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  1. #1
    John Petersons's Avatar
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    Default Crack on bricks above garage door

    I found a house that I want to buy, but the house has some cracks on bricks above garage door. Could you take a look at the attached pictures and tell me whether the cracks are serious problems?
    I am in Texas. The house was built in 1995. There are no cracks in other places. Doors and floors look fine.

    Thank you so much!

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Crack on bricks above garage door

    Is it a double garage with one door? Is that brick veneer? Probably yes to both. The wood frame behind all that brick is sagging at the doorway and has caused that crack. It is only serious if it needs to be repaired.

    You could fill the crack and wait a year to see if there is more movement. Or you could get an inspector out to take a look and tell you. Too hard to make the call from here.

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
    www.allsafehome.ca

  3. #3
    John Petersons's Avatar
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    Default Re: Crack on bricks above garage door

    Thank you, John.
    The answer are yes to both questions. so, this may not be a foundation problem? Does this need to be repaired and how to repair it?


  4. #4
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    Default Re: Crack on bricks above garage door

    In the first pic, it appears as if the steel lintel/angle shelf support above the door opening may have sagged.

    "It takes a big man to cry. It takes an even bigger man to laugh at that man". - Jack Handey

  5. #5
    John Petersons's Avatar
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    Default Re: Crack on bricks above garage door

    Thank you, Nick. Is this a serious problem? Do I need to replace steel lintel/angle shelf?


  6. #6
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    Default Re: Crack on bricks above garage door

    Quote Originally Posted by John Petersons View Post
    Thank you, Nick. Is this a serious problem? Do I need to replace steel lintel/angle shelf?
    Not to answer for Nick, but I don't think you will find anyone that will tell you that it is not a serious problem. It is just about impossible to tell what is going on without an onsite inspection. Sure we can guess and speculate but in the end that it is all that we are doing.

    My experience with cracks like that shows that it can be a 50/50 chance of it not being a major problem. With the poor soil conditions that you have in your area I would hire a good home inspector and let him/her be your guide as to if it is a problem or not.

    FYI, you could spend $5,000 plus on replacing that lintel and it could still sag in a year or two. I have seen it happen on more than one occasion.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  7. #7
    John Petersons's Avatar
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    Default Re: Crack on bricks above garage door

    Scott, thank you for the explanation.


  8. #8
    James Duffin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Crack on bricks above garage door

    It is not a serious problem but the area needs to be stabilized before it becomes a serious problem. You really can not easily replace the lintel but you can go on the inside of the garage and add some additional support to the brick veneer so the crack does not get worse.


  9. #9
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    Default Re: Crack on bricks above garage door

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Patterson View Post
    Not to answer for Nick, but I don't think you will find anyone that will tell you that it is not a serious problem. It is just about impossible to tell what is going on without an onsite inspection. Sure we can guess and speculate but in the end that it is all that we are doing.

    My experience with cracks like that shows that it can be a 50/50 chance of it not being a major problem. With the poor soil conditions that you have in your area I would hire a good home inspector and let him/her be your guide as to if it is a problem or not.

    FYI, you could spend $5,000 plus on replacing that lintel and it could still sag in a year or two. I have seen it happen on more than one occasion.
    What Scott said.

    "It takes a big man to cry. It takes an even bigger man to laugh at that man". - Jack Handey

  10. #10
    John Petersons's Avatar
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    Default Re: Crack on bricks above garage door

    Thank you very much everyone.


  11. #11
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    Default Re: Crack on bricks above garage door

    Sagging header (wood) that supports the brick angle (steel) from what is visible in the photos and the other statements.
    It has moved this much in 16 years, expect at least this much more in the next 16 years.
    The fix is the same now or in the future, replace the header or get a structural engineer to design a repair that may save some money on the repair but then you have to cover his fee.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  12. #12
    Darrel Hood's Avatar
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    Default Re: Crack on bricks above garage door

    John,
    If your statement eliminating all other symptoms is accurate and assuming typical Texas construction, there are two probable causes: 1. sagging header as mentioned already. 2. angle iron lintel not attached to the header. I see both of these frequently. Usually, if the header is sagging, there will be disruptions (cracks, tape wrinkles, trim gaps, etc) in the drywall area above the interior of the door. A sagging lintel will leave the interior drywall undisturbed.

    In either case it can be a moderately dangerous situation in that one brick or many bricks are likely to fall someday. Whether to do cosmetic repairs and wait or totally replace the structure now is your choice based on your risk tolerance.

