Although bricklaying is a great way to build new projects, there are problems that come with it.  These problems include brickwork defects. It can be difficult to build an extension or new build without some sort of defect. The defect can be caused from something as simple as the weather.  There are many more reasons as to why there are defects in brickwork. However, thankfully there are also solutions to these problems.

Chipping and Spalling

For example, the chipping and spalling of bricks and formation of cracks is due to a sulphate attack. This problem occurs when sulphate salt is present in brick work. A reaction happens which causes an increase in the volume of mortar which leads to cracks and chippings of brickwork. The majority of this type of defect is found in an exposed wall, retaining walls which encounter moisture, and a parapet wall. A sulphate attack can be avoided by minimising the entry of moisture. This can be minimised by using good quality materials.


Efflorescence or crystallisation of salts from bricks is a defect that happens during the presence of too much salt in the brick. When the soluble salts inside the brick encounter water, the salt dissolves and becomes powder. This creates a dull look on the wall, however, the simple way to stop this look is by brushing and washing the wall.

Corrosion and Shrinkage

Another issue with water is that the dampness in many buildings can cause corrosion. This is called corrosion of embedded iron or steel. The dampness increases the volume of steel which creates cracks in the brickwork. By reinforcing thick cement and making sure a cover of 15 to 25 mm is around the embedded member, this problem can be minimised. In a lot of brickwork projects, cracks can appear due to shrinkage. Bricks are more likely to absorb water, therefore, the brick swells. Once the water is gone is shrinks back down again but it causes cracks in the joints of the brickwork. Shrinkage should be able to be avoided by using good quality brick and mortar which protects bricks from water.

Even though these defects can effect a project or building quite seriously, knowing that there are many solutions can benefit many bricklayers, in terms of their knowledge and skills.

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