Structural building damage can have a profound and far-reaching impact on brick exteriors, potentially leading to a cascade of issues that affect both the aesthetic and structural integrity of a building. If you have cracked or damaged bricks, it can be a sign of structural damage that needs to be addressed. Here are nine ways structural damage can impact your building’s brickwork.
1. Crack Formation
One of the most visible consequences of structural damage is the formation of cracks in the walls, including brick exteriors. As a building settles or experiences stress from foundation issues, these cracks can propagate through the brickwork. These cracks not only compromise the visual appeal of the façade but also allow moisture to penetrate, leading to further problems.
2. Moisture Infiltration
When structural damage causes cracks or gaps in a building’s structure, it creates pathways for moisture infiltration. Rainwater and even high humidity levels can seep into the building envelope through these openings. Brick exteriors are particularly vulnerable to moisture damage, as water absorption can lead to efflorescence, spalling, and other issues.
Efflorescence is a white, powdery deposit that forms on the surface of bricks when water containing dissolved salts evaporates, leaving the salts behind. Structural damage that allows moisture infiltration can accelerate efflorescence formation, marring the appearance of the brick façade and potentially causing long-term damage to the brick.
Spalling occurs when moisture trapped within bricks freezes and expands, causing the brick’s surface to flake or chip away. Structural issues that lead to moisture infiltration can exacerbate spalling, eventually weakening the structural integrity of the brick exterior.
5. Mold and Mildew Growth
Moisture infiltration resulting from structural damage creates a conducive environment for mold and mildew growth. These unsightly and potentially harmful microorganisms can thrive on the porous surface of bricks, tarnishing the building’s appearance and posing health risks to occupants.
6. Deterioration of Mortar Joints
The mortar joints between bricks are essential for the stability of the brick façade. Structural damage can cause settling or shifting, which in turn leads to the deterioration of these mortar joints. Crumbling or missing mortar not only weakens the structural integrity but also detracts from the aesthetics of the building.
7. Structural Instability
Perhaps the most severe consequence of structural damage is the potential for compromised structural stability. When the foundation or load-bearing elements of a building experience damage or shifting, it can put excessive stress on the brick exterior. This can lead to bulging, leaning, or even the collapse of the brick walls.
8. Decreased Property Value
The visible structural damage and its subsequent impact on brick exteriors can significantly reduce the property’s value. The prospect of costly repairs often deters potential buyers, and the diminished curb appeal can make it challenging to sell the property at a desirable price.
9. Safety Hazards
In extreme cases, structural damage can pose immediate safety hazards to building occupants and pedestrians. A compromised brick exterior can shed bricks or debris, leading to accidents and injuries.
If you have damaged brickwork, it is vital to have a building inspection to determine if you have structural damage. For over 90 years, Anglin’s Foundation & Masonry Repair has performed quality repairs for foundations and affected masonry or brickwork. We serve all of Northern Georgia – call us to schedule your building and masonry inspection. By addressing these issues proactively, you can preserve both the aesthetic and structural integrity of your building.
Posted on behalf of John Anglin, Anglin’s Foundation & Masonry Repairs