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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Charlotte NC Licensed in NC and SC
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    Default Anyone seen this?

    7 year old brick veneer home with vinyl windows.

    No signs of anything unusual on the interior, over windows, crawlspace etc.

    Most all of the windows seem to have a major load on them, the first picture is the worst one with the sunken/broke brick. Many have the bulging as seen in the right picture (same window as 1st pictue).

    The steel lintels have lots of caulking between them and the top of the window frame so I can not say whether or not they are resting on the window frames. Perfect finish work on the interior, not fresh paint either, no cracks or gaps anywhere.

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    Bruce King, B.A. King Home Inspections, LLC
    www.BAKingHomeInspections.com
    Certified Master Inspector, Independent Inspectorwww.IndependentInspectors.org

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Ormond Beach, Florida
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    Default Re: Anyone seen this?

    Shrinkage of the wall framing behind the brick veneer lead to settlement of the structure with NO provisions for this settlement in the brick veneer.

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

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Charlotte NC Licensed in NC and SC
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    Default Re: Anyone seen this?

    Sounds reasonable for a house built with unusually and very rare high moisture content wood but if this was the case with typical lumber, this issue would be in thousands of homes right?

    So you are saying a 1/2 inch gap should be left between the brick sill and the bottom of the window frame?

    Bruce King, B.A. King Home Inspections, LLC
    www.BAKingHomeInspections.com
    Certified Master Inspector, Independent Inspectorwww.IndependentInspectors.org

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Plano, Texas
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    Default Re: Anyone seen this?

    I can't tell much from the picture, but just throwing out a possibility.
    Vinyl of all types expands a great deal and will buckle and bend if room for expansion and contraction is not provided. If no other movement is noted in brick, Sheetrock, etc. I would be looking closely at improper window or brick installation causing the windows to bind on the brick and buckle. Think how bad vinyl siding looks if it is nailed tightly.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  5. #5
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    Mar 2007
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    Charlotte NC Licensed in NC and SC
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    Default Re: Anyone seen this?

    I'm thinking the window fins were nailed on too tight along with rough openings that were too small along the top. Some shrinkage of the wood frame is normal but more than that has occured here.

    Bruce King, B.A. King Home Inspections, LLC
    www.BAKingHomeInspections.com
    Certified Master Inspector, Independent Inspectorwww.IndependentInspectors.org

  6. #6
    archivoyeur's Avatar
    archivoyeur Guest

    Default Re: Anyone seen this?

    If this was a framing shrinkage issue, wouldn't we see problems with the interior finishes, too? Builders around here can barely get a house to closing before the GWB seams start popping.


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Massachusetts
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    191

    Default Re: Anyone seen this?

    We really need more photos to make any kind of educated guess. What is happening above and below this area, what is happening on the interior, etc.


  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Charlotte NC Licensed in NC and SC
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    Default Re: Anyone seen this?

    More photos will not help, nothing there at all other than normal construction and finish materials that show absolutely nothing abnormal.

    It has to be shrinkage but the question is why did it shrink so much and were the window flanges nailed too tight and what was the required gap above the brick sill.

    I looked up some window install instructions and found nothing about gaps at brick sills.

    Bruce King, B.A. King Home Inspections, LLC
    www.BAKingHomeInspections.com
    Certified Master Inspector, Independent Inspectorwww.IndependentInspectors.org

  9. #9
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
    A.D. Miller Guest

    Default Re: Anyone seen this?

    Early vinyl windows had problems with extreme expansion and contraction during temperature swings, as well as fading, peeling and cracking when exposed to direct sunlight. Manufacturers have switched to PVC without plasticizers (called UPVC) to minimize movement and developed additives that help resist the ultraviolet rays in sunlight.


  10. #10
    Ron Bibler's Avatar
    Ron Bibler Guest

    Default Re: Anyone seen this?

    That could be a number of things or condition stack in to one area.
    it is smashing that window. i don't think it has anything to do with the window. it an issue with the brick.

    So did you see any cracks in the brick work or bowing of the brick work?


    Best

    Ron


  11. #11
    Michael Garrity's Avatar
    Michael Garrity Guest

    Default Re: Anyone seen this?

