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epsilono 07-23-2013 09:49 PM

Repairing Cracks in Masonry Wall
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I am considering purchasing a house which has some cracks in the walls. The two locations of concern are shown in the pictures below. The inspector said that both of them are caused by rusting steel beams which are expanding as the rust builds up on their surfaces and exerting pressure on the surrounding masonry structure leading to the cracking. It is quite obvious that the seller has tried to disguise the cracks, but they have not really being repaired and the water infiltration which is causing the rusting has not been addressed. The first location is the corner of the garage door. The second location is the corner of a bay window.

What is the proper way to repair these and is this a DIY project? I am fairly good fixing stuff, but this could be some serious structural work, especially on the bay window, so I am unsure if I should do it myself or leave it to the professionals.

I apologize for the small images -- I had to shrink them to fit the requirements of the website.

stadry 07-23-2013 10:15 PM

imo, those aren't crks that should cause 1 to refrain from buying the house of their dreams :no: are those the ' cracks in the walls ' to which you referred ? they aren't !

masons persist in filling the joint on top of the garage lintel w/mortar at the face,,, it should be a sealant which will flex.

can't tell above the window if there's a membrane or not above the bay's copper roof,,, might just need some repointing,,, an engineer is ALWAYS a better choice than an ' inspector '

apology accepted :laughing:

epsilono 07-23-2013 10:43 PM

Thanks for the insight. That certainly is good to hear.

I was thinking of removing the mortar between the lintel and the first layer of bricks, cleaning up the rust as much as possible through that tiny opening, priming, painting and then filling with a sealant rather than mortar.

I do not know if there is a membrane or not above the bay window. Unfortunately I am not at the property, so I cannot find that out. I would like to make sure that whatever process has caused the crack gets arrested, so that it does not continue.

As for the inspector vs engineer -- you are totally right. I intended to use an engineer, but then I could not get the date I needed for the inspection, so I ended up using whoever was available. Next time I will plan better and use an engineer.

stadry 07-24-2013 04:24 AM

bought a house w/active leaking & standing wtr wet bsmt :whistling2: +& the front wall's bowing 6" in 30' :huh: but we'll have that repaired in a week.

here's the point - buy anything IF you can do 1 of 2 things - either name the price OR the terms,,, we got to do both on this property,,, i expect after we get the needed work done & sell it, we'd still legally have 3 months to pay the seller :thumbup:

tony.g 07-24-2013 09:07 AM

The crack adjacent to the garage door will indeed be caused by the rusting of the steel beam, and the subsequent lifting of the adjacent brickwork.

But the crack adjacent to the bay window seems more consistent with slight settlement of the lintel over the bay, rather than steelwork rusting.

epsilono 07-24-2013 08:33 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Thanks for the insight tony.g

I would have not thought of settlement. Is there anything I could or should do if this is caused by settlement? There might be some traces of cracking on the other side of the bay window, but nothing that seemed serious to me (picture of other side attached).

tony.g 07-25-2013 05:09 AM

hi epsilono,
asuming the house is timber-frame, with brick outer skin, the lintel over the bay window may look something like this;

If the lintel is too small for the span, or if it has not been adequately clipped back to the framework (note the little clip on the OSB) then it can sag slightly downwards under the weight of the brickwork. This causes the characteristic diagonal cracking above the opening.
Probably not a DIY job, unless you're really committed.

stadry 07-25-2013 05:29 AM

been awhile since i've built houses but, 10yrs ago, we used 3/8" steel angle iron for window lintels in brick-faced structures & pre-cast conc over doors,,, never blt an brick-fac'd garages ( attach'd or free-standing ) so can't address this particular issue HOWEVER any structural PE would find it a piece of cake.

many of us have more experience than we desire w/undersize lintels particularly dble car garages :furious: like mine :censored:

that clip onto OSB doesn't sound very reassuring if structural integrity is needed but that just may be me :whistling2:

tony.g 07-25-2013 06:20 AM


Originally Posted by itsreallyconc (Post 1220651)

that clip onto OSB doesn't sound very reassuring if structural integrity is needed but that just may be me :whistling2:

The clip is primarily to stop the lintel twisting outwards; there is also a timber packing piece behind as well. The bricklayers are supposed to temporarily prop the lintels while the brickwork sets - maybe they didn't in this case.
Or else maybe the lintel is just too shallow for the span?

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