December 2, 2023
common defects in brickwork

Common Defects in Brickwork

Common Defects in Brickwork

Brickwork is a popular choice for construction due to its durability and aesthetic appeal. However, like any other building material, brickwork is not immune to defects. In this blog post, we will discuss some common defects in brickwork and provide insights into how to address them.

1. Straight Cracks

Straight cracks are one of the most commonly observed defects in brickwork. These cracks appear in a straight line and can be caused by various factors, such as thermal expansion and contraction, foundation settlement, or poor workmanship. To address straight cracks, it is important to identify the underlying cause and take appropriate measures. This may involve repairing the crack with mortar or applying reinforcement.

2. Random Cracks

Random cracks, as the name suggests, appear in a random pattern and can be caused by similar factors as straight cracks. However, random cracks may also be a result of poor bonding between bricks or inadequate mortar joints. To address random cracks, it is crucial to assess the structural integrity of the brickwork and ensure proper bonding and mortar joints.

3. Brick Spalling

Brick spalling refers to the flaking or breaking of the brick surface. This defect can occur due to moisture penetration, freeze-thaw cycles, or the use of low-quality bricks. To address brick spalling, it is important to identify and eliminate the source of moisture, repair or replace the damaged bricks, and consider applying a protective coating to prevent further damage.

4. Chuffs

Chuffs are irregularly shaped cracks that occur at the corners of bricks. They can be caused by excessive moisture, poor workmanship, or inadequate mortar joints. To address chuffs, it is essential to identify the underlying cause and take appropriate measures, such as repairing the crack with mortar or replacing the damaged bricks.

5. Lime Blowing

Lime blowing refers to the formation of white powder on the surface of bricks. This defect occurs due to the presence of excessive lime in the brick or mortar. To address lime blowing, it is important to assess the composition of the bricks and mortar used and consider replacing them if necessary.

6. Over burning of bricks

Over burning of bricks happens when they are subjected to excessive heat during the firing process. This can result in bricks becoming too hard and brittle, leading to reduced strength and increased porosity. The excessive heat can also cause the bricks to shrink, resulting in cracking and distortion.

7. Under burning of bricks

Under burning of bricks occurs when they are not fired at a high enough temperature. This leads to insufficient bonding between the particles, resulting in weak bricks that are prone to crumbling and disintegration. Under-burnt bricks may also have a high water absorption rate, making them susceptible to damage from moisture.

8. Bloating of bricks

Bloating of bricks is caused by the presence of excess impurities in the clay used for making bricks. When these impurities are subjected to high temperatures during firing, they expand, causing the bricks to swell and bloat. This defect not only affects the appearance of the bricks but also reduces their strength and durability.

9. Black core

Black core is a defect that occurs when bricks are not properly dried before firing. The presence of moisture in the bricks leads to the formation of a black core, which is a sign of incomplete combustion. Bricks with a black core are weaker and more prone to cracking and crumbling.

10. Efflorescence

Efflorescence is a common defects in brickwork. It is characterized by the appearance of white, powdery deposits on the surface of the bricks. Efflorescence is caused by the migration of soluble salts to the surface of the bricks, which crystallize when they come into contact with air and water. This defect not only affects the aesthetic appeal of the brickwork but also indicates the presence of moisture-related issues.

11. Spots

One of the most common defects in brickwork is the presence of spots on the surface of bricks. These spots can be caused by various factors such as efflorescence, algae growth, or even improper curing. To prevent spots, it is essential to use high-quality bricks and ensure proper curing during construction. Additionally, regular cleaning and maintenance can help remove any spots that may appear over time.

12. Lamination Bricks

Lamination bricks are another defect that can occur in brickwork. This defect is characterized by the separation of layers within the brick, leading to reduced structural integrity. Lamination can be caused by poor quality control during the manufacturing process or improper handling and storage of bricks. To prevent lamination, it is crucial to source bricks from reputable suppliers and handle them with care during transportation and storage.

13. Oversize Bricks

Oversize bricks can pose a significant challenge during construction. These bricks do not fit properly in the designated spaces, leading to gaps and uneven surfaces. The most common cause of oversize bricks is improper manufacturing techniques or inadequate quality control. To avoid this defect, it is essential to verify the dimensions of the bricks before purchasing and ensure they meet the required standards.

14. Under-size Bricks

On the other end of the spectrum, under-size bricks can also be a problem in brickwork. These bricks are smaller than the standard size, resulting in weak joints and reduced structural stability. Under-size bricks can be caused by improper manufacturing techniques or inadequate quality control. To prevent this defect, it is crucial to verify the dimensions of the bricks before purchasing and ensure they meet the required standards.

15. Slump Brick Shape

Slump brick shape refers to bricks that have a distorted or uneven shape. This defect can occur due to improper handling during transportation or incorrect placement during construction. To prevent slump brick shape, it is important to handle the bricks with care and ensure proper alignment and placement during construction.

