Return to the Buying and Selling Homes Forum | Post a Follow-Up

 o
Cracked Mortar around exterior brick..Is this a big problem?

Posted by southernmum (My Page) on
Thu, Mar 3, 11 at 18:37

Not sure if this is the best category/forum to ask this, but needing advice. We're considering buying a house that is well maintained, gorgeous, etc. but have found one visible problem. There are a few places on the exterior of the home where the mortar around some of the bricks appears to be cracked. Just around three or four bricks, but the cracks do go both horizontally and vertically around the brick shape. The house is about 25 years old. Is this just normal wear and tear/age, or could this be a red flag? Of course if we purchase it, we will get it professionally inspected, but I wanted to get some opinions here before we proceed in possibly writing up an offer. Thanks for any advice!


Follow-Up Postings:

 o
RE: Cracked Mortar around exterior brick..Is this a big problem?

Guess I should add the cracks are sort of a stair-shaped crack. Maybe this helps visualize what I'm talking about better. Thanks!


 o
RE: Cracked Mortar around exterior brick..Is this a big problem?

Could you provide a picture?


 o
RE: Cracked Mortar around exterior brick..Is this a big problem?

Are they hairline or wide?

Cracks can be from settling and if you're in an area with clay soil this is very common when the clay dries out and shrinks vs. when it is wet it expands. To avoid this you can water around the foundation so it never dries out.

Do doors open/close fine without sticking in the house. Any cracks in the drywall or anything else to indicate possible settling?

Only if the cracks are wide would I stay away from making an offer. If not I'd make an offer and then I'd hire a structural engineer to look at it as part of the inspection.


 o
RE: Cracked Mortar around exterior brick..Is this a big problem?

Typically home inspectors say if the cracks are "stair shaped", there is nothing to worry about, however, I would have them checked out for myself by a qualified individual before getting into contract.


 o
RE: Cracked Mortar around exterior brick..Is this a big problem?

They're definitely hairline cracks -- not too wide. I do not have a picture of it, and feel a little weird going back to the homeowner to take a photo of it! You would have to zoom in way close to see them. It took me several times of looking at the house before I noticed it. The best I can say to describe the way it looks is truly just the outline of steps, going up about three bricks high. Kind of like when you draw "steps" using an Etch-a-Sketch toy! Thanks for the advice! Oh, and it's up high, on the second story. Not at the base of the house.


 o
RE: Cracked Mortar around exterior brick..Is this a big problem?

After 25 years, it's unlikely to be of any significance. It takes only the slightest settlement or shifting to crack mortar in a veneer brick home. To camouflage the crack and limit water intrusion you can use similar coloured caulk.


 o
RE: Cracked Mortar around exterior brick..Is this a big problem?

It could indicate foundation problems. Is the house on a slab? You might want to have the foundation checked out. It's possible that it's been fixed but they never fixed the cracks.


 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!


Return to the Buying and Selling Homes Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.


Learn more about in-text links on this page here