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  1. #1
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    Default Brick Veneer Help

    I need some help with the brick veneer on this single story house built in 1990. What I would call pretty significant gaps have opened up between the window jambs and the brick veneer around most of the house. I think the size of these cracks are greater than the usual differential settlement and separation expected with brick veneer.

    There are no indications of settlement or cracking on the interior of the home and the wood framed structure of the hose is very well built and on the high end of what I see in my market.

    I think a comment greater than the obvious potential water intrusion and caulking needed is maybe warranted here. I suspect the brick ties are too few or perhaps absent but obviously I cannot see that. Looking down the brick walls no bowing is observable and significant pushing on the brick suggested nothing other than a solid wall.

    I am very careful about passing the buck and suggesting someone else look at things...I generally like to make the call...but I'm uncertain here.

    So my question....what do you think from the pics? Are my suspicions warranted or are these gaps within expected norms and how would you write it up?

    Thanks

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Brick Veneer Help

    Are those the original windows? They do not look like 20 year old windows.....

    Are all of the windows like that or are the located in a specific area?

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Brick Veneer Help

    Have to agree with Scott. Looks like the windows were replaced and not caulked properly.
    Which also means homeowner install.
    You can see the old caulk at the old window position in one photo.


  4. #4
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    Default Re: Brick Veneer Help

    Was there a brick ledge or other means to support the brick, and what was its condition?


  5. #5
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    Default Re: Brick Veneer Help

    I think that it's likely that at some time the windows were replaced.
    The new windows were not caulked properly (if at all) when they were installed.
    You could be seeing the caulk line from the old windows.

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Brick Veneer Help

    Interesting observation about the windows. I agree from the exterior the windows may look newer than 1990 but on the interior they looked original. This house is vacant and the owner deceased and inquiries with the realtor who was present during the inspection yielded "assumed they were original".

    answers to your questions...

    The brick ledge or any other means of support was not visible.

    I assumed the caulk was the original and it's distance away from the jamb was caused by movement. I find it difficult to fathom that even replacement window installers would leave cracks of that size...maybe I need to downgrade my window installer opinion.

    This condition exists around the entire house to varying degrees...it is not just in one area.


  7. #7
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    Default Re: Brick Veneer Help

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Foster View Post
    Interesting observation about the windows. I agree from the exterior the windows may look newer than 1990 but on the interior they looked original. This house is vacant and the owner deceased and inquiries with the realtor who was present during the inspection yielded "assumed they were original".

    answers to your questions...

    The brick ledge or any other means of support was not visible.

    I assumed the caulk was the original and it's distance away from the jamb was caused by movement. I find it difficult to fathom that even replacement window installers would leave cracks of that size...maybe I need to downgrade my window installer opinion.

    This condition exists around the entire house to varying degrees...it is not just in one area.
    I think I would have to go with the windows being replaced and not sealed properly. If you are not 100% sure, defer to a window specialist for proper sealing, etc. This is about all we can do as a home inspector when the light in our crystal ball grows dim.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
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    Default Re: Brick Veneer Help

    Thanks for the replies....and keeping me on track.

    Only reported on what I could actually see....improperly sealed window to brick joint.


  9. #9
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    Default Re: Brick Veneer Help

    Robert,

    An idea for you. Don't assume it's due to poor window installation or to movement. I'd suggest reporting "significant gaps between windows and brick work - cause was not determined. Repair is necessary." It's simple and is as complete as it needs to be.

    Personally, I wouldn't like to steer someone towards a repair that could possibly turn out to be inadequate. Being a little vague in a report can sometimes keep you out of being backed into a corner later on.

    Eric Barker, ACI
    Lake Barrington, IL

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Brick Veneer Help

    I agree with Eric....report what you see...not what you think.


  11. #11
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    Default Re: Brick Veneer Help

    These appear to be either full-frame replacement windows or replaced with altered "new construction" full-frame windows with full screens of the type and manner in which the original window frame is removed completely not mere replacement "inserts". Were these vinyl or composite windows?

    Flashing is not visable. Reliance on failed caulk joints, some gaps appear to be wide enough and over deep voids such that would require a backer before caulking was possible.

    Unknown if movement of brick veneer has taken place, or merely incomplete caulk removal. Unknown but suspect water infiltration to the wall cavity.

    The code and manufacturer should be labeled on the operable sash(es) These "appear" to have a tilt-in feature. You may similarly find an identifying label on the inside of the full screen frame.

