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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    Default Brick veneer cracks

    There is an 18' X 18' sun room that juts from the back wall of this bricked veneered home. Brick, from the lower left corner of a second story window down to top left corner of sun room opening, shows stair step cracking. The "crack" is 3/8" at the window. I assume I have a brick lintel issue but do not know how brick should be supported in this situation. There are no signs on the interior of any wall structural problems. Comments please.

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  2. #2
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
    Ted Menelly Guest

    Default Re: Brick veneer cracks

    Pretty common. If there is nothing going on anywhere else in the home especially anywhaere around this area it is the lintel it is sitting on that has settled a bit.

    How old is the home? I doubt if it will lead to anything over the long run. I have seen it on many occasions where it settled over a year and then went no further. I would repair the crack and monitor it over a period of time.

    Now without being there and looking at the rest of what may be going on, this is all a guess based on past experiences. Your concern may involve more or even be less involved than past experiences.

    With a double pitch to that roof and the brick sitting against two different lintels I would guess that it amounts to about nothing.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Philadelphia PA
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    Default Re: Brick veneer cracks

    While Ted might be right, 3/8" is out of my comfort zone. I'd recommend investigation by a competent mason, if not a PE.
    Or, to put it another way, I'm not buying that crack.

    "There is no exception to the rule that every rule has an exception." -James Thurber, writer and cartoonist (1894-1961)
    www.ArnoldHomeInspections.com

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Brick veneer cracks

    Ted:

    The home was built in 1997 by a respected contractor. No other signs of cracking at the home found.
    I've seen cracking many times but can usually identify the cause (foundation settling, sagging lintel).
    I do not know how the lintel(s) are installed in this situation. The double pitch roof is a good point but a 3/8" to 1/2" crack seems too large to be considered "normal" settling. If a sagging linlel, I'd thing the cracking would be centered over the opening.
    I'm meeting with the contractor and the buyer next week to discuss -- I'm just doing my homework.


  5. #5
    Join Date
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    Columbus GA
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    Default Re: Brick veneer cracks

    Don
    Personally. I do not use the word "Normal", and neither did Ted.
    He said "common".

    ' 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 cracks

    I agree that "Normal" should not apply to a 3/8"+ crack. My experience tells my "common" also does not apply.


  7. #7
    Join Date
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    Columbus GA
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    Default Re: Brick veneer cracks

    Yes, given the age of the house, and the size of the crack, "common" would not be how I describe it .
    I agree with Ted though, that the lintil is likely the cause of the problem. But I just don't know, and would not say.
    I'm like John, 3/8" is out of my comfort zone.
    Time to refer this to someone else to see what is going on in there.

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

  8. #8
    James Duffin's Avatar
    James Duffin Guest

    Default Re: Brick veneer cracks

    Here is a good article on the subject:

    Where Wood Framing Supports Brick Veneer


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

    Default Re: Brick veneer cracks

    Quote Originally Posted by Don Horn View Post
    I agree that "Normal" should not apply to a 3/8"+ crack. My experience tells my "common" also does not apply.

    If this was a one pitch roof there would be one continuous lintel. In this case you have one at a low pitch and another at a high pitch. What happens on the low pitch most of the pressure in downward and slid back to the main wall brick work and you almost (again, almost) never see cracks in that instance.

    In this case you have that upper slope which is much steeper and a lot of the brick load is pushing on the lintel toward the roof at a slope and not much in the downward direction. If you bolt a lintel level across several 2x4s and push down, not a lot, if any, movement will take place. If you bolt a lintel at a steep angle across several 2x4s and then push on that lintel with the same pressure the lintel will move over time or even immediately because the studs will bow. Rather a simplistic engineering/physics example but the explanation will show you why there is a much greater tendency to get a crack from movement in that location.. 1997, at 13 years and the house has not fallen down or the brick fascia has not fallen into the home.....it probably never will or for that matter move any more.

    As far as "normal" or "common", well, common was the better term. As far as I am concerned there is no "normal" movement but common in this case, yes. A lot of inspection reports I see around here say that the vast amount of signs of movement in each of the homes I see reports on state that the movement is "Normal" for a home of this age and "to be expected." There is no "to be expected". If there is movement then there is a reason for the movement and there is always a fix that will remedy it.

    I lose Realtor after Realtor because if there has been a lot of signs of movement in a home there is a reason for it. Most of the time it can be attributed to grading and drainage. But, there is still a fix as in fixing the grading and drainage and if the homes measurements amount to over the excepted limits by an engineer then there needs to be foundation repair as well.

    In your case I am sure there is a fix but by the looks of it and the sound of it I would fix the cracks, watch it over time and if there is any substantial movement at all in the future then get it fixed. Of course a buyer may not want that and want a fix now but my explanation to them would be their call as I am there to find concerns, maybe know and explain the cause and it is their ball after that because I just took my bat and ball and went home.

    In this great state of Texas we must give an opinion as to foundation/structural movement and that is what I just did here. Now it is your ball game

    Last edited by Ted Menelly; 03-02-2011 at 06:54 PM.

  10. #10
    James Duffin's Avatar
    James Duffin Guest

    Default Re: Brick veneer cracks

    And here is what the NC IRC says:

    Attached Files Attached Files

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Lake Barrington, IL
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    1,363

    Default Re: Brick veneer cracks

    I wouldn't let that slide either. Much better to let someone else say it's ok. My wild guess is that the respected contractor didn't have that crack development in mind when he built the addition.

    As far as wood supporting brick - that's a new one on me. Last I heard the support needs to be non-combustible.

    Eric Barker, ACI
    Lake Barrington, IL

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