Why Do So Many Homes Have Cracks in Their Brick Veneer?

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Why do so many homes being sold have cracks in their brick veneer? 

It’s because of lack of expansion joints in clay brick or control joints in cement brick. Until builders start incorporating these into the brick veneers of new homes, foundation repair contractors will thrive.

An expansion joint separates clay-brick masonry into segments to prevent cracking caused by irreversible expansion, whereas control joints do the same in cement-brick masonry, as well as changes in temperature & moisture, settlement and creep. An expansion joint in clay masonry and a control joint in cement masonry, will determine the location where cracks will naturally form due to volume changes resulting from all of the above. And no one, viewing it, will ever be alarmed.

Every clay brick veneer house constructed during times of building booms (whenever the brick leave the kiln and are shipped immediately to the construction site) have cracks because of the lack of expansion joints. 

It’s not Rocket Science! 

Cement brick will always develop cracks if there are no control joints. That’s a fact. 

These are not “settlement cracks” or signs of “foundation failure,” as the foundation repair contractor salesmen argue.

If you represent a seller who lives on a mountainside with various amounts of outcropped limestone bedrock surrounding the home, and insist or encourage them to relinquish the earnest money they received upon accepting a contract offer for purchase, because the buyer was later told by a foundation repair contractor that the home had major structural problems needing repair; and the seller refused to “play into their hand” and pay for ridiculous repairs, so the buyer now wants to walk away, then you are violating your fiduciary obligations.  Why?  Because the house is likely sitting on or very close to bedrock and cannot sink into oblivion as a foundation repair contractor might be contending!


Who is qualified to make structural assessments of houses? 

I recently spoke to a Realtor who told me she didn’t care what I said. She believed the foundation repair contractor salesman she met with was “more than qualified” to determine that a structural problem existed as reflected by the brick veneer cracks and that a foundation repair was needed.

She said the salesperson was a fine and upstanding young man, and she was offended I would question his qualifications/capabilities.

Why do so many Realtors think foundation contractor “salesmen” are qualified to assess possible structural damage with a home? Are they being influenced by the fact that the foundation contractor offers his advice for free?

Many Realtors tell their clients, either seller or buyer:  “You can get a FREE ‘structural evaluation’ from a multitude of foundation and structural repair contractors around here!” Though their “evaluation” is free, it almost always comes with a recommendation for foundation repair, which is rarely less than several thousand dollars… a hefty price tag for a FREE evaluation!

You can get a “FREE” foundation evaluation from an unqualified foundation repair salesperson that will end up costing you thousands of dollars in the end, OR, you can have a truly qualified structural engineer evaluate the situation for a few hundred dollars, and most likely find out that no foundation repair is even necessary.

So which service is really more expensive? The “FREE” foundation evaluation where they almost always recommend thousands of dollars in repairs, or the qualified assessment of a licensed structural engineer who charges a few hundred dollars?

Why trust a Structural Engineer?

Structural engineers go through an extensive amount of schooling to get their degree in structural engineering. It takes about four years to earn the required bachelor’s degree in civil engineering. That is followed by 2 to 4 years of study to earn a Master’s degree or a PHD.

So, a structural engineer is highly qualified to make professional assessments of a home’s structural concerns. Before accepting the assessment of a foundation repair salesperson, ask them about their qualifications for making their assessment.

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