Is this crack a concern?

We are preparing to move forward with an offer on this home, but we have some concerns about this crack in the brick above the garage. We are moving from out of state, so to move forward with the inspection, pay for a flight out there, etc. and then find this to be a big issue. That is a concern for us. Would appreciate anyone that has seen this or can relate. The home is located in Nashville, TN.

Form the picture it does not seem to be a big issue. I see a down spout is the water flowing far enough from the home?
With out seeing a picture of the corner it is hard to tell what is going on. Minor settlement by the looks of it. Make sure you get a good inspector .
I believe you have a good fellow near there .

Here is his Web Page
http://www.midtninspections.com/

IMO, its probably not a settlement issue but rather an installation issue…the horizontal crack at the edge of the brick angle iron is the clue. Too many times inspectors want to call small cracks like this settlement (which quite frankly is a nebulous if not incorrect term).

The problem I see is the way the brick mason installed the brick angle iron (I assume a garage door opening). He basically had to cut a brick to make a shim / split in order to install the angle iron over the garage door. This was poor planning on his part. As a result I suspect this was the driving force as to why the crack occurred.

You actually need to provide us with more pictures… your picture does not give
us enough information to truly comment on the crack (how large is that garage opening).

Other than noting that the mason is bearing a brick angle iron on a split brick, I would pay attention to the condition of the iron (any rusting), the bearing of the iron, the size of the iron and opening, any other openings above this area and note their condition, etc.

Angle irons should be properly bolted to a correctly sized header to help carry the load, other wise they can be a nightmare.

Send an elevation picture and provide more detailed picture of this opening to garner more opinions.

regard

Jeff

Jeff,
I disagree with your comments. Brick settlement in the corners is quite common around here, and seems to be of little concequence as long as its fixed. Which almost always involves extending the gutters.

Of course a few better pics would be needed. I see nothing unusaual about the issue, and have had far worse brushed off by masons and engineers.

Yes we do need more Pictures of the wall. but this home appears to be a older home . These cracks are common here. and a good percentage are caused by drainage.
But without more information it is impossible to tell what happen or the cause. And Jeff you may be right on the installation , Iron does not Line up well. But i do not think it is a big issue. However there appears to be A moisture issue ( white Material ) to make it simple.

In older home i mean a established not new

Are you established Wayne??

I am old lol

Get in you dang truck and off the MB I need a coffee lol

Does this help for an additional picture? The crack is int he right corner above the garage.

Sean,

“Settlement Cracks” is a term that is probably more misused by inspectors than any other term in their vocabulary.

Understanding how and why cracks occur one must look at typically 3 issues.

  1. Soil
  2. Material
  3. Construction

Inspectors must be familiar with the soils in the areas they inspect…here in the Carolina’s we have expansive clay so we too see quite a bit of cracks however one simply can not point to soil as the reason for a crack and tell a home owner that particular cracks are common without evaluating the other areas such as materials and construction.

When business was booming it was nothing to see brick masons working in temperatures near freezing…or even in the 50’s during the day but well below freezing at night…which will have a significant impact the veneer.

Last year I had a home owner who had similar type of cracks, corner of garage opening with only about 18" of brick height over their 16 ft wide garage door.
They had built a home upon a filled lot of which an engineer did do a bearing verification test; letter was provided to me. You can imagine their concern so as a result they allowed me to remove several areas of brick. There insurance adjuster was on hand when I did and needless to say they could not file a claim once it was revealed the issue was faulty construction. (I did this as a contractor not as an inspector)

After speaking with the builder and brick mason it was evident that the brick mason was in a hurry to finish up the job and failed to bolt the angle iron to the LVL the builder provided. The brick mason blamed it on the angle iron that was provided without any holes for the bolts however prior to me taking out any brick he told me it was bolted…openings that large always require bolts, he said. He back peddled when I showed him no bolts were in place. The builder was rightly peeved at him for not contacting him to let them know the supplier sent out the wrong angle iron… instead he just wanted to finish the job and move on to the next one.

Angle irons typically should also bear on at minimum 4 inches of masonry…and in the picture provided by the poster as a builder I would have been ticked to see the brick split used to support the angle iron…that’s totally lazy… I love how the mason took a masonry saw, cut the brick and then attempted to fill in the gaps with mortar which by the way fell out.

Wayne also makes a good point about where downspouts terminate or better put if the water truly is being diverted away from the home is simply like most homes, a 90 degree elbow is at the base of the downspout where water is still saturating the soil at the footing. (Not sure if the white is part of the brick or efflorescence… I only say that because I dont see any on the mortar itself).

My comments are obviously made with a limited view from the picture in question however there is enough to show that at minimum poor planing was done by the mason which resulted in him trying to correct same by splitting a brick and expecting nothing will happen.

I will say that many times when soil is the issue, you commonly find several cracks around the home…not just at one location (do not know if this was just an isolated crack which again would lead me to believe construction issue).

My advise to the potential buyer would be that if numerous cracks are present then I would contact a geotechnical engineer and have them inspect the foundation before going forward with any other inspections…because a good inspector is going to make that recommendation anyway…no need to spend more money when you can direct them to a primary issue which may in turn have them walking away from a nightmare. (not saying this home is a problem…it may be fine).

regards

Jeff

Kristen,

Are there any other noticeable cracks anywhere else on the veneer?

Do you have a picture of the general area of the garage door?

Is the left upper corner of the garage opening cracked?

Any cracks at the fireplace?

Just trying to rule out soil / settlement issues.

Jeff

Are the cracks shown a big deal, to me no.

For your own peace of mind have a Mason, or Bricklayer check it out and have them give you an Idea of the repair costs and methods.

:smiley:

“Cracks” are not much of a concern to me. The cause of the crack(s) is more at issue.

Rusted lintels expand.

There are two conditions, both related to moisture:

  1. The flaking of the bricks to the right of the lintel and the gap above the lintel indicate that the lintel is has rusted. Rusted steel expands by a factor of about 17x.

  2. The diagonal crack is more often an indication of soil movement. We can’t see the termination of the downspout located at this corner, but the fact that there is one increases the chance that at some point this downspout has routed runoff to the foundation, causing soil to expand or consolidate or both.

The big question with cracks is whether the conditions that caused them are now stable, or does a condition exist that will cause cracking to continue, and if so, what’s the potential for serious damage?