    Darrel Hood
    DILIGENT PROPERTY SERVICES


  13. #13
    John Petersons's Avatar
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    Default Re: Crack on bricks above garage door

    Thank you, Jim and Darrel.
    How much does it normally cost to replace the header? How much to fix "angle iron lintel not attached to the header"?
    My family likes this house very much but we also have other choices. I don't know whether I should take the risk to buy this house.


  14. #14
    James Duffin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Crack on bricks above garage door

    I think you are at the point now you need to get some firm estimates on the repair. Around here I would say $2500 would be a ballpark figure to just add additional support on the inside of the garage and not repair the cracks in the bricks. Not sure of labor and material cost in your area so it could be a lot more than $2500.


  15. #15
    Darrel Hood's Avatar
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    Default Re: Crack on bricks above garage door

    John,
    There are still a few undiscussed variables that should affect a bid. James is right, it is time to get a couple of bids. If you will contact me, I may have a contractor referral for you.

    Darrel Hood
    DILIGENT PROPERTY SERVICES
    (936)827-7664


  16. #16
    John Petersons's Avatar
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    Default Re: Crack on bricks above garage door

    Thank you, everyone. You have a nice weekend.


  17. #17
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Crack on bricks above garage door

    Ahhhhm

    You might want to talk to the laminate beam boys due to the fact that the metal does not attach to the wood. The wood holds the structure. The metal holds the brick. The only place the metal attaches to the wood is at the ends on the king studs and such. Why does in not attatch to the wood you might ask? Because wood will sag over time. If the metal is the right size to hold the brick it needs no attaching in the middle and as I said it will sag and bow down on the metal lintel and then you get brick cracks. The only thing that attaches to the wood is the brick ties and they have flex to them so if the wood bows a little it won't have the same affect as in all the cracking.

    The wood frame should be holding itself and the metal lintel holds the brick.


  18. #18
    Darrel Hood's Avatar
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    Default Re: Crack on bricks above garage door

    Ted,
    The first one I could grab was Boise Cascade. It describes how to make the attachment, but it does treat attachment as an option. The file is attached.

    Darrel Hood
    DILIGENT PROPERTY SERVICES

    Attached Files Attached Files

  19. #19
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Crack on bricks above garage door

    Quote Originally Posted by Darrel Hood View Post
    Ted,
    The first one I could grab was Boise Cascade. It describes how to make the attachment, but it does treat attachment as an option. The file is attached.

    Darrel Hood
    DILIGENT PROPERTY SERVICES

    That should explain it. No one wants to pay the piper for a beam to be designed so there is no more deflection of 1/600th of an inch over the span of a 16 foot door. They do not automatically design them for the lintel to attach to them. Most folks do not know that and most of the time it is not in the specs for the building inspector from the city.

    Anyway I am kind of but not betting that this is the case with the original poster.


  20. #20
    John Petersons's Avatar
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    Default Re: Crack on bricks above garage door

    Thank you, guys.


  21. #21
    John Petersons's Avatar
    John Petersons Guest

    Default Re: Crack on bricks above garage door

    I saw the house again, and I found some cracks in the floor of the garage, and the strip of concrete that was replaced in the driveway in front of the garage. Given all the issues, do you think the house could have foundation problem? Thank you!



  22. #22
    imported_John Smith's Avatar
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    Default Re: Crack on bricks above garage door

    Hire a licensed home inspector. He can answer all your questions.


  23. #23
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    Default Re: Crack on bricks above garage door

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Menelly View Post
    You might want to talk to the laminate beam boys due to the fact that the metal does not attach to the wood. The wood holds the structure. The metal holds the brick. The only place the metal attaches to the wood is at the ends on the king studs and such.

    The wood frame should be holding itself and the metal lintel holds the brick.
    Quote Originally Posted by Darrel Hood View Post
    It describes how to make the attachment, but it does treat attachment as an option.
    When the steel angle is installed as Ted described, the steel is a lintel and is self-supporting from end to end. This is okay for short spans, but seldom works for long spans (because the steel angle would need to be huge to support the brick over the long span).

    When the steel angle is installed as Darrel described in the option, the steel is a shelf angle and is not self-supporting, the steel angle is supported by the beam. This works for longer spans.

    The advantage of the lintel installation is that the lintel moves with the shrinkage of the wall, whereas the shelf-angle installation moves with the structure behind the brick - and the structure and the brick move differently than each other in expansion and contraction.

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

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