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Old 09-21-2009, 02:49 PM   #1
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brick eyebrow arch cracking opinions


Hi Everyone. My name is Duy and I'm new here so thought i'd knock out the introduction and question in one post.

My house is about 4.5 years old with a nice stone column / brick arch porch, which started cracking about 1 year ago. I have a masonry contractor working on it right now, and when he took a few bricks out to look inside there is no internal wood frame supporting this thing other than a 2x4 or 2x6 at each column. All the stone in the middle is supporting itself. Does anyone know if this is acceptable building practice? I'm a bit miffed that it was constructed this way - am I overreacting?

I decided to let the repair contractor build a frame inside and put the stone and brick back up the way it was. Any opinions on the original construction?
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Old 09-21-2009, 03:10 PM   #2
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I have never seen anything quite like that, but it doesn't look too clever to me.

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Old 09-21-2009, 04:51 PM   #3
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The arch is too shallow and there should be large stones, not little bricks holding it up.
The design is bad.
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Old 09-21-2009, 04:54 PM   #4
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Not a real arch and poorly designed and constructed.

When an arch is too shallow, you need steel to support the masonry. Wood is worthless and not according to code.

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Old 09-21-2009, 05:13 PM   #5
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brick eyebrow arch cracking opinions


Another problem could be that the brick joints are exposed to rain which could erode the joints from the top. When a large span is required it is much better to use a 3 centred arch as shown below, as this tranfers the loading downwards more than outwards with the segmental arch.
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Old 09-22-2009, 11:07 AM   #6
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I'll post up a follow up pic of the teardown. From the bottom of the gable down to the eyebrow there was no framing material at all. The contractor suggested building a frame box down to the eyebrow and do a wire lathe and mortar backing to put the stone back up...kind of like tiling them back on. I said ok, but i'm not sure now.

Can't believe I walked under this thing for a year with the crack in it.
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Old 09-22-2009, 11:24 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by duy View Post
I'll post up a follow up pic of the teardown. From the bottom of the gable down to the eyebrow there was no framing material at all. The contractor suggested building a frame box down to the eyebrow and do a wire lathe and mortar backing to put the stone back up...kind of like tiling them back on. I said ok, but i'm not sure now.

Can't believe I walked under this thing for a year with the crack in it.

I'm not sure how that would work, either. From what I've read, this must be a full veneer, meaning 3-4" thickness minimum. I cant see what lath would offer this kind of application?

BTW, how did he pull out a few brick from the arch without losing everything: props?
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Old 09-22-2009, 01:21 PM   #8
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He didn't pull bricks from the arch; he dismantled from the top down to the arch.

So, Jomama, you think the "tiling" method with lathe and extra ties won't do much good?
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Old 09-22-2009, 02:58 PM   #9
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Is the builder leaving the arch in place?
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Old 09-22-2009, 03:52 PM   #10
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The brick in this instance is NOT forming an arch. The stone above it will have to do so, meaning that the stones should be consistantly sized and laid in an arch pattern on both sides of the wall.
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Old 09-22-2009, 04:50 PM   #11
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TS - Right on!
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Old 09-22-2009, 05:10 PM   #12
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duy, I can't see how re-laying a stone this heavy in a "tiling" method is going to add any benefit over what's there already.

I agree with T-scar that a stone arch, or possibly even an additional brick soldier course over the existing arch is the minimum. I would probably take down more stone at the corners also to frame down to the arch with wood, & tie together whatever wood was used for the posts. More wallties definatly can't hurt anything.

IMO the ideal way to buid that arch from the beginning using that radius would have been to return the brick up the front & back, making the brick 12" high total. Adding a full brick (8") over the existing arch is going to leave a less than ideal cold joint across the entire arch. The brick could have been easily alternated before, even still can be if done VERY carefully.
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Old 09-22-2009, 08:44 PM   #13
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You can do it with brick, the important factor is to make the arch a load distributing structure, not just a visual detail. That is 4" structural (in that it supports itself) veneer, not a surface adhered veneer.
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Old 09-23-2009, 09:51 AM   #14
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Thanks for all the input, guys. I'll run some of these ideas by the contractor and cross my fingers.

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