Qu'est-ce qui cause les fissures ou l'éclatement des briques?
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What Causes Bricks to Crack or Splinter?

What Causes Bricks to Crack or Splinter?


As the experts in masonry at Maçonnerie Montréal, we're often asked about the problems that homeowners face with their brick structures, particularly about why bricks crack or splinter. To answer this question, we've prepared an in-depth guide to explain the reasons behind these issues and how they can be prevented.

Table of Contents

  1. The Nature of Bricks
  2. Causes of Cracked and Splintered Bricks
  3. Prevention and Solutions
  4. The Importance of Professional Masonry Services
  5. Conclusion
  1. The Nature of Bricks

Bricks have been a favored building material for centuries due to their durability, aesthetic appeal, and fire resistance. However, despite their robustness, they are not invincible. Understanding the nature of bricks - their composition, curing process, and how they respond to environmental changes - is key to comprehend why they might crack or splinter.

Composition of Bricks: Bricks are primarily made from clay or shale and are solidified through the process of firing at high temperatures. This process gives bricks their strength but also makes them vulnerable to certain conditions.

Response to Environment: Bricks are porous, meaning they absorb and release moisture. Changes in moisture content can lead to expansion and contraction, potentially causing cracks if the process is abrupt or extreme.

  1. Causes of Cracked and Splintered Bricks

Several factors contribute to the cracking or splintering of bricks. These include:

  1. Moisture and Frost Damage: In colder climates, like here in Montreal, bricks can absorb water that freezes and expands during winter. This process, known as freeze-thaw, can lead to cracking or flaking of the brick surface, also known as spalling.
  2. Structural Movement: Any movement within the structure of the building can cause bricks to crack. This can be due to ground settlement, heaving, or shifts in the building's foundation.
  3. Thermal Expansion: Bricks, like most materials, expand when heated and contract when cooled. Over time, these changes can lead to stress that may result in cracking.
  4. Salt Crystallization: When bricks absorb salty water, salt crystals can form as the water evaporates. These expanding salt crystals can cause stress within the brick, leading to cracks and spalls.
  5. Pressure from Vegetation: Plants and trees growing near brick structures can put pressure on the bricks, causing them to crack or splinter.
  6. Incorrect Installation: If bricks are not properly installed or the mortar mix is incorrect, it can lead to issues like cracking and splintering.
  7. Prevention and Solutions

There are several ways to prevent and treat cracked or splintered bricks:

  1. Appropriate Construction Techniques: Employing proper installation methods and using a suitable mortar mix can help avoid many brick issues.
  2. Regular Inspection: Routine inspections can help identify potential problems before they escalate.
  3. Water-Repellent Treatments: These can help protect bricks from water infiltration and freeze-thaw damage.
  4. Repairing Cracked or Splintered Bricks: If you notice damaged bricks, professional repair can help restore the structure's integrity and appearance.
  5. The Importance of Professional Masonry Services

When it comes to maintaining the integrity of your brick structures, professional services from an experienced company like Maçonnerie Montréal are invaluable. We offer top-quality masonry repair services across Montreal, Laval, Longueuil, South Shore, and North Shore. Our skilled masons are equipped to handle everything from minor crack repairs to major masonry restorations.

  1. Conclusion

Bricks are an appealing, durable choice for building structures. But as they are susceptible to cracking and splintering due to various factors, proper care, preventive measures, and regular inspections are essential. Maçonnerie Montréal is committed to providing comprehensive masonry services to ensure the longevity and aesthetic of your brick structures.

For more information or to schedule a service, don't hesitate to contact us!