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  1. #1
    Laura Jenkins's Avatar
    Laura Jenkins Guest

    Default Bowed Brickwork in 100+ yr Home

    I own a large brick building that was built in 1900. One portion of my house has a flat roof and the second portion has a regular shingle roof. There were signs that there had been past leaking in the flat roof section (ceiling evidence). The building is a former grocery with a home all built at one time. The home maintains most of the original woodwork, windows and other great details. It also has been updated in the past by previous owners. I plan to trace down the history to see if I can find some original pictures or plans.
    I am unsure as to what is causing the wall to bow, but I have theories based upon reading. I'm learning a lot.
    Due to disabilities, I have not been on the flat roof itself. When I found the gaps in the windows, I thought I had rotting wood. When I got close enough to actually look at the worst window, I determined that the wood seemed sound, but that the actual veneer is bowing. I can see no major cracking in the mortar in the wall area.
    I am planning to pull down the damaged ceiling in the worst room in order to allow access to any space between the ceiling and roof, which I hope will allow me to get up and look at what's happening from under the roof. As the plaster & lathe walls are in good condition, I am planning to leave them in place unless it proves necessary to remove one.
    My brother-in-law (a roofer) was able to make some patches to areas he thought might still be leaking, which he did last fall (2010). The bowing is new and not present (though may have been coming) when we purchased the property in Fall 2009 (although we did see a need to replace the roof). With the property market what it is, we have not been able to sell our previous house to raise needed funds for repair.
    I believe it is water damage to what would hold the veneer to the house. Until I can get up and see I do not know how the outer walls where constructed, as I saw there are several methods that where done.
    So, what I need to know ... everything. Can I do anything myself to fix my home (for which I may have some help from the roofer and maybe a mason if I can find a few funds). I'm not shy about reading up on something and working at it, even if it's going to be me working slow. I'll upload a few photos with this hoping they're good enough to show what's going on.
    The worst bowing is on the NW wall of the squared off section. Along the top, the parapet is different brick and I feel it was replaced at one time, the bricks do not match, and on the SW corner & the NW corner you can see it tilting (the NW corner was actually missing quite a bit of mortar). The NW Window close-up is the west-most window on the 2nd floor. I am including a sideview (this house is difficult to get into one frame) to give a little perspective. I have other photos and can take other photos if it will help.
    Any advise from those in the know will truly be appreciated. I am not in a position at the moment to hire professionals (lengthy & difficult to explain and this is already pretty long). Truly, Thanks.

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Lake Barrington, IL
    Posts
    1,363

    Default Re: Bowed Brickwork in 100+ yr Home

    Hello Laura,

    If there was no bowing 2 years ago I'd say that something is progressing at a considerable rate and should be scoped out rather quickly. Your roof repair would tend to have me wonder if there is a relationship. Have you been able to confirm that the roof leak has been stopped? I can appreciate the cost of bring someone in right now but with that recent bowing I'd really be leery of putting off having this more fully evaluated. Where are you located?

    Eric Barker, ACI
    Lake Barrington, IL

  3. #3
    James Duffin's Avatar
    James Duffin Guest

    Default Re: Bowed Brickwork in 100+ yr Home

    Is the house a wood frame building with brick veneer or is it a brick house with the inside framed up for the inside finish material? Can you tell how thick the brickwork is?

    Here is a good thread that may help you.

    a bulging brick wall & star-shaped bolts! - Old House Forum - GardenWeb


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Caledon, Ontario
    Posts
    5,005

    Default Re: Bowed Brickwork in 100+ yr Home

    Laura, the bowing wall issue is not something you can tackle. You need to find the cause and have it correct professionally. The wall may need immediate attention. Monies will have to be spent regardless.


  5. #5
    Laura Jenkins's Avatar
    Laura Jenkins Guest

    Default Re: Bowed Brickwork in 100+ yr Home

    I am planning to get a good mask (dust allergies) and get that ceiling down during the first weekend in June. I am hoping that by getting that bad ceiling out of the way, I'll be able to get up under the roof and get a look at how my house is built, otherwise I don't know about its construction (with lights & pictures, too).
    I haven't seen new water damage in the northwest corner room, just things drying out and falling down. Per one DD, thinks there might be a leak in the southwest corner room, but hasn't actually seen water. Before Ed made repairs, we had buckets to catch drips.
    If I remember correctly from my papers, the roof on the flat portion is tar on felt.
    @James Duffin I've been in that thread. It had a lot of info. Plus there was another on this site that gave me some info I did not know. And thanks.
    @Eric Barker I'll IM you.
    And, thanks all for posting. At least I know that what I'm feeling about the whole thing is not wrong. I've got a delicate road to dance along, but I absolutely love the details of this house and it deserves to stand another 100 years.
    Laura


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Columbus GA
    Posts
    3,746

    Default Re: Bowed Brickwork in 100+ yr Home

    Laura
    before you do anything, I recommend you read up a the hazards of lead based paint. All work should be performed using "Lead Safe Work Practices".

    http://www.epa.gov/lead/pubs/renovaterightbrochure.pdf

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

  7. #7
    Laura Jenkins's Avatar
    Laura Jenkins Guest

    Default Re: Bowed Brickwork in 100+ yr Home

    Thank you all for the good advice. My house is going to be on hold for a short while. My husband passed away unexpectedly 5/31/11 very early in the morning and I am going to be busy for many weeks ahead in dealing with all that before I can even begin to do much else regarding my house.
    You've all provided me with a great information which I am still processing. If anyone has any other house suggestions, please feel free to post them. I still love this house and I will find a way to get what it needs done.
    Laura


  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Columbus GA
    Posts
    3,746

    Default Re: Bowed Brickwork in 100+ yr Home

    My condolences

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

  9. #9
    James Duffin's Avatar
    James Duffin Guest

    Default Re: Bowed Brickwork in 100+ yr Home

    Wow...that will take the wind out of your sail! So sorry about your husband...


  10. #10
    Laura Jenkins's Avatar
    Laura Jenkins Guest

    Default Re: Bowed Brickwork in 100+ yr Home

    Thanks. It sure has taken the wind out ... so much to do when it's unexpected. But on the brighter side, I may be able to get my problem taken care of from life insurance. I believe he truly bought this house for me, so now it's up to me.
    Thanks so much for all the advice!


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