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  1. #1
    Ann Wilson's Avatar
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    Default Exterior bricks pulling apart

    In one corner of my brick home, that sits on a slab we notice a year or two ago the bricks where pulling apart. We didn't think to much of it at first and caulked the open areas. Yesterday we noticed that it has gotten worse and you can tell on the opposite side where the bricks are being pushed out. Hence the bricks are pulling away , they appear to lean on the opposite side thus pushing that side out. I will try to post pictures, the 1st time it wouldn't take. The side being pushed out isn't very noticeable and I didn't take pictures of it since it won't show up in a photo. Their is nothing going on inside the the home, opposite of where this is happening outside. The crack/pulling apart is larger at the top and gets narrower toward the bottom. Would checking in the attic help find why this is happening or removing the paneling on the wall inside help. The inside wall in paneling and not plastering and thus removing it wouldn't be a big issue. Would checking these areas be a waste of time. What could be the issue and how would it be fixed?

    Okay, having a hard time loading photos, it's jpg.

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Exterior bricks pulling apart

    No, I would not recommend removing anything at this point just to look inside the wall, you will not likely find any cause there.
    Pictures would help but it sounds like the foundation might be moving causing the cracks. Looking at the overall structure with a trained eye would tell the tail. At this point I would recommend finding an experienced home inspector to look at it in person.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  3. #3
    Ann Wilson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Exterior bricks pulling apart

    [QUOTE foundation might be moving causing the cracks. .[/QUOTE]

    That's what we where thinking. What's the repair $ range for something like that?


  4. #4
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    Default Re: Exterior bricks pulling apart

    From zero to tens of thousands of dollars. No way to tell from here. Get a professional evaluation.
    You can get a foundation repair company to give you a free estimate but I would not trust them as far as I can throw them. There are some really good guys and some slugs and thus their opinion is worth about what you pay for it in most cases. Follow the money.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  5. #5
    Ann Wilson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Exterior bricks pulling apart

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Luttrall View Post
    From zero to tens of thousands of dollars. No way to tell from here. Get a professional evaluation.
    You can get a foundation repair company to give you a free estimate but I would not trust them as far as I can throw them. There are some really good guys and some slugs and thus their opinion is worth about what you pay for it in most cases. Follow the money.
    How would I know a good one from a bad one? I've been searching for whom to call and want to know what the right way to repair it would be.

    How do I post photos on here. I go to the link under this box "upload photos" and my pics are jpg. Is their something I don't know?


  6. #6
    James Duffin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Exterior bricks pulling apart

    I would suggest getting a structural engineer to write up a repair method and then get estimates from foundation companies. Sometimes it is better to get an unbiased opinion from someone who is not going to do the repair. A SE around here would cost you $300-400.


  7. #7
    Ann Wilson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Exterior bricks pulling apart

    The home was built in the late '80's we purchased it in '02 from the org. owners. They still farm the land around us. A SE, gosh we live in rural AR, don't know if their are people around here with that fancy of a title. Is their a website that would make searching for one easier?


  8. #8
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    Default Re: Exterior bricks pulling apart

    Doe syour camera have a VGA mode or an Email mode for photos. I have a feeling your current pics are too large for posting. Take new pics in VGA or Email mode and see if that helps you out with posting pics on here.


  9. #9
    Ann Wilson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Exterior bricks pulling apart

    Quote Originally Posted by James Risley View Post
    please further describe the cracks. Is the mortar cracking away from the brick. Are the bricks themselves breaking. or both. reading between the lines...I am seeing a corner of the house with the bricks leaning towards the corner and the bricks on the other wall being pushed away from the corner. close? was a large tree close to the house cut down just before or just after you bought the house. what is the drainage like in this area?
    The cracks are in the mortar not the brick themselves. Their is no tree close to that area of the home. Drainage, about a year and a half ago we had a pipe a few feet away from where the crack is leak/burst that had to be repaired.


  10. #10
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    Default Re: Exterior bricks pulling apart

    Quote Originally Posted by Ann Wilson View Post
    The home was built in the late '80's we purchased it in '02 from the org. owners. They still farm the land around us. A SE, gosh we live in rural AR, don't know if their are people around here with that fancy of a title. Is their a website that would make searching for one easier?
    Try this link. It may help you find a SE in your area...

    Architects | Landscape, Residential Architects


  11. #11
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    Default Re: Exterior bricks pulling apart

    Photos, thanks for the VGA hint

    The one photo should show the entire crack, it mets up with the window and then down below.
    The 2nd photo you may not be able to tell how the bricks are pushed out a tad. Also the fascia.

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  12. #12
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    Default Re: Exterior bricks pulling apart

    Quote Originally Posted by Ann Wilson View Post
    Photos, thanks for the VGA hint

    The one photo should show the entire crack, it mets up with the window and then down below.
    The 2nd photo you may not be able to tell how the bricks are pushed out a tad. Also the fascia.
    Ann, You could try digging away the soil (where crack starts up the wall) to see if there is any signs of cracking in the FOUNDATION and or FOOTING itself, before you spend any money on a SE


  13. #13
    Ann Wilson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Exterior bricks pulling apart

    Quote Originally Posted by David Garton View Post
    Ann, You could try digging away the soil (where crack starts up the wall) to see if there is any signs of cracking in the FOUNDATION and or FOOTING itself, before you spend any money on a SE
    When we 1st noticed the crack it didn't go all the way down (started at top). S You can tell, since it wasn't caulked. But we'll give it a try. We do recall when we where digging around trying to find the water leak, the slab wasn't perfectly smooth, rough texture.


