Brick Problems

Some of the problems you may encounter when designing and building using masonry products:

Bricks/Blocks/Stone Products


  • Variation in the size of the unit
  • The product is bowed
  • The product bellies out in the middle


  • Surface defects
  • Drag marks on the surface of the brick
  • Cracking in the bricks
  • Edge chipping
  • Colour variation
  • Different batch numbers
  • Erosion or fretting of the brick face
  • Not first grade bricks
  • Brick product is different from the samples


  • Calcium salts of surface – ‘efflorescence’
  • Vanadium salts
  • Manganese salts
  • Copper stains
  • Iron stains

Bricklaying Issues

Mortar & Mortar Joints:

  • The mortar is powdery
  • Joints have not been tooled smooth
  • There are cracks in the mortar
  • Loss of bond between the brick and the mortar
  • Stepped cracking
  • Variation in mortar quality
  • White salts in the mortar
  • Variation in mortar joint thickness
  • Joints raked deeper than 6mm
  • Variation in the depth of the rake on the joint
  • Variation in the colour of the mortar
  • Mortar joints don’t line up
  • Holes in the mortar – joints not full
  • Joints less than 7mm and greater than 13mm
  • The bottom mortar joint is greater than 20mm


  • Sills do not slope 15 degrees minimum
  • The slope of the sills is not uniform
  • The sills vary in the amount they overhang
  • Sill bricks are not even in width
  • The sills to not meet code requirements


  • The bricks have not been half-bonded
  • The bricklayer has not followed the specification
  • There is not an even spread of colour
  • The bricks have not been properly cleaned
  • There is mortar in the brick cavity
  • The wrong brick tie has been used
  • I’m within 500m of the high tide and my brick ties are not stainless
  • Insufficient bricks have been used
  • The bricks are not straight
  • The brick veneer is not plumb
  • The brick veneer is not level
  • The bricks have not been cut straight on the perpend joints
  • Not enough weep holes and/or vent holes
  • Poorly installed steel lintel
  • The flashings around openings do not seem right
  • The bricks over hang the foundation more than 20mm
  • Bricks with obvious defects have been laid
  • There is an issue with water getting in
  • The concrete up-stand has not been sealed
  • What should I use to seal my veneer?
  • The cavity is less than 40mm?
  • The cavity is greater than 75mm?


  • You would like to ‘stack-bond’ your veneer
  • You do not wish to design/build to E2/AS1
  • You need written and approved ‘Alternative Solutions’
  • Can I use ‘brick slips’?
  • What is the best way to build 2 storey brick veneers?
  • You need help designing a brick wall
  • A problem detailing and flashing a particular junction
  • You wish to use second-hand bricks, what do I need
  • I wish to use a Series 10, 90mm block veneer
  • How do I cut a hole into an existing brick wall?
  • What options do I have to support bricks over openings?

Please note:

As a self-employed building consultant, who specializes in brick, I do not provide a free Technical Helpline for the brick industry, however, I am happy to discuss your issue and provide an estimate or quote where it is practical to do so, to help resolve your issues. Simple straight forward questions should be directed to the brick industry.