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Old 04-05-2014, 05:08 PM   #1
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Brick arch falling


I'm a fairly knowledgeable DIY homeowner... Knowledgable enough to know when to call in the professionals. And I don't think I'll be tackling this one.

House was build in the 30's, and we bought it about 2 years ago. I've noticed this arch beginning to fall. I have added supports this morning just to keep it from falling any further, and possibly causing any more damage.

I don't know any masons in the area, but I'm going to start calling around and seeing about getting some estimates. I'm not asking what I'm looking at paying, but, what should I be looking for from the person doing it? Are they going to reenforce the arch, completely rebuild it, or what? What are some things that might be considered "red flags" when the guy comes to give me an estimate as to what needs to be done?

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Old 04-05-2014, 06:24 PM   #2
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Brick arch falling


I would consult a structural engineer. It looks like the corner column is moving. Maybe one will be on here.

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Old 04-05-2014, 06:28 PM   #3
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Brick arch falling


When you make a few phone calls refer to it as a Lintel and as near as I can tell from the pic it is load bearing.
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Old 04-05-2014, 06:46 PM   #4
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Brick arch falling


I agree the corner post is load bearing. Not sure if the arch is or not. I think it's more decorative. I'd get a pic, but, it's too hard to get light up into the empty area above the arch, which is closed up by the woodwork. There's 2 rows of brick on the arch, but, the top row you see in the picture, stops being as "put together" once it's covered by the woodwork. There are bricks, but, they're not near put together cosmetically as they are when they're uncovered.

I've been trying to see if the corner post has moved, and while I'm sure it's settled over all this time, it doesn't seem to be the cause of the arch falling. It looks to me as if the mortar has failed in the center bricks, and the weight of the arch has started pulling the ends away from the pillars.

But... I'm no structural engineer, so, you guys might possibly be correct. Not many structural engineers around, but, I'll see what I can find.

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Old 04-05-2014, 07:19 PM   #5
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Brick arch falling


You really need a Pressure Treated 2x8, between the jacks & the brick, to better support it. Also you need to tape off that area, so no one just walks under or through it. I would probably tape off the whole front porch, to be safe, so no one gets hurt, if the brick does decide to fall.

If the city Inspector happens to be driving in your area and sees those jacks, supporting that area. They can stop and tag the porch as unsafe. Then you end up with a whole can of worms that you do not want to go through the Red Tape about.
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Old 04-05-2014, 07:57 PM   #6
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Brick arch falling


That looks decorative. Its too shallow of an arch to support anything other than itself, which its obviously not doing. I agree that you should place a 2x on its flat on on top of the screw jacks in the meantime until its fixed.
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Old 04-05-2014, 09:58 PM   #7
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Brick arch falling


I am not an engineer , but I recommend a tear out and rebuild as much as needed. plus a little more just to insure that it is well built.

Probably should reinforce it just to make sure.

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Old 04-05-2014, 10:07 PM   #8
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Brick arch falling


It is really not an "arch", but a beam over an opening with some masonty at the corners to soften it out and give and arch appearance.

Bottom line is that there is not enough "meat" in the span over the opening. The brick is just a masonry veneer that is not intended to carry and load.

If you peal off the brick veneer, you will probably find some sort of "beam" to hold the brick up.

It will have to be rebuilt with a proper beam/lintel to carry the loads that may come from above.

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Old 04-06-2014, 01:06 AM   #9
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Brick arch falling


concrete masonry, if you look at both sides, you can see fracturing on the ends. Same with the crack up the middle. My bet is that like someone else stated about the footer on that end sinking. That there is probably no Lintel up there to support that "Arch".

The OP needs to take off all Fascia on both sides, along with take off the ceiling in the porch area, to see what it looks like up there. Same with checking how far the footers are, and use a level or laser (ie hire a surveyor or engineer to check for plumb on the structure).

Over time buildings will settle. For all appearances, these arches on the front porch do have noticeable repairs, that were only for cosmetic, not structural reasons.

I would be curious to know if this was original to the building plan, when the house was built.

To the OP. Are there any other homes in your neighborhood that are of the same design, or have the same type of front porch design on them? Can you find out from the local historical society who may have been the builder, that built the homes in that area, or subdivision.

Depending on what time frame in the 30's, helps tell the story of if it was a private individual that built the structure, then someone else came along and added that arch.

I would say that arch & stone veneer does not look like it was properly built to begin with. Really need more pictures from the front, Left & Right. Showing from the ground to the roof line. Also need the information I stated in the first part of this post.

Start digging in at city hall, to see if you can find any building permits, or inspections. Water has definitely gotten into the brick work, causing it to fail.

You need to contact your local building codes office, before they contact you and place a Condemned structure tag on your residence. They will require you to brace that whole porch better, or tear it completely down, to make it safe for not only those living inside the structure, but for anyone that may walk up onto the porch.

All you need is for someone to get hurt as I stated before.
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Old 04-06-2014, 10:39 AM   #10
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Brick arch falling


A 3 centred arch can work if it's built properly.
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However yours looks like it's not a proper arch, so when rebuilt may benefit from being built off a lintel.
Here are a few examples of how it could be done.

Brick arch falling-extra-heavy-duty-flat-parabolic-arch-lintel3.jpg

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Old 04-06-2014, 11:23 AM   #11
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Brick arch falling


I'm thinking there is a doubled up 2X providing all the support and it has failed.
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Old 04-06-2014, 12:09 PM   #12
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Brick arch falling


Stuart:
Is the brick supported off the lintel (like in your sketches) likely to be code for this situation? It sure seems like the only safe way of accomplishing this situation. It would worry me to rely only on the adhesion of the mortar.
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Old 04-06-2014, 12:50 PM   #13
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Brick arch falling


Nowadays one of the last 3 methods would probably be used.
The 1st photo is an old building which has no lintel, but the weight on top of the arch actually strengthens it. When the bricks are cut to a taper (axed arch) it is better than a rough ringed arch where the joints are tapered.
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Old 04-06-2014, 07:47 PM   #14
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Brick arch falling


It looks decorative to me also - I'd also want to make sure they are using an Stype mortar - might be best to take the whole top section down and redo it as if one join is failing, the rest might soon follow.
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Old 04-08-2014, 05:34 PM   #15
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Brick arch falling


Finding a good mason can be hard and finding one that wants to tackle this project could be harder. You need to inspect the ground on that corner to assure yourself that the column has not moved. Water runoff can be detrimental to a foundation. The gable end is not true load bearing but it does carry a substantial amount of weight should the rafters sag. You'll need to inspect them. The other arches may be in better shape because the soffit is protecting them.
A mason should tell you that the frieze board needs to come down, he needs to replace all of the bricks in the arch, he should install reinforcing rods above to create a bond beam, use an arched support to lay the brick. He may also need to attach the re rods to the existing post and wall via drilling into them. Ask him to explain a Bond Beam System. This is not a quick fix so expect him to invest some time and effort. Good luck and let us know the outcome.

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