16. Rounded Corner Brick

One common defect in brickwork is the presence of rounded corner bricks. This occurs when the corners of the bricks become worn or chipped over time, resulting in a rounded appearance. Rounded corner bricks can weaken the overall structure and may require replacement to ensure stability.

17. Lip on Bed Face

Another defect to watch out for is a lip on the bed face of the bricks. This defect happens when the mortar joint is not properly aligned with the brick surface, creating a protrusion. A lip on the bed face can affect the aesthetics of the brickwork and may also impact the structural integrity if left unattended.

18. Banana Brick Shape

A banana-shaped brick is a defect that occurs when the bricks are not properly aligned during the construction process. This defect can lead to uneven walls and compromised structural stability. It is important to identify and replace banana-shaped bricks to maintain the integrity of the brickwork.

19. Distorted Brick Under Face

Distorted bricks under the face are a defect that can occur due to poor manufacturing or handling. These bricks have an uneven or bulging surface on the underside, which can affect the overall appearance and stability of the brickwork. It is crucial to remove and replace distorted bricks to ensure a uniform and structurally sound finish.

20. Stacking Marks on Bricks

Stacking marks on bricks are common defects in brickwork that can occur during transportation or storage. These marks appear as indentations or scratches on the surface of the bricks, detracting from the visual appeal of the brickwork. While stacking marks do not usually affect the structural integrity, they can be unsightly and may require cosmetic repairs.

21. Brick Multiple Distortions

Brick multiple distortions refer to a combination of defects, such as cracks, chips, or uneven surfaces, present on a single brick. These defects can occur due to various factors, including poor manufacturing, handling, or installation. Brick multiple distortions should be addressed promptly to prevent further damage and ensure a visually pleasing finish.


While it is essential to identify and understand the causes and effects of these defects, it is equally important to know how to remedy them. Here are some possible remedies:

  • For over-burnt bricks, replacing them with properly fired bricks is the best solution.
  • Under-burnt bricks can be replaced with properly fired bricks or by using cement mortar to improve their strength.
  • To address bloating of bricks, it is necessary to use high-quality clay with minimal impurities and ensure proper firing techniques.
  • Black core can be prevented by ensuring thorough drying of the bricks before firing.
  • Efflorescence can be minimized by using proper waterproofing techniques and ensuring adequate drainage.


Understanding the common defects in brickwork is crucial for builders, contractors, and homeowners alike. By being aware of these defects and their causes, effects, and remedies, one can take the necessary steps to prevent or rectify them. Regular inspections, quality control measures, and proper construction techniques can go a long way in ensuring the durability and longevity of brickwork.

Also Read

Types of Bricks Used to Build a House

Types of Bonds in Brick Masonry

FAQs on Defects in Brickwork

Brickwork is a common construction technique used in buildings and structures. However, like any other construction material, brickwork can sometimes have defects that need to be addressed. In this blog post, we will answer some frequently asked questions about defects in brickwork.

1. What are the common defects in brickwork?

Some common defects in brickwork include cracks, efflorescence, spalling, and bulging. Cracks can occur due to settlement, thermal expansion, or structural issues. Efflorescence is the white powdery deposit that forms on the surface of bricks due to the migration of salts. Spalling refers to the flaking or chipping of the brick surface, while bulging is the outward displacement of the brickwork.

2. How can cracks in brickwork be repaired?

The repair of cracks in brickwork depends on the severity and cause of the crack. Small cracks can be repaired using mortar or sealants, while larger cracks may require the removal and replacement of the affected bricks. It is important to identify and address the underlying cause of the crack to prevent further damage.

3. What causes efflorescence in brickwork?

Efflorescence in brickwork is caused by the migration of salts from within the bricks to the surface. This can occur due to moisture infiltration, improper curing of the bricks, or the presence of soluble salts in the building materials. Efflorescence is more common in areas with high humidity or where there is regular exposure to moisture.

4. How can efflorescence be removed from brickwork?

Efflorescence can be removed from brickwork using various cleaning methods. One common method is to use a mild acid solution or a specialized efflorescence cleaner. It is important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and take necessary precautions when using these cleaning agents. Additionally, addressing the source of moisture and improving drainage can help prevent the recurrence of efflorescence.

5. Can spalling be repaired in brickwork?

Spalling in brickwork can be repaired by removing the damaged bricks and replacing them with new ones. The underlying cause of the spalling, such as water infiltration or freeze-thaw cycles, should also be addressed to prevent further damage. It is recommended to consult a professional for the repair of spalling in brickwork.

Er. Thalib Mushtaq Tantary

My name is Er. Thalib Mushtaq Tantry and I am the founder of this very site. I am a MBA and civil engineering student and I love to help people get out of trouble they counter in their lives.

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