Cracking Brickwork

Cracking brickwork is one of the most common building defects our home inspectors identify during pre-purchase building inspections.

The art and science of it, is to know when a crack is minor and to be expected as the house ages, or a sign of something more sinister.

A wide range of factors can affect our building inspector’s assessment of the cracking including:

  • Environmental conditions (for e.g drought or flood conditions)
  • Standard or quality of original workmanship
  • Evidence of damage
  • Age of the building; is it newly built or old?
  • Geographic location of the building
  • Probable soil types
  • Other evidence of building defects like jamming windows and doors or uneven floors, the condition of the subfloor structures and more

The most common types of brick work cracking include:

  • Horizontal cracking
  • Vertical cracking
  • Diagonal cracking
  • Stepped cracking
  • Cogged cracking

These factors considered together with physical measurements of the brick work cracking, can generate both a rating of the severity of the cracking and in most cases enable us to accurately attribute the cause.

The causes of cracking in brickwork are most often:

  • Sinking foundations, where due to environmental factors or other causes part of the building has sunk over time pulling it away from the rest of the building.
  • Additional forces, when used in a retaining wall context the force overtime of built up soil, water movement on the site and even the action of tree roots can cause brick work to crack.

Our severity assessments also take into account the number, locations, width and length of the cracks to identify whether minor, cosmetic remedial work is required, right through to whether a structural engineering solution would be required to determine a resolution that will permanently fix and prevent further cracking.

If you are concerned about cracking, internal or external in a house or building you own Jim’s Building Inspectors can be contacted on 131 546.

A building inspection can be limited in scope to just the area of concern you have and we will provide you with a written, insured report as to the type and cause of cracking along with some guidance about action to remedy the cracking.


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1 Comment

  1. Aqua 2 years ago

    What would you suggest for broken and crumbling brickwork in a chimney? It appears that the original mortar is eroding in the weather. Is the chimney salvageable? Will rendering the chimney be enough to stop further crumbling?

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