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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Houston, TX
    Posts
    2

    Default Lintel deflection above garage door on new home

    Hi Everyone,

    Sorry for this being so long, but wanted all info out there.

    I recently had a home built in Houston which I closed on in October 2012. I started to notice cracks above the garage in February and have been trying to take photos of it once a month. The garage is a 16' with a large triangle roof above it. There is stone instead of brick, but with some brick right above the lintel. I suspect there is a large amount of weight on the lintel. When I spoke to my project manager in February he said, let's give it to about June to see if the cracks, etc keep spreading/moving. He said he wants to make sure it wasn't settling cracks vs a real problem. I was pretty sure it was a Lintel issue even in February and he probably knew that too, but didn't want to admit it.

    The PM for the builder came by with his non-English speaking Mason on Tuesday (9/3/13). I really didn't like some of the stuff he had to say. Most was "possibilities and "options". When I asked about how the repair could be made, he mentioned possibly just removing some of the brick above the lintel and on the side and checking if it was bolted in and fixing that without using a new lintel. He said the old mortar where the cracks have formed can be removed and refilled. Because of the deflection and the movement of the stone/brick downward, I do not like any of these approaches. I said the fix/design is an engineering exercise and then he said he could get his engineer to come out. There was no mention of an engineer before this.

    I asked about the sagging 2x12" and he said it could possibly be reused. I asked him about the rusting of the lintel and he said that was perfectly normal. He said using galvanized steel isn't used due to cost. That doesn't seem right? Does a steel lintel for a 16' garage really cost a lot? My preferred repair job is a complete removal of the stone and brick above the garage, replace the lintel with a new one, replace the 2x12 and the 2x? on the sides of the garage and recaulk along the side of the garage. Is this reasonable or are there ways to repair the lintel properly without a full removal of the stone?

    The lintel is 3x3 x 1/4. After I went inside, the PM and the Mason busted out one of the bricks to measure the vertical side of the lintel (He didn't warn me that he was about to do this). There doesn't seem to be any flashing for water protection and the white that you see in the picture below is the House Wrap. Makes me wonder if there is any type of

    I have asked a Inspector with a PE to come by and take a look and write his suggestions up so I have some ammo with the builder. I would really appreciate any assistance from you guys. This whole thing is making me nervous due to not trusting the builder.


    Albums on Imgur. Images can be clicked for larger resolution. You can see the end of the lintel in the stone on the left side. No flashing... The July pictures are much worse.

    First set of pictures are from March 2013
    Lintel-03-2013 - Imgur


    Next set is from July 2013
    Lintel-07-2013 - Imgur


    Picture of the lintel behind the brick. Small vertical, no flashing?
    http://imgur.com/a/rCI8l

    Thanks for looking.

    Mike

    Member Benefits1

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Spring Hill (Nashville), TN
    Posts
    5,847

    Default Re: Lintel deflection above garage door on new home

    I think you might have another issue.

    Looks like the foundation has dropped on the right side and this has pulled everything in that direction. The cracks are pointing to a problem with that corner.

    That lintel should have been painted to prevent the rusting.

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

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Idaho
    Posts
    4

    Thumbs down Re: Lintel deflection above garage door on new home,

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Patterson View Post
    I think you might have another issue.

    Looks like the foundation has dropped on the right side and this has pulled everything in that direction. The cracks are pointing to a problem with that corner.

    That lintel should have been painted to prevent the rusting.
    I agrre with Scott, I would go to the original plans and see how the Lintel was engineered, check for correct sizing for the load and see how the load transfers to the footing, you have a problem that your builder should stand behind, good luck


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Plano, Texas
    Posts
    4,170

    Default Re: Lintel deflection above garage door on new home

    Check for sagging of the brick angle vs header with a simple string from side to side in the opening. A piece of kite string and a couple of push pins will readily demonstrate the deflection of the header.

    It looks obvious from here that there is some sagging but things look different in person. The question to me is it the brick angle or the header that is sagging. The steel could be sagging or pulling away from the header or it could be sagging of the wooden header itself.