    It looks like the window was installed after the brickwork and framing were completed.The window is fastened to the framing.Does the framed opening on the interior match the brick veneer opening?There is usually a gap between the brickwork and the framing but the brick sill typically butts up against the framing.It might be that the window installer tied to squeeze the window over the brick sill if the outside opening did not match the inside.If the bottom of the window could be cut on the outside that might help.Only guessing from the photos.How is the interior of the window?Same as the exterior?Does the latch work?Make of window?


  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Charlotte NC Licensed in NC and SC
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    Default Re: Anyone seen this?

    Windows are installed before the brick. I have no reason to think this one was done any different, no builder would take that chance and end up with windows that did not fit. The window flange nailers have to be nailed before the brick, these are not "replacement windows".

    These are only 7 yrs old, I call them "vinyl" but they could be some other plastic. They are not fiberglass clad, those are used on higher end custom homes around here. This is a higher end production built home (tract).

    The window is somewhat hard to slide but many of these cheap builder grade windows are like that anyway depending on factory tolerances, temperature and shimming. Its no doubt under stress, regardless of the operating feel.

    Bruce King, B.A. King Home Inspections, LLC
    www.BAKingHomeInspections.com
    Certified Master Inspector, Independent Inspectorwww.IndependentInspectors.org

  13. #13
    Michael Garrity's Avatar
    Michael Garrity Guest

    Default Re: Anyone seen this?

    Remove the trim from the interior and check the clearance between the window frame and the framing, remove the caulking between the top of the window and the steel lintel.If you have clearance above the window and depending on the nailing fin[if any] you could remove or cut the fasteners which attach the window to the framing and try to shim the window up.If the steel lintel and bricks are resting on the window, remove the brick sill,try pushing the window frame down and then reset the bricks.Is it on the 1st floor ?The only shrinkage which will affect the height of the framing will be on the floor joist lumber.Any inside pictures?I can give you ideas on how to fix the window.As for how it happened, we can only speculate.


  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Lake Barrington, IL
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    Default Re: Anyone seen this?

    I see this quite frequently. Jerry is correct - the framing shrinks, the brick does not. The result is excessive pressure on the masonry sill with uplift and crushing. If you chat with fellows from the brick industry you may hear them say that if you hold off on installing the brick veneer for six months after the framing is completed you'll give the wood a chance to dry and shrink. If you chat with a builder about this idea he'll give you some choice thoughts of his own.

    When you consider how wood is protected from the elements on the job site, it's of little wonder why we see problems after construction has been completed. The wood in the second picture sat out in two weeks of rain just prior to construction.

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    Last edited by Eric Barker; 08-22-2009 at 08:08 PM. Reason: Added a sentence.
    Eric Barker, ACI
    Lake Barrington, IL

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Anyone seen this?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Barker View Post
    the framing shrinks, the brick does not.

    Eric,

    Not only does the brick not shrink, the brick grows (expands) in size.

    Bricks are as small as they will ever be when they come out of the ovens, they will continue to take on moisture over their life and grow bigger, which is why expansion joints are required.

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

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Anyone seen this?

    Jerry,

    I purposely hesitated to mention that little fact. In the past, my bringing up that tidbit of information has brought wrath and pestilence upon me from the non-believers.

    Comments like "So, Barker thinks brick can grow! What a moron!" seem best to keep to a minimum on the web.

    Eric Barker, ACI
    Lake Barrington, IL

  17. #17
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Anyone seen this?

    Eric,

    That's why I explain it as I did, so those non-believers have a chance to go "Oh, yeah, right, I didn't think of that ... the brick come out of the oven hot and dry .. WELL OF COURSE the bricks will taken on moisture ... "

    Concrete block, on the other hand, are just the opposite: they come out of their molds as large as they will ever be as they are still very wet with moisture, and when they dry out and hydrate (cure) they shrink.

    Then, of course, there is thermal expansion, but that is not so much of a growing thing as a varying get bigger, get smaller, get bigger, get smaller ...

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

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Charlotte NC Licensed in NC and SC
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    Default Re: Anyone seen this?

    thanks guy's!

    I hope the sellers structural warranty will take of this issue so they can get the house sold.

    Anyone have any experience with structural warranties?
    I read one that seemed to indicate that it only covered issues that made the house inhabitable.

    Bruce King, B.A. King Home Inspections, LLC
    www.BAKingHomeInspections.com
    Certified Master Inspector, Independent Inspectorwww.IndependentInspectors.org

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