Cracks in Brick, Is it Normal?


Bricked homes in Rhode Island have their own distinctive and ornate beauty. The wall’s skeleton shows off its aesthetic nature and showcases class, strength, and durability. However, this classic aesthetic also means that you may start seeing the smallest cracks in bricks and wonder if that is normal.

Cracks in bricks aren’t always dangerous – be it during installation or after. Of course, any mason worth their salt will NOT install a cracked brick in your wall, as it may lead to problems in the future. But if you see cracks in bricks after installation, there are a number of reasons why they may occur.

In this article, we will take a closer look at why your bricks may be cracking in Rhode Island and whether or not you should be alarmed. We will also consider the type of cracks on the bricks and what they mean for the strength and durability of your property.

Why Do Bricks Crack?

There are a few reasons why bricks may crack. The first and most common reason is the natural drying process.

Drying Process

When bricks in Rhode Island are first manufactured, they contain a high level of moisture. This is because the clay used to make the bricks needs water to bind everything together. Once the bricks have been formed and dried in kilns, they will still contain around 12% moisture.

As the bricks absorb moisture from the air, they will swell slightly. However, as they lose this moisture, they will also shrink slightly. This constant swelling and shrinking can cause small cracks to form on the surface of the brick. These cracks in brick are often very small and barely noticeable – but they can be seen if you look closely.

Thermal Expansion & Contraction Causes Cracks in Brick

Another cause of cracks in brick is thermal expansion. This occurs when the temperature changes and causes the bricks to expand or contract. The amount that the bricks expand or contract will depend on the type of clay used to make them. For example, bricks made with soft mud clay will expand more than those made with stiff mud clay. This is because soft mud clay contains more minerals, such as quartz and feldspar, that expand when heated.

As the bricks expand and contract, they can form small cracks. These cracks are usually only visible on the surface of the brick and don’t affect the strength or durability of the brick itself.

Structural Movements

This can occur when the foundation of a building settles or moves. As the foundation starts to move, it can put pressure on the bricks above – causing them to crack.

These types of cracks in brick are usually more noticeable than the others as they tend to be larger and run through the entire brick. They can also be dangerous as they can weaken the structure of the brick and make it more susceptible to collapse.

What Do Different Types of Cracks Mean?

Now that we’ve looked at some of the reasons why your bricks may be cracking let’s take a closer look at the different types of cracks in brick you may see. These cracks can give you an indication of the problem and whether or not it is serious.

Crazing Crack

This is a small, fine network of cracks that forms on the surface of the brick. Crazing cracks in Rhode Island are usually caused by the drying process and are not dangerous. They aren’t a major cause for concern in most cases.

Spider Web Crack

These cracks radiate out from a central point and look like the web of a spider. Spider web cracks are usually caused by thermal expansion and contraction. As long as the cracks aren’t too deep or expanding, these cracks are also normal. However, you should get them repaired whenever you get the chance.

Stepped Crack

These cracks form when one side of the brick expands or contracts more than the other. Stepped cracks are usually caused by thermal expansion and contraction and are also considered to be normal. Some bricks get step cracks during manufacture as well.

Diagonal Cracks

Diagonal cracks run from one corner of the brick to the other – forming a diagonal line. A combination of the factors above can cause diagonal cracks. Furthermore, these cracks also often indicate foundation damage or cracking.

It is important to get diagonal cracks checked out as soon as possible. This is because it could indicate that the foundation of your property is moving and could cause further damage.

What Should You Do If You See Cracks in Brick on Your Home?

If you see any cracks in your bricks, it’s important to get them checked out by a professional that specializes in masonry repair. They will be able to determine the cause of the cracks and whether or not they are a cause for concern.

If the cracks are caused by thermal expansion and contraction, there is usually no need to worry. However, if structural movements cause the cracks, it’s important to check them out as soon as possible. This is because they could indicate that the foundation of your property is moving and could cause further damage.

A professional will also be able to advise you on the best way to repair the cracks. For example, if the cracks are small and superficial, you may be able to repair them yourself with some masonry sealant. However, if the cracks are larger or more serious, you may need to get the bricks replaced.

If you’re worried about the cracks in your brickwork, don’t hesitate to get them checked out by our professionals. Call us now for advice on your next steps to ensure your property remains safe and sound!