    Cracks at the junction of the stone and brick is very common around here and cracks in the mortar in the stone work very common too even without any foundation or structural movement. I see it on almost every house built with the stone integrated into the brick facade; something I attribute to using wetter than normal mortar to fill between stones with larger mortar joints rather than the typical firm mortar in uniform joints that is tooled in place. I mention this just because I see you may have a combination of unrelated issues contributing to the overall impression.

    Have the engineer take some measurements of the foundation elevation for a baseline for future use and check for measurable deflection / sagging of the header.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Rock Hill S.C.
    Posts
    94

    Default Re: Lintel deflection above garage door on new home

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Patterson View Post

    Looks like the foundation has dropped on the right side and this has pulled everything in that direction.
    It is either this, an under sized header or lintel not properly secured. I would not say an undersized lintel, they are typically standard sizes and are not sized and designed for the load, the header is. Whichever it is I don't see how this can be properly repaired, it's a do over for the veneer after it has been corrected structurally...IMHO.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Houston, TX
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: Lintel deflection above garage door on new home

    Thanks for the responses.

    I'll need to get some string for the sag test, but the photos match what you see visibly from the side. Is there supposed to be flashing covering the lintel?



    Chris, I agree that the stone/brick veneer should be redone after the deflection is figured out and engineered. The struggle will be convincing the builder that this is something that should do.

    The builder told me that it isn't a foundation issue back in July. But he isn't a licensed inspector, so without tools, he most likely can't make that claim.

    With regards to the cracks on the right side, I was under the impression that it was the result of the lintel sagging and placing pressure on the ends, which then radiate out. If it was a foundation issue, would I start seeing stair step cracks in the other triangle peak above the front door? This peak can be seen in the first photo in the first album of the original post.




    Here is a closeup of the underside of the lintel.. The PM said they coat it with something, but doesn't look like paint.



    If the problem doesn't turn out to be from the foundation, would the only proper fix be replacing the lintel and the veneer or are there any proper fixes without a complete redo?

    Thanks.


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Fredericksburg, VA
    Posts
    885

    Default Re: Lintel deflection above garage door on new home

    In regards to the picture of the wall behind the removed brick, although a weep hole is visible, where's the weep flashing? Poorly installed lintel, no weep flashing, and if they used 2x12 dimension lumber for the header instead of an LVL, especially with a crown down, the header construction is very questionable. That looks like a lot of weight in stone and brick. If the lintel is rusting this soon, they installed it with the factory primer coat only.

    The above statements are expressed solely as my opinion and in all probability will conflict with someone else's.
    Stu, Fredericksburg VA

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Chicago IL
    Posts
    1,984

    Default Re: Lintel deflection above garage door on new home

    - Refer to approved architectural plans
    - a 3x3x1/4 lintel is NOT a garage lintel that is a door or window lintel, lousy contractor
    - that side opening, especially with that amount of dead load above should have had an I beam
    - a double 2x12 bolted together is fine at 16' for a regular detached garage but complete non-sense for an attached garage with that much dead load. As someone mentioned beams should have been LVL's
    - As much as we have a lot of lacking or crappy Codes around here I have to hand it to many of our suburbs that have very good garage construction requirements that provide for good long term structures
    - Hire structural engineer to provide load calc and drawings, shove it to the developer

    www.aic-chicago.com
    773/844-4AIC
    "The Code is not a ceiling to reach but a floor to work up from"

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Lansdale, PA
    Posts
    876

    Default Re: Lintel deflection above garage door on new home

    [

    The lintel is 3x3 x 1/4.

    [/QUOTE]

    The IRC calls for a 6"x3-1/2"x5/16" lintel for a 14' long opening. Your lintel is seriouly undersized. Based upon the cracking, displacement, etc. I would except nothing short of a complete replacement of the lintel and veneer with the lintel size and installation details prepared by an engineer.


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