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  1. #1
    Michael Vasquez's Avatar
    Michael Vasquez Guest

    Default Brick siding expansion joints

    I inspected a new construction home the other day and did not observe an expansion joint in the brick siding. Are movement joints required in new construction?

    Thanks

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  2. #2
    Brad Peterson's Avatar
    Brad Peterson Guest

    Default Re: Brick siding expansion joints

    Expansion joints are installed when the square footage of the wall requires so. Most residental homes don't have a large enough surface to require them . One may see them if the mason thinks it would be important and installs it at the onset of construction. They are like weep holes or drain tubs one hardly ever sees them any more and they were common in years past.
    Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy Inspection Year


  3. #3
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Brick siding expansion joints

    I don't generally see them on NC residential. If it's NC, do you have access to the stamped plans? Check the plans see what's on them, general exterior pages and detail sections.
    As far as brick siding, are you talking about 1 layer brick over CMU or what?

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  4. #4
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    Default Re: Brick siding expansion joints

    Check the BIA website for best practices. Expansion joints are important and are regularly installed on residential here although I don't remember seeing anything in the IRC about it. Seems like I remember something about every 30', but that is a fuzzy memory.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Brick siding expansion joints

    Jim,

    Thinking it was like 25' when I first read it, but good advice on checking with BIA.

    rick


  6. #6
    Jake Guerrero's Avatar
    Jake Guerrero Guest

    Default Re: Brick siding expansion joints

    Expanding on Jim's recommendation, try this link:

    http://www.bia.org/bia/technotes/t18a.pdf


  7. #7
    Ken Bates's Avatar
    Ken Bates Guest

    Default Re: Brick siding expansion joints

    When I see them on commercial bldgs in Boston they are at every 50 feet by my estimate.


  8. #8
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    Default Re: Brick siding expansion joints

    Expanding on Jim's and Jake's posts: (underlining is mine)

    SUMMARY OF RECOMMENDATIONS:

    TECHNICAL NOTES
    on Brick Construction 18A

    November
    2006
    1850 Centennial Park Drive, Reston, Virginia 20191



    | Brick Industry Association - BIA | 703-620-0010


    Vertical Expansion Joints in Brick Veneer:
    • For brickwork without openings, space no more than 25 ft (7.6 m) o.c.
    • For brickwork with multiple openings, consider symmetrical placement of expansion joints and reduced spacing of no more than 20 ft (6.1 m) o.c.
    • When spacing between vertical expansion joints in parapets is more than 15 ft (4.6 m), make expansion joints wider or place additional expansion joints halfway between full-height expansion joints
    • Place as follows:
    - at or near corners
    - at offsets and setbacks
    - at wall intersections
    - at changes in wall height
    - where wall backing system changes
    - where support of brick veneer changes
    - where wall function or climatic exposure changes
    • Extend to top of brickwork, including parapets

    Horizontal Expansion Joints in Brick Veneer:
    • Locate immediately below shelf angles
    • Minimum Ό in. (6.4 mm) space or compressible material recommended below shelf angle
    • For brick infill, place between the top of brickwork and structural frame

    Brickwork Without Shelf Angles:
    • Accommodate brickwork movement by:
    - placing expansion joints around elements that are rigidly attached to the frame and project into the veneer, such as windows and door frames
    - installing metal caps or copings that allow independent vertical movement of wythes
    - installing jamb receptors that allow independent movement between the brick and window frame
    - installing adjustable anchors or ties

    Expansion Joint Sealants:
    • Comply with ASTM C 920, Grade NS, Use M
    • Class 50 minimum extensibility recommended; Class 25 alternate
    • Consult sealant manufacturer’s literature for guidance regarding use of primer and backing materials

    Bond Breaks:
    • Use building paper or flashing to separate brickwork from dissimilar materials, foundations and slabs

    Loadbearing Masonry:
    • Use reinforcement to accommodate stress concentrations, particularly in parapets, at applied loading points and around openings
    • Consider effect of vertical expansion joints on brickwork stability




    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  9. #9
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
    Ted Menelly Guest

    Default Re: Brick siding expansion joints

    I call them control joints around here. Homes move so much with clay soil that if you did not have control joints in the brick around here to allow the home to flex and move at those joints there would be cracks all over the place.

    If you have tall windows in a home it should be concidered to have more than one control joint. When ever the windows only have a few courses of bricks under them there is always cracks. The only ones that don't have cracks in the bricks are the homes with mutiple control joints. Homes are going to move, expand, contrat. The slabs are always going to move no matter what precautions you have taken in the structure. Other than full piers around the home before they pour the slab. Even then I have found cracks in the brick work but usually limited.


  10. #10
    Homebuyer's Avatar
    Homebuyer Guest

    Default Re: Brick siding expansion joints

    Hi Ted,

    i am about to purchase a house in Plano. On the brick siding, there is a vertical caulk line along the edge of a window on the east wall of the house, and the inspector calls it the expansion joint. Is it a general practice for the masons in this area to put the expansion joints in the brick siding? And, Is it usually a place that the masons put the expansion joint in a house? the wall is about 40 feet long and the window is right at the midle of the wall. this is the only visible expansion joint in the house.
    Your explaination on this will be really appreciated.

    Thanks,


  11. #11
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Brick siding expansion joints

    Hello Homebuyer, I am not Ted, but what I read of his post from December is correct. Either the mason puts expansion joints in the correct locations or the brick will make its own expansion joint in the form of a crack at the stress points.
    In general look for an expansion joint about every 30 feet or one on each side of the typical ranch home here. You may not need a typical expansion joint if the wall is broken by a doorway, siding, etc. so it is not necessarily an error if there is one on one side but not on another side of the house. That said, there is more to the subject but expansion joints are recommended if not required to allow for thermal expansion of the brick, not really designed for dealing with foundation movement but they can help prevent damage from our expansive clay soils and post tension foundations. The expansion joints should only have flexible sealant, not mortar.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  12. #12
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Brick siding expansion joints

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Luttrall View Post
    That said, there is more to the subject but expansion joints are recommended if not required to allow for thermal expansion of the brick,

    Not only thermal expansion but growth in size of the brick.

    When a brick comes out of the oven, it is the smallest it will ever be. That brick will only get larger as it absorbs humidity and moisture.

    Then you build a wall facing the sun ... and there is your thermal expansion added to the normal expansion of the brick.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  13. #13
    Homebuyer's Avatar
    Homebuyer Guest

    Default Re: Brick siding expansion joints

    Thank you very much, Jim and Jerry.
    There are some visible crack lines on the brick siding near the corners of the house, too. For those cracks caused by expansion, is there any way to fix it? are they going to widen overtime?
    Your advices are really appreciated, gents.


  14. #14
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Brick siding expansion joints

    For those cracks caused by expansion, is there any way to fix it? are they going to widen overtime?
    First you really need to know the reason for the cracks. Lack of expansion joints? Foundation movement? Vibration from doors slamming? Impact? Fix the cause first or the crack will just reappear over time.
    Cracks in the mortar can be re-pointed. Cracked brick can be cut out and replaced. If you have enough money to throw at a problem, pretty much anything on a house can be fixed.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

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