    Checking with the manufacturer might provide warranty and installation information. Since the property has not changed hands yet, it might be possible to determine more information from that route expiditiously (i.e. vintage manufacture/installation, instructions, maintenance schedules and operation instructions for your potential buyer. (This might further include possibility of mfg rep inspecting, and/or possibility of transferance of any applicable/available remaining warranty in the "estate" transaction to the buyer).

    I contend that these windows do not appear to have been installed properly for depth of wall with brick veneer. An extension jamb kit or windows ordered with a deeper jamb dimmension would have normally been specified and used during installation so as to assure this type window to be installed with its integral exterior trim to be overlapping the interior aspect of the brick veneer window opening. As pictured the trim is/are short (depth-wise) of the brick veneer on all photographed sides.

    Last edited by H.G. Watson, Sr.; 08-11-2010 at 03:07 PM.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Brick Veneer Help

    Looks like original windows to me, and they were not caulked properly to start with.

    Possible shrinkage of the framing is my guess, either that or something allowed the brick veneer to move outward - but I would guess shrinkage across the grain of the studs, possibly green studs were used, or the studs got soaked and then dried back out.

    If you take the photos and zoom in 400% you can see that some of the caulking pulled away with the windows, leaving most back at the brick, but the caulking which did pull away with the windows matches the tear line at the brick caulking.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: Brick Veneer Help

    It would be interesting to know the date stamped on the thermo-pane spacer to tell if windows are original.


  14. #14
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    Default Re: Brick Veneer Help

    If the windows are original, could the separation be from a lack of wall ties?


  15. #15
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    Default Re: Brick Veneer Help

    Quote Originally Posted by chris mcintyre View Post
    If the windows are original, could the separation be from a lack of wall ties?
    That was one of my thoughts too, but with the close up photos and no overall shots, there is no way to tell.

    If you look at one of the photos it also looks like the window is slightly down below the brick sill in front of the bottom of the window, further suggestion that it may have been shrinkage as wood shrinks most across the grain (stud width) and least with the grain (stud length) on a per inch basis, but with the stud length being so much greater than the stud width the vertical shrinkage would also show along with the horizontal shrinkage, but with most of the shrinkage being width-wise of the studs in this case.

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  16. #16
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    Default Re: Brick Veneer Help

    Would anyone actually say there is a problem with the wall-ties in a report? What if they tear the wall down for repair and all is fine with the wall ties?


  17. #17
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    Default Re: Brick Veneer Help

    Quote Originally Posted by James Duffin View Post
    Would anyone actually say there is a problem with the wall-ties in a report? What if they tear the wall down for repair and all is fine with the wall ties?
    If the wall was bowed, yes, wall ties would certainly be mentioned along with the other possibilities.

    To do otherwise would be a disservice to your client.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  18. #18
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    Default Re: Brick Veneer Help

    No I would not speculate on ties particularly if there are not any cracks, out of plumb walls.


  19. #19
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    Default Re: Brick Veneer Help

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    If the wall was bowed, yes, wall ties would certainly be mentioned along with the other possibilities.

    To do otherwise would be a disservice to your client.
    Wouldn't that be guessing?

    If I told a buyer the wall ties may have failed and they ask "How do you know that....you can't see them?" The truthful answer after all of the BS said before it would be "I'm guessing that the wall ties have failed since I can't see them."

    To me that is the disservice....making statements you can't prove in a visual, non-invasive inspection.


  20. #20
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    Default Re: Brick Veneer Help

    Quote Originally Posted by James Duffin View Post
    Wouldn't that be guessing?

    You mean like seeing a window leaking as "guessing" that there is a problem, possibly a flashing problem, or some other problem? You know, instead of presuming that the window leaked because it had been through an event beyond its design pressure rating?

    EVERYTHING we do is based on our "professional opinion", which is nothing more than a "guess" based on ones knowledge and experience.

    If I told a buyer the wall ties may have failed and they ask "How do you know that....you can't see them?" The truthful answer after all of the BS said before it would be "I'm guessing that the wall ties have failed since I can't see them."

    To me that is the disservice....making statements you can't prove in a visual, non-invasive inspection.
    To NOT advise them of some POSSIBLE (you seem to have a habit of forgetting to include that - see below) big problem because you do not want to scare them is a disservice to them.

