Brick veneer cracking is one of the most common brick veneer problems we encounter, with cracking often associated with either insufficient or poorly located veneer expansion joints. Brick, like many other construction materials, expand and/or contract with changes in temperature and humidity though brick masonry will typically expand overall during its service life.
Cracking often results when brick veneer is either not designed or installed to accommodate these expected movements. We saw this type of brick veneer cracking firsthand at a recent project in Medford, MA where an eleven-story brick veneer clad building contained frequent cracks at building corners, wall recesses, and fenestration reentrant corners.
The likely culprit? No brick veneer expansion joists apart from one elevation with a single vertical expansion joint.
The Brick Industry Association Technical Note 18A provides a practical guide to aid designers in specifying brick veneer expansion joints to reduce the potential for future veneer cracking.