Does this look concerning? Mortar cracks and render

17 May 2021
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United Kingdom
Good Afternoon,

Been in the property a few years now.

Now I believe these mortar cracks have been there probably since we have been here but basically noticed today above in the render is where a slight crack is above the window is in line with the mortar cracks. Last September, we had a decorator fill in some of the render cracks and repainted and generally held up pretty well. Now as I said slightly cracked again at one point. Not sure if it is the filler pulling away from the old render. As far as I could see it is probably original render from 60s when built.

I have enclosed the photo of the brickwork below and also the bit of render referring to. Just wondered if any of this looks concerning.

In the mortar it doesn’t go all the way to the ground.

Just wondering if can just get this bottom half of house repointed or whether needs investigation. Don’t want to pay out unnecessarily on a SE if not needed as my husband is in the process of being made redundant. We did have some stuff looked at last year by a couple of different SE so not necessarily a survey but would have hoped if saw something really concerning they would have mentioned it.

I know when one looked at the render he said thermal related and old render


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he said thermal related and old render

He is correct, absolutely nothing to worry about.

As an aside I had to enlarge your images X10 to see the cracks.

Perfectly normal, age and thermal related. No need for any investigations, al all.

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Repaired cracked render invariably re-cracks.

For the brickwork, a stepped crack below a window and above a drain always has the potential to be foundation movement related (leaking drain), and should be monitored to see if it widens .
Would you not advise repointing it then?

We were meant to be selling, had an offer etc but then had to pull out due to husband losing his job. Wanting to sell in the near future so not sure whether to leave as is or repoint to repair?

I have photos from 2018 and can see the cracks on there. Probably there before then. It’s not as obvious as further back and sideways view but can definetley see them there.


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Would it not go all the way to the bottom of the wall though? As it only goes few bricks below the window?
Woody, the brick crack looks as if it is affecting 3 courses down from the Sill only?
If you re-point? it will draw attention to the area, that could trigger questions as to why was it re-pointed.

Subsidence is the vertical downward movement of the Foundations, as you point out the hairline cracks do not reach anywhere near ground level?
Would you not advise repointing it then?
Normally you would not do a repair unless you were sure of the cause and that it had stopped moving. Otherwise it will just crack again.

The problem with freshly pointed cracks, is that firstly it stands out a mile, and secondly anyone seeing it wonders why it was pointed and why it cracked in the first place.

If you want to hide it you need to point a wider area and then age it and blend it in.
Woody, the brick crack looks as if it is affecting 3 courses down from the Sill only?
Stepped cracking is not exclusive to, but more common with movement that is not thermal (ie sideways), and as the crack is below a cill (ie higher up) then that too is more common in a vertical/rotational movement.

I just think it needs monitoring for now as it could be one of several things
Could it not have been to do with windows were replaced?

And how long does it need monitoring as like I say it’s been this way for several
years and with us wanting to sell too?
Nothing to do with windows.

Monitoring = informal having a look at it now and again to see if its getting bigger.
Well we had been planning to repoint the whole bottom area not just where the cracks are. The mortar is old, probably original mortar and as such bits missing and when you brush it dusts away. And some
splits in it. The bit that sticks out doesn’t need repointing as newer.

Now the bit that sticks out to the left in picture was previously a garage which we discovered only well after we bought the property. We had it checked by a structural engineer as realised a wall must have been removed. He advised to rebuild the central pier bit inside so where it sticks out to give it better structural support as by his calculations it was highly stressed. He said he couldn’t see adverse signs of it but by his calcs needed doing. We had this done and was signed off by building control. Could this have caused anything here?

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