edges of the foundation essentially unsupported. Since concrete slabs are flexible and not perfectly rigid, the foundation will actually sag along the edges. Then when it rains, the soil expands and pushes up against the foundation with extremely high forces. This down and up movement along the edge of the foundation is what causes cracks in ceilings, walls, brick veneer, and worse yet, in the foundation, itself. Do cracks over doors and windows and in the exterior brick mean that you have foundation problems? Possibly, but not necessarily. It does mean that your foundation is moving or flexing, just as all concrete slabs do. It’s the amount of flexing that should concern you.

What can you do to minimize this flexing and to protect your foundation? First and foremost, maintain a constant moisture level in the soil around your home. This is impossible to do completely, but here are some steps that you can take.

1. Ensure the grading around your home is correct. The soil around your home should slope down about six inches in the first ten feet out from your home. This will allow rain water to be carried away from your foundation.

2. Use rain gutters and downspout extensions to divert as much water as possible off of your roof and away from the foundation.

*3. Implement a watering plan to help keep the soil near your foundation constantly moist. This will minimize the large expansion/contraction cycles that the soil would otherwise go through. *

Sometimes it may be necessary to have your foundation repaired and your home leveled by a foundation repair company - an expensive undertaking. If your home requires this, be aware that it is very likely that cracks will re-appear after only a few years unless you also implement a strategy to control the moisture level in the soil around your home. Depending on the amount of damage already done, it is possible that this expense can be put off or even eliminated simply by controlling the moisture level in the soil.

Why can’t I edit my post above??

In the second paragraph of the post above, it should have said

" It was absolutely the best, most informative class …"

Nice article. You might want to change that “have your home leveled” part. Around here that is slang for using a bulldozer on it!

I agree that those cracks appear huge, and the loose stone veneer is also a real concern.

Concerning homes in areas with swelling clays, also note that moisture changes usually results in differential foundation movement along the perimeter … in addition to the “drying edge effect” which causes differential movement between the foundation perimeter and the rest of the foundation. Foundation soils are not uniform, with varying moisture levels, so some areas push up and then shrink down at different rates causing additional differential movements.


Good point. I’ll see how I can reword that.

Well, I’ll be goddarn, I just learned that if I live in Texas, it will be expansively expensive to maintain a home. ha. ha.

What’s the answer, a floating slab??
Hey, it worked up in Madawaska, Maine, hell with all the frost action up there in the winter, you could not ask more of an expansive soil.
My re-enforced slab that I poured in 1973, is still there and floats on top of the frost. No problem there.
What goes up most come down right? Well, not always in the same spot. ha. ha.

Actually, the frost action was always held at par due the heat loss through the slab.

This expansive soil sounds serious. What are the solutions in that area for this type of problem? Are there design criteria that should be followed and are not??

Marcel :slight_smile: :slight_smile: :slight_smile:

Has anyone thought of expansion and contraction of the veneer in the sun of the day, expanding in the heat and contracting at night? In my opinion its very poor veneer work. The veneers do not appear to interlock, there are several stones runing parallel in the electrical meter photo

Addition of lime. However, it takes a good geologist/geotechnical professional to determine the proper amount of lime to apply.

Found this , does it make any sense to what your talking about.?


Marcel:) :slight_smile:


Wow; RR I am surprised you agreed to one of my posts. ha. ha.

Marcel :slight_smile: :slight_smile: