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Old 09-16-2009, 04:42 PM   #1
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Cracks Above Archway in Brick Veneer


Hi all,

This is my first post, and it's on behalf of a friend that has just bought a house with cracks above an archway over her front door. I will try to get photos, but for now the arch itself is intact. The cracks begins from the first brick at the right hand side of the arch, then moves upwards in a step pattern towards the roofline. The house is brick veneer construction and the wall is likley tied to the wooden frame structure with tabs into the mortar.

The home inspector felt the crack was caused by water intruding into cracks in the mortar, eventually getting wider due to frost. We are in Canada, in southern Ontario, and do have a significant winter. Here are my questions:

1. Does anyone have any suggestions as to what the cause of the problem may be?

2. What are the possible dangers or repurcussions?

3. What would be the best fix, and what would be other cheaper options to stop the problem from getting worse?

Thanks,

Sandy

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Old 09-16-2009, 04:54 PM   #2
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Cracks Above Archway in Brick Veneer


You could cut out the cracked mortar joints and re-point them to stop further damp penetration.

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Old 09-16-2009, 05:13 PM   #3
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Cracks Above Archway in Brick Veneer


Is the house, foundation and all, settling unevenly?

Look for cracks in the foundation too.

If you use a level and look for any differing slope along the brick rows in the area in question compared with in an unaffected area, you might detect settling. Settling often results in brickwork cracking in a stairstep pattern as you described.
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Old 09-16-2009, 05:55 PM   #4
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Cracks Above Archway in Brick Veneer


brickwork isn't a no-maintenance siding but, rather, lo-maintenance siding,,, that's why we have people who do tuckpointing,,, speaking of which, i need to ck MY house after which i'll give it a coat of silicone siloxane to prevent future wtr intrusion into the jnts
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Old 09-16-2009, 06:08 PM   #5
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Cracks Above Archway in Brick Veneer


What is tuckpointing in the USA? I know it as this http://www.historicbrickpointing.co.uk/gallery.htm Which costs about $300 a square yard.
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Old 09-17-2009, 05:37 AM   #6
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Cracks Above Archway in Brick Veneer


i HATE learning new languages,,, now we have to be proficient in ' limey ', fergawdsake yep, same thing, mate ! cost's vary so can't address that part.

on historical work, we don't use grinders & diamond blades as the old brick's too soft,,, mortar's different, too - modern mortar's much harder.
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Old 09-17-2009, 06:58 AM   #7
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Cracks Above Archway in Brick Veneer


Tuck pointing to a Limey means that the joints are colour matched to the brickwork and then a thin line of lime putty is put over the top and cut to a thickness of about 1/8 inch. This gives ordinary brickwork the appearance of gauged brickwork. I guess that tuck pointing over the Pond just means re-pointing. I'll soon have you fluent in Limey
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Old 09-17-2009, 07:08 AM   #8
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we've used slaked lime w/either mason's sock or mortarboards,,, ' tucking's ' the same process for either in our language
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Old 09-17-2009, 08:15 AM   #9
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Cracks Above Archway in Brick Veneer


"The home inspector felt the crack was caused by water intruding into cracks in the mortar, eventually getting wider due to frost."

He should probably be flipping burgers, not inspecting homes.



On the side of the arch that is cracked, how far does the masonry extend out and up?
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Old 09-17-2009, 03:24 PM   #10
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Cracks Above Archway in Brick Veneer


Hi,

Thanks for all of your responses. I have hopefully added two barely adequate photos of the crack I'm concerned about. If the photos appear, you will see that there are two cracks; the one I'm more concerned about starts right at the bottom inside corner of the arch, beside the column. There is an eaves trough that passes over the area of the crack, so it is possible that the crack was caused by water, but I remain skeptical. The second crack is at the peak of the roof and works down to a small vent.

If these photos didn't come out, I'll try again in a couple of days when I can drive over to my friends town and take a couple of shots myself.

Thanks,

Sandy
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Old 09-17-2009, 04:03 PM   #11
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Cracks Above Archway in Brick Veneer


That is by an arch and it needs support and also continuity at the end to transfer the load.

Poor design/construction. - Way too much movement.
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Old 09-17-2009, 04:45 PM   #12
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Cracks Above Archway in Brick Veneer


That is a failed arch. The only thing holding it up are the wall ties. Tear it down and do it over is the only way to fix it. It will need to have an angle iron under it, more mass to the right, or be built with more height in the spring or all three.
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Old 09-17-2009, 05:34 PM   #13
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Cracks Above Archway in Brick Veneer


A rough rule of thumb used by surveyors for the size of an abutment for a segmental arch is that it should be about the size of the span. For a semi circular it can be reduced to 3/4 span. The abutments at the ends of these arches are nowhere near that size. I have seen buttresses built at the ends for support on some failed arches. Tie bars are also used.

Last edited by stuart45; 09-17-2009 at 06:05 PM. Reason: extra information
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Old 09-17-2009, 07:09 PM   #14
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Cracks Above Archway in Brick Veneer


That is for a structural arch, Stuart, not a veneer.
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Old 09-18-2009, 04:41 AM   #15
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Cracks Above Archway in Brick Veneer


Quote:
Originally Posted by Tscarborough View Post
That is for a structural arch, Stuart, not a veneer.
You are right there Tscarborough, I was thinking of solid or cavity walls. Even for solid the full span is probably a bit OTT. However the pier or abutment still does look too small to me. What would be the minimum size that you would build on an arch like this.
Nowadays we use special lintels which mean a smaller pier can be used and also reduces the chance of damp penetration. These are a similar idea to your suggestion of angle iron being used.

http://www.lintels.co.uk/galv_cat/Ga..._cat_12_13.pdf


Last edited by stuart45; 09-18-2009 at 04:43 AM. Reason: extra info
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