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Old 03-28-2011, 04:45 PM   #1
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Sinking Walkway/Bulging Brick


I am getting ready to tackle a sinking sidewalk/bulging brick issue. I've had several contractors and brick masons take a look- and some have given me the "rip it up and start over" opinion, while others have suggested pouring a new slab on top of the existing one (cutting the rebar from the foundation, and re-building the brick wall). Anyone have any experience with this sort of situation? I'm leaning towards jackhammering the slab away from the wall, paying the brickmasons to repair the brick, then dealing with the sidewalk after those things are taken care of.
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Old 03-28-2011, 04:53 PM   #2
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Sinking Walkway/Bulging Brick


The sinking sidewalk and bulging brick are consistent with settlement of the soil beneath the house and sidewalk. You need to determine if this is the problem before you invest time and money repairing the brick and sidewalk, only to find out that the problem reappears a year or two down the road. I suggest you hire a structural or geotechnical engineer to investigate and determine if you have a foundation problem, then you can decide how you want to fix the obvious issues.

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Old 03-28-2011, 05:13 PM   #3
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Sinking Walkway/Bulging Brick


Hi Daniel, thanks for the quick response. Yes, the home inspector was a structural engineer and pointed this out to me when I purchased the home. The problem is from a settlement of the soil in front of the walkway, and there is a 4" void beneath the walkway (where it attaches to the brick ), however, the structure of the home is in good shape, according to the home inspection report.
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Old 03-28-2011, 05:21 PM   #4
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Sinking Walkway/Bulging Brick


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I'm leaning towards jackhammering the slab away from the wall, paying the brickmasons to repair the brick, then dealing with the sidewalk after those things are taken care of.
sounds like the proper approach to. My opinion is the the sidewalk is attached to the house. It is sinking on the outer and the tilt is pulling the brick off the house. Once the brick is repaired the sidewalk can be recreated either with new concrete with a separation barrier or with interlocking brick.
Sidewalk also looks to be too high. The brick should never be under ground and should be a few inches above the sidewalk.
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Old 03-28-2011, 05:33 PM   #5
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Sinking Walkway/Bulging Brick


That's exactly what most people are saying- that the rebar is underneath the brick. If you notice the void at the bottom left of the sidewalk pic - it's actually about 4" - large enough to get a flashlight under there. So I peeked in and can see about 12' all the way under the slab! There are 2 rows of brick underneath the bottom of the 4" slab that seem perfectly normal. It doesn't look like the fill dirt has settled, but that the slab has physically raised away from where it was originally poured. So what type of separation barrier should be installed between the slab and the brick?
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Old 03-28-2011, 05:53 PM   #6
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Sinking Walkway/Bulging Brick


who in hell ever tied a sidewalk into the house ? expansion joint,,, call me if you want ( i'm in marietta ),,, NO jackhammering unless you want to see bricks on the ground,,, use a diamond saw instead
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Old 03-28-2011, 06:12 PM   #7
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Sinking Walkway/Bulging Brick


Seriously, I'm with you- The house was built in '62 so either that was common practice back then, or somebody else tried to do a quick fix and just added a lot of weight to the situation and made it worse. I have access to a concrete saw but questioned whether I'd be able to get close enough to the brick or not. I was hoping that it would break away with the jackhammer. Either way, I have plenty of bricks to replace damaged ones (at least 100 or so that were left over from the original construction). Any chance the wall could fall? I've considered bracing it for the impact just in case. It's still tied to the framing with the brick clips about 30" up the wall to the top.
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Old 03-28-2011, 06:25 PM   #8
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Sinking Walkway/Bulging Brick


Here's a front view. The bulge/break is about 10' in length starting at about 30" in height at the door on the left and 12" on the right. I'm well aware that this may result in the brick mason having to completely rebuild the wall.
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Old 03-28-2011, 06:59 PM   #9
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Sinking Walkway/Bulging Brick


I am not sure the house is sinking. When you look down the sidewalk, it appears the sidewalk settled severely on the right (outside) and caused a rotation that tried to push up the brick. The connection to the house is a source of the damage, since and unbonded sidewalk would have been able to move. Since the house did not settle, the upward force caused the lower portion of the brick veneer to a bow and pull away from the wood frame structure. The far end of the sidewalk was apparently risen more the the near end.

The discarded flexible drain pipe indicates "deferred maintenance" in the past sine that is a politically correct was to say someone did not care until it was too late.

The best solution is to have someone qualified to look at it in person and not just a contractor looking for another job.

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Old 03-28-2011, 07:34 PM   #10
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Sinking Walkway/Bulging Brick


Quote:
Originally Posted by itsreallyconc View Post
who in hell ever tied a sidewalk into the house ? expansion joint,
Correct, it may have sounded like a good idea at the time, but now the HO see's the shortcoming's of it..............

Quote:
Originally Posted by ReevesCreations View Post
Here's a front view. The bulge/break is about 10' in length starting at about 30" in height at the door on the left and 12" on the right. I'm well aware that this may result in the brick mason having to completely rebuild the wall.
That would be my recommendation to remedy the problem long-term.
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Old 03-28-2011, 08:04 PM   #11
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I paid extra $ for a home inspector with a structural engineering degree to inspect the home for me before purchase (8 yrs. ago) because I knew it had potential issues. Turned out that the structure of the house wasn't compromised due to this issue, and with this being the worst problem, the home inspection report showed the structural integrity of the home in a postive light. I added the flexible pipe to control water flow away from the structure at the gutter downspout, which is in the process of being replaced right now. I added a french drain at the low end of the walkway to control water flowing away from the walkway. These were measures that I took to keep the issue from getting any worse until I could take care of it. I've had several "qualified" contractors take a look at this issue, and all of them have their own opinions. Truth be told, if money were no object it would be DONE already. It would be easy to hire a structural engineer and have the guy show up, charge me a grand, and tell me I need to spend ten more. That would be Awesome But in the meantime.....

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