    You do this quite often, then try to turn what someone said around and make it different than what was said - see red highlighting.
    If I told a buyer the wall ties may have failed and they ask "How do you know that....you can't see them?" The truthful answer after all of the BS said before it would be "I'm guessing that the wall ties have failed since I can't see them."

    To me that is the disservice....making statements you can't prove in a visual, non-invasive inspection.
    Making those statements on this board is a disservice to all of us and our intelligence. Sheesh.

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    Default Re: Brick Veneer Help

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Looks like original windows to me, and they were not caulked properly to start with.

    Possible shrinkage of the framing is my guess, either that or something allowed the brick veneer to move outward - but I would guess shrinkage across the grain of the studs, possibly green studs were used, or the studs got soaked and then dried back out.

    If you take the photos and zoom in 400% you can see that some of the caulking pulled away with the windows, leaving most back at the brick, but the caulking which did pull away with the windows matches the tear line at the brick caulking.
    Jerry, can you tell us how you zoom in on these photos, Thanks


  22. #22
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    Default Re: Brick Veneer Help

    Your browser should have a % zoom button somewhere on the screen. Mine is in the lower right corner. Additionally, you could simply save the photo to your desktop (or elsewhere) and open it with your photo software and zoom there.


  23. #23

    Default Re: Brick Veneer Help

    Any sort of brick "failure" would not cause such consistant gap around each window. I would go with window replacement. But the old report what you see, as it sounds like you did already.


  24. #24
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    Default Re: Brick Veneer Help

    Quote Originally Posted by Mitchell Toelle View Post
    Your browser should have a % zoom button somewhere on the screen. Mine is in the lower right corner. Additionally, you could simply save the photo to your desktop (or elsewhere) and open it with your photo software and zoom there.
    Found it Mithell Thanks


  25. #25
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    Default Re: Brick Veneer Help

    Are the windows single-hung? A single hung window frame is at least one-quarter inch smaller than a double hung. If the original windows were double hung and you put a single hung window in as replacement, you get that gap at the brick. If the windows were replaced they were sealed between the frame and the parting stop which means they do not need to be caulked all to hell on the exterior. If it is the original window the plans may have called for a double hung installation and they opted for a single hung window to save money. If they are double hung windows just ignore all this conjecture.


  26. #26
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    Default Re: Brick Veneer Help

    Looking at the pix, these are double hung

    Oh, Thanks Mitchell

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  27. #27
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    Default Re: Brick Veneer Help

    Rick,
    You are probably right. I have not seen too many, if any, single-hungs with full screens. They still look like replacements whose frame width was a 'gap' smaller than the original. It is common to seal the frame to the parting stop and not worry about the water entering the gap because of gravity. At least that is what a window installer would tell you, and convince you that caulking is always ugly and dirty.


  28. #28
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    Default Re: Brick Veneer Help

    About this I can only speak about my window installation experience but if I had to bet my money I would say that the windows were a replacement.

    I have been replacing my basement windows with wood vinyl coated windows and one ended up about 1/8" lower than the brick sill rowlock, just like in the photo. It was really a tight fit on this one , for some reason since I did not saw cracks on the CMU or concrete slab, and I had to shave a little of the concrete header to make the whole thing fit.

    I never seen 20 year old windows looking as good as featured in the pictures, but I have not seen everything.


  29. #29
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    Default Re: Brick Veneer Help

    Replacement windows or original windows, ...

    Either the windows have moved from the brick or the brick has moved from the windows ... or both have moved from each other.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  30. #30
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    Default Re: Brick Veneer Help

    Quote Originally Posted by Philip View Post
    Are the windows single-hung? A single hung window frame is at least one-quarter inch smaller than a double hung.

    I have never heard of this, and why would this be? I would very interested if you have a link that shows this. I have seen a difference in projection from the framing (I'm assuming this is what you mean) in casements and double or single hung, brick mold vs no brick mold.

    Quote Originally Posted by Philip View Post
    If it is the original window the plans may have called for a double hung installation and they opted for a single hung window to save money.
    Uhmmm....wouldn't the windows have been installed before the brick was laid and why would they have run a bead of silicone a 1/2" from the window.


  31. #31
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    Default Re: Brick Veneer Help

    Chris,
    After being involved with a couple of thousand replacement windows I assure you the frame of a single hung is smaller than a double hung. I have no link, but go to replacement windows on the www. and you can find out the answer that will satisfy you. I do not think the brick has expanded nor the wood has shrunk.


