Fix a Crack in Brick
LESLIE: OK. Coming up, we’re going to Oregon and talking to Danny.
Danny, how can we help you?
DANNY: Well, it all comes down to this. I have a house that was built in ’46. And it’s a brick house and I have one running crack that goes from the wall of the roof down through the foundation. It’s about 1/4-inch thick but I don’t want it to move anymore.
TOM: Yeah. It sounds to me like it’s probably some sort of a shrinkage crack or something that may have occurred early on in the home’s construction when perhaps you had some movement of the soil, some bad grading, something of that nature. If your sense is, Danny, that it’s not moving and it hasn’t moved in a long, long time, then I wouldn’t recommend that you do anything about it because, frankly, there’s not much that you can do about it at this point. You could fill the crack in with a silicone to make sure that you keep water from getting in there, which is a good thing because if water gets behind the brick, it can freeze and cause pieces of the brick to break off and chip away. But if not, there’s probably nothing else that’s going to force this to get any worse, you know what I mean?
LESLIE: Tom, will the silicone expand and contract should weather conditions force it to?
TOM: Yeah, silicone will. It’s pretty durable when it comes to that.
DANNY: The question I had – someone told me that I could put a steel strap – maybe 5, 10 feet – on either side of it.
TOM: Well, you could do that but, again, if it’s not moving there’s really no point. Masonry surfaces often crack. They often expand and contract and it’s very typical for something like that to happen early on and be reasonably dramatic but then nothing else happens, like you said, for 50 years.
You know, the 40s was an excellent time for home construction. They really were built very, very well back then. And so I’m not that concerned, based on what you’re telling me, and I’m not going to suggest that you do anything dramatic like that.
DANNY: Alright. Good enough. That’s what I need to know.
TOM: Alright, Danny, thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
If you want a second opinion, the best person to go to would be a professional home inspector; somebody who sees these defects day in and day out and may even be familiar with your neighborhood. You could find a good, impartial one by going to the website of the American Society of Home Inspectors at ASHI.org. OK, Dan? Thanks again for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.