  14. #14
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    Default Re: Exterior bricks pulling apart

    Hire an independent foundation / structural engineer to design the repair and then a separate foundation repair company to do the work. This should include testing of both the water and sewer lines for leaks before and after the work. That is a bathroom window in the photo right?

    It is pretty obvious from your photos that the foundation has moved. Even the roof line is distorted either from the corner dropping or the middle of the house rising from a water leak or other cause. This is a very typical problem around my part of the world. I'm guessing you are on expansive clay soils also.

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    Last edited by Jim Luttrall; 08-09-2010 at 06:55 PM.
    Jim Luttrall
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  15. #15
    James Duffin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Exterior bricks pulling apart

    Quote Originally Posted by Ann Wilson View Post
    When we 1st noticed the crack it didn't go all the way down (started at top). S You can tell, since it wasn't caulked. But we'll give it a try. We do recall when we where digging around trying to find the water leak, the slab wasn't perfectly smooth, rough texture.
    Ann...

    I'll tell you what I tell my buyers and sellers when there is a "questionable" foundation problem and then I'll be quiet!

    "Even if a SE cost $300 and finds no repair is needed the problem still exists to the naked eye. The SE will give you a letter stating what he found that can be shared with the next buyer. This may eliminate a potential problem when you sell the house."


  16. #16
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    Default Re: Exterior bricks pulling apart

    Would it have helped if that house had gutters and downspouts to carry runoff away from the slab?
    I don't know anything about expansive soil, but I imagine the problems occur when dry clay absorbs moisture?

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

  17. #17
    Elliot Franson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Exterior bricks pulling apart

    From the photos I have seen, both these and those sent to my email address, this is definitely a foundation settlement issue. All of the signs are there: brick veneer separated from the window frame, fascia sloping, brick veneer cracking. It is obvious that an engineer is needed to specify repairs.


  18. #18
    Ann Wilson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Exterior bricks pulling apart

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kogel View Post
    Would it have helped if that house had gutters and downspouts to carry runoff away from the slab?
    I don't know anything about expansive soil, but I imagine the problems occur when dry clay absorbs moisture?
    A majority of homes around here don't have gutters or downspouts, this was something my husband and I noticed when we moved down here. Their are some on part of our home. But it's not uncommon not to find them on homes, old and new.


  19. #19
    Ann Wilson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Exterior bricks pulling apart

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Luttrall View Post
    Hire an independent foundation / structural engineer to design the repair and then a separate foundation repair company to do the work. This should include testing of both the water and sewer lines for leaks before and after the work. That is a bathroom window in the photo right?

    It is pretty obvious from your photos that the foundation has moved. Even the roof line is distorted either from the corner dropping or the middle of the house rising from a water leak or other cause. This is a very typical problem around my part of the world. I'm guessing you are on expansive clay soils also.
    No, it's a bedroom window, the bathroom is on the other side down a ways.


  20. #20
    Ann Wilson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Exterior bricks pulling apart

    Quote Originally Posted by David Garton View Post
    Ann, You could try digging away the soil (where crack starts up the wall) to see if there is any signs of cracking in the FOUNDATION and or FOOTING itself, before you spend any money on a SE
    My husband dug tonight, their is about a foot of brick you don't see, under the soil. He did not see any cracks in those bricks or the cement.


  21. #21
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    Default Re: Exterior bricks pulling apart

    Quote Originally Posted by Elliot Franson View Post
    this is definitely a foundation settlement issue. All of the signs are there:
    Now it sounds like there are some elevation issues as well. You said earlier the home was built slab-on-grade, I wonder if the inside floor is the same elevation as outside grade ?

    You also mentioned it would be fairly easy to remove inside wall panelling, which may be a good idea to see if there is any moisture wicking through at the slab to wall junction, which may reveal further damage, separate from your initial concern.

    Joe Klampfer RHI
    www.myinspection.ca
    Pacific Home Inspections

  22. #22
    James Duffin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Exterior bricks pulling apart

    Quote Originally Posted by James Risley View Post
    I have seen slab on grade built by ditching and pouring the footing, then laying brick around the perimeter on the stem up to the top of the slab height. Say about 4 to 6 brick high. Then when the mortar sets and when the under slab plumbing, wiring, etc are installed the slab is poured and the slab is raked off at the top of the brick. The brick is used as the form and will remain and become part of the slab as it is bonded to the concrete on the inside. I suspect this is what Ann has.

    Some of the slab houses in our more expensive neighborhoods lay a brick foundation about 18" and then pour the slab. Looks just like a crawl space house from the outside.


  23. #23
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    Default Re: Exterior bricks pulling apart

    Ann

    If the picture is not distorted the crack at the top looks about 1" wide and the roof line appears to slope downward to the left. If my geometry is correct the lower left corner of the house foundation in the picture would have to settle about 5/8" to create a 1" crack in that location. Typically all the engineering investigations I do on situations like yours is usually caused by water ponding near the foundation causing the soil to loose its ability to support the house.

    I also noticed no gutters, does water accumulate near this corner of the house?

    Randy Mayo, P.E.
    RLM & Associates, LLC


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