  32. #32
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    Default Re: Brick Veneer Help

    Quote Originally Posted by David Garton View Post
    Jerry, can you tell us how you zoom in on these photos, Thanks

    Another way is to hold down the "CTL" key, lower left on the keyboard, and press the "+" key on the right of the keyboard.

    .


  33. #33
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    Default Re: Brick Veneer Help

    Quote Originally Posted by Rich Goeken View Post
    Another way is to hold down the "CTL" key, lower left on the keyboard, and press the "+" key on the right of the keyboard.

    .

    That way is even faster... Thanks


  34. #34
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    Default Re: Brick Veneer Help

    It's odd you say it's all windows. On my home I have one corner of the house that has a window the same way. But I have step crack corresponding with it. Going to fix that footer one day. If the venner moved it would push out the frieze board also the same amount of distance. Did you notice. Picture of the facade would of helped along with the condition of the foundation, grading, crawl space.

    Mike Schulz License 393
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  35. #35
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    Default Re: Brick Veneer Help

    Quote Originally Posted by David Garton View Post
    Jerry, can you tell us how you zoom in on these photos, Thanks
    Quote Originally Posted by Mitchell Toelle View Post
    Your browser should have a % zoom button somewhere on the screen. Mine is in the lower right corner. Additionally, you could simply save the photo to your desktop (or elsewhere) and open it with your photo software and zoom there.
    I do it one of two ways, one as Mitchell said, and the other is that I have a Microsoft ergonomic keyboard with a "Zoom" slide switch with zooms in or out as much as I want, up to 1000%, and that works very nicely.

    I just tried the 'Ctrl' and '+' keys and it also takes you to 1000%, but is not as smooth or as fast as the 'Zoom' slide switch on my keyboard.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  36. #36
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    Default Re: Brick Veneer Help

    Brick and mortar sill?
    Expect water Intrusion.


  37. #37
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    Default Re: Brick Veneer Help

    Check the bottom of each window.. if this is framing draw down as it is called you will see frowning bottoms of the windows where the sides drop down. As Jerry said, you can see they are obviously already caulked and "that" caulk has detached from the windows.. if it is as it sems it is not a structural concern but can affect the sealing of the windows at the bottom. Obviously as others have stated has nothing to do with wall ties as it will not move evenly vertically outward from the window as seen.. good to cover your A** when not sure and refer to professional window company.


  38. #38

    Default Re: Brick Veneer Help

    Explain what your finindings are! then add have an applicable contractor evaluate and repair as needed.

    This is simple you guy's Why make it so complicated? we can see it is wrong!


    Rolland Pruner


  39. #39
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    Default Re: Brick Veneer Help

    Quote Originally Posted by Rolland Pruner View Post
    This is simple you guy's ....we can see it is wrong!
    Has anyone said it was correct?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rolland Pruner View Post
    Why make it so complicated?
    I don't consider discussing a defect making it complicated, I personally find it very educational, and is that not what a discussion board is for?


  40. #40
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    Default Re: Brick Veneer Help

    Looks like the original windows were replaced with a slightly different type than they had before so there was a slight size difference that needs to be filled with an elastomeric caulk


  41. #41
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    Default Re: Brick Veneer Help

    The caulking is from the original windows.


  42. #42
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    Default Re: Brick Veneer Help

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Barker View Post
    Robert,

    An idea for you. Don't assume it's due to poor window installation or to movement. I'd suggest reporting "significant gaps between windows and brick work - cause was not determined. Repair is necessary." It's simple and is as complete as it needs to be.

    Personally, I wouldn't like to steer someone towards a repair that could possibly turn out to be inadequate. Being a little vague in a report can sometimes keep you out of being backed into a corner later on.
    Fantastic advice.

    I would report that way but I still want to know why it is the way it is...Wanting to figure these things out is part of why we like to inspect.


  43. #43
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    Default Re: Brick Veneer Help

    Rolland Pruner"Explain what your finindings are! then add have an applicable contractor evaluate and repair as needed."

    This is simple you guy's Why make it so complicated? we can see it is wrong!



    I guess the obvious answer would be that he wants to also know WHICH contractor he should recommend?


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    Default Re: Brick Veneer Help

    Quote Originally Posted by kenny martin View Post
    This is simple you guy's Why make it so complicated? we can see it is wrong!

    I guess the obvious answer would be that he wants to also know WHICH contractor he should recommend?
    The obvious answer is the post above yours.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom King View Post
    Wanting to figure these things out is part of why we like to inspect.


