LESLIE: Marybeth in Nebraska finds The Money Pit on KFOR and there seems to be some structural issues going on. How can we help?
MARYBETH: Well, hi. I have a brick wall on the outside of my house and I think what’s happening is a footer is shifting as the weather freezes and thaws. And I have cracked masonry on the outside, which I repaired about 10 years ago. And now it’s cracked again. And my inside window frame is also showing some cracking. So I wondered if you had any thoughts about that.
TOM: Well first of all, the footer is supposed to be below the frost line so that would not be moving if it expands and contracts. Now, the masonry that you repaired 10 years ago, are you seeing that that gap – obviously you must have put something in this opening? Is that what’s going on?
TOM: And how did you repair it? Did you use a sealant or something in there?
MARYBETH: First time, I had a mason come in and he redid it with cement.
MARYBETH: But now I just did it with, you know, the grout.
TOM: Well see, unless you’re using like an epoxy-based product or a urethane-based product that expands and contracts, this cracking is always going to happen. Because obviously the crack formed in a stressed part of the wall. So you’re getting expansion and contraction due to the weather. If the wall is going to open up it’s going to open up where it’s already cracked. So if you put something in that has no flex, like mortar or grout, you’re going to get the crack reform every single time. If you use something that’s flexible, like an epoxy patching compound or something of that nature, it’s not …
LESLIE: That’ll seal the crack and move with it.
TOM: … it’s not going to open up. Right.
MARYBETH: OK. So actually, that’s the better way to go. Excellent.
TOM: Yeah, yeah. It seems like you would want to patch masonry with masonry but it’s really not a good idea. You need something that’s going to bend and sort of go with the flow.
MARYBETH: OK. Well, that’s wonderful. Thank you.
TOM: You’re very welcome, Marybeth. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
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