The Do-It-Yourself Brick Crack Repair Guide
Troubled by unsightly cracks in your brick building? Cracks can be caused by a variety of factors, but luckily fixing them is moderately easy assuming there are no larger structural issues at play. With a few simple steps you can repair the crack, avoiding the expense of replacing the entire wall.
There are four common reasons for brick cracking – settlement, thermal expansion, steel expansion, and bulging or bowed walls. Settlement, which occurs as the structure “settles” onto its foundation, often leaves “stair step” cracks in its wake. Thermal expansion, the sun warming and expanding the brick, often leaves the bricks exerting more pressure on one another than previously applied and can result in vertical or stair step cracks. Steel expansion, the process of steel supports in the masonry expanding at a different rate than that of the brick, commonly occur at doorways, windows, and other openings. Finally, cracks may appear in bowed or bulging walls, which usually indicate a level of structural failure.
How to Repair the Crack
Follow these step-by-step instructions to repair your cracked brick. The process should take approximately 2 to 3 hours depending on the severity of the damage:
Step 1: Safety First
Protect your eyes with a pair of safety googles and cover your face with mask to avoid inhaling bits of brick or mortar, then remove the pieces of broken brick with a sledgehammer and chisel. Slightly expand the crack in the brick with the chisel. Using a wire brush, clean all the debris out of the chiseled area and rinse throughly with a garden hose. The crack is now ready to be filled.
Step 2: Mix the Mortar
Mix the mortar according to the directions on the package. Spread a little mortar on a scrap of corrugated cardboard and allow it to dry to test the color. You may need to add mortar coloring to the mortar to match the previous mortar’s color. It may take several test patches to find the proper match.
Step 3: Get the Perfect Shade
When you have achieved the desired mortar shade, wet the crack down throughly with a garden hose. This should remove any lingering debris and moisten the repair site.
Step 4: Fill the Crack
Using a small trowel, fill the crack with mortar. You will need to pack the mortar in firmly, occasionally tapping it down into the depth of the break. Fill the gap as evenly as possible.
Step 5: Finish It
Once the gap is solidly filled with mortar, finish the surface of the mortar with a mortar jointer and/or the trowel. The jointer should be used to make the joints, the area between the bricks, while the trowel should be used to smooth mortar on the brick surface.
Step 6: Left to Cure
When you have finished the surface, allow the repaired area to cure. The mortar should be left to cure thoroughly for at least one full week.
Step 7: Moisten Each Day
During the curing process, you will need to lightly moisten with patched area with water several times of day.
Step 8: Finishing Touch
Optionally, you may finish the mortar-filled cracks by painting the repaired area to match the surrounding wall. In the case of a painted wall, touch up with the same exterior paint. To disguise the crack in a brick, use cement paint in an identical color as the bricks and apply it carefully to the crack where it dissects the brick.
Tools & Supplies
Quick Prevention Tips
You can avoid and minimize cracks in the future by remembering two basic things – minimize the movement of the bricks and allow for some give.
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