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Re: Shrinkage cracks in masonry walls

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     The only solution I see is a cosmetic one.  Assuming that the cracks
won't get significantly larger I would fill them with an epoxy which could
be smoothed on the surface for the smooth blocks and would provide a base
for re-integrating the split faced look for the S.F.blocks.  An epoxy would
be much easier to get into the cracks than would mortar or cement and would
somewhat insure waterproofness for the interior.

                                                        Greg Smith
-----Original Message-----
From: RJConley(--nospam--at) <RJConley(--nospam--at)>
To: seaint(--nospam--at) <seaint(--nospam--at)>
Date: Saturday, February 13, 1999 5:48 PM
Subject: Shrinkage cracks in masonry walls

>I have recently inspected a newly constructed single story CMU building and
>have noted shrinkage cracks in the walls below a significant number of
>windows.  Typically there is a crack below the window sill that runs
>vertically (4'-0") from the window sill to the foundation.  The cracks do
>stair step but have split the face shell of the block at alternate courses.
>The walls are reinforced (#5 @ 32 vert. & #5 @ 40 horiz typ.) solid grouted
>CMU.  After reviewing the design docs, contractor submittals and inspection
>reports I have good idea of why this happened.
>My problem is what to do, if anything, to mitigate this visually for the
>who lets say is not fully satisfied.  The blocks are a mix of split and
>face colored CMU and the mortar is colored to match.  The mortar could be
>pointed but trying to fill the cracks in the face shell probably highlight
>This is a dessert environment and the cracks are tight (~1/32") but would
>moisture penetration through these pose a significant problem to the
>wall finishes?  There are no planters near the wall so it will not get
>during irrigation of the grass.
>Any thoughts of this would be appreciated.
>Bob Conley, P.E.