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    Default Re: Brick Veneer Help

    Quote Originally Posted by Philip View Post
    The caulking is from the original windows.
    IF the caulk is from the original windows, and the caulk has cohesively failed (which is has, along with adhesion failure in other places), with some adhered to the windows and some adhered to the brick, then ... those would be the original windows.

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    Default Re: Brick Veneer Help

    OK Jerry..

    ...I think he also said..

    "So my question....what do you think from the pics? Are my suspicions warranted or are these gaps within expected norms and how would you write it up?"

    SOOO! Obviously the obvious isn't always as obvious as you obviously think it is? ..is it?
    I mean, writing it up also includes to whom to refer to evaluate does it not? OBVIOUSLY!! Unless obviously you term the generic "qualified contractor",
    then they ask, "what kind of contractor looks at that?"

    And obviously YOU are right about the caulk, it is original, it's so obvious..


    Just looked at the pics again and it jarred my memory on something, if you caulk a window under hot temps w/ silicone and don't use backer rod in gaps and also use too little caulk or just plain too thin of a bead it can pull away like that when the temps freeze. Just a thought..


  47. #47
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    Default Re: Brick Veneer Help

    Quote Originally Posted by kenny martin View Post
    SOOO! Obviously the obvious isn't always as obvious as you obviously think it is? ..is it?
    I mean, writing it up also includes to whom to refer to evaluate does it not? OBVIOUSLY!! Unless obviously you term the generic "qualified contractor",
    then they ask, "what kind of contractor looks at that?"
    Kenny,

    OBVIOUSLY ... ...

    Obviously you did not read the quote I included in with my response ... obviously ... otherwise you would not have posted your response as you did ... quite obviously.

    Quote Originally Posted by Phillip
    The caulking is from the original windows
    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    IF the caulk is from the original windows, and the caulk has cohesively failed (which is has, along with adhesion failure in other places), with some adhered to the windows and some adhered to the brick, then ... those would be the original windows.


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  48. #48
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    Default Re: Brick Veneer Help

    Part of the problem is using silicone, when a polyurethane caulk should have been used as it withstands 50% joint movement.


  49. #49
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    Default Re: Brick Veneer Help

    That is not correct.

    There are several silicone based sealants on the market that allow for 50% compression and over 50% extension.


  50. #50
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    Default Re: Brick Veneer Help

    Haven't seen any new silicone caulk that adheres as well as polyurethane, and have yet to see any professional installers up here use silicone because of the inherent problems as posted and illustrated with the photos.

    Thanks for the heads up.

    GE Caulk: Weatherize Your Home, Save Money and Energy

    Last edited by Raymond Wand; 09-04-2010 at 10:59 AM.

  51. #51
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    Default Re: Brick Veneer Help

    I do not see any evidence that the widow was ever caulked. My advice is to never use silicon to caulk windows or gutters, although it is a common malpractice. Butyl is recommended for vinyl to metal (the alum trim), and gutter-seal on gutters, which I believe to be butyl based.


  52. #52
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
    Posts
    26,252

    Default Re: Brick Veneer Help

    Quote Originally Posted by Joao Vieira View Post
    That is not correct.

    There are several silicone based sealants on the market that allow for 50% compression and over 50% extension.
    As I recall, the Dow silicone based sealants used on the high rises I inspected had a minimum elasticity of 50% compression and 200% extension ... *IF* ... if the joints were properly done, which means minimum 1/4" bite on each of the two surfaces, minimum 1/4" thickness and 1/2" maximum at the center of the hour glass shape cross section - yes, that meant a 1/4" wide joint did not have an hour glass shaped cross section, backer rod (or bond breaker tape if no room for backer rod), and, if the adhesion at the bite surfaces did not fail.

    After reading the above you will see that most failures are due to application errors, adhesion failure usually a result of improper preparation of the surfaces and no primer when primer should have been used or the incorrect primer for the surface of the sealant. It was rare that the sealant itself failed.

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

  53. #53
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    930

    Default Re: Brick Veneer Help

    Having worked with and experimented with different brands in my art work I can tell you that DOW is twice as good as any other brand.


  54. #54
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Kentucky
    Posts
    11

    Default Re: Brick Veneer Help

    Not from an inspection standpoint, but from a remodeling standoint, I would have to say those are not the original windows. Some one not so good at what they do failed to trim out properly to cover that gap. From an inspection standpoint, I would say excessive gaps at window/veneer joints, repair recommended..


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