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Common Masonry Issues

Efflorescence
Step Cracks
Vertical Cracks
Bulging Bricks or Masonry Walls
Compacted Bricks
Steel Lintel Deflection
Mortar Deterioration
Efflorescence:  Efflorescence is a crystalline, salty deposit that occurs on the surface of bricks, concrete and other masonry products.  It is a off white, and sometimes even brilliant white in color.
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In order for efflorescence to occur, there must be water present to dissolve and transport salts to the brick surface by moisture and capillary action.  

Step Cracks: 

Step cracks can be found especially in areas where there is a lot of thawing and freezing, they are caused by settling walls.  Step cracks are pretty common, however they should be addressed when found. 

Vertical Corner Cracks:  Vertical corner cracks are caused by soil shrinkage due to drought like conditions around and beneath you foundation.

Mortar Deterioration:  Excessive moisture can cause mortar deterioration.  To prevent damage the flow of water needs to be directed away from the brick.