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Old 06-08-2009, 12:50 PM   #1
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Joist Pocket Brick Wall


All-

I am looking to add onto my brick rowhouse. The walls are double wythe brick construction. At present, all the floor joists are pocketed into the walls. Does current code, we are IRC here, still allow this practice? Any thoughts or suggestions? Concerns?

In my particular application, the joists would be supported on one side in the brick joist pockets and on the other side would be attached to a stick framed wall.

If this is permissable (and don't worry, I am working with an architect, the project will be permitted, etc, I just wanted to get an opinion here before I raise it with the architect), how do I go about it? I assume just use a chipping hammer to cut away enough to get the joist in, right?

Thanks!
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Old 06-08-2009, 04:11 PM   #2
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Your architect will make an inspection of the wall when he/she is looking at the proposed addition. The footing, structural integrity of the wall, and soil conditions are just some things they consider. They may design to hang the joists because of the wall quality: http://www.strongtie.com/products/ca...s_masonry.html.

There is a lot more to making it safe for your family than just cutting some openings for the joists. Be safe, G
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Old 06-08-2009, 09:00 PM   #3
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GBAR- Thanks for your thoughts here, all really great points. We engaged a structural engineer early on in the project to assess the feasibility of the project and he conducted such an examination and we are good to go. The SE actually suggested pocketing the bricks because he thought it would be easier than using a ledger. I on the other hand have more experience with ledgers and was nervous about the cutting into the brick. I've been giving it more and more thought and it seems like pocketing the joists could be the better approach, but was hoping to get opinions from folks who have actually done this.

So, again, any thoughts, questions, concerns? How difficult is this? What's the best way to do it?

Thanks!
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Old 06-08-2009, 10:05 PM   #4
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I would really minimize the vibration to the wall by using either a saw or a grinder or both, to cut the pockets.
Ron
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Old 06-08-2009, 10:41 PM   #5
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I have not personally done this, but did find:

http://www.advancedflashing.com/clie...0Note%2026.pdf

http://books.google.com/books?id=hZW...n+wythe+bricks

http://books.google.com/books?id=5Wj...esult&resnum=3

You might try the sister site ContractorTalk, with professional Masons there. Be safe, G
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Old 06-09-2009, 09:59 AM   #6
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Excellent resources. Thank you. So, anyone with any experience on this? I know I need to fire cut the joists.
How tight should the pocket be around the joist? I assume if I remove the depth of one brick there is ample bearing for the joist, right? Do I need to use PT for the joists because of the brick or is standard fine?

Thanks!
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Old 06-09-2009, 01:19 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stubits View Post
Excellent resources. Thank you. So, anyone with any experience on this? I know I need to fire cut the joists.
How tight should the pocket be around the joist? I assume if I remove the depth of one brick there is ample bearing for the joist, right? Do I need to use PT for the joists because of the brick or is standard fine?

Thanks!
The wood should not be in direct contact with the masonary. I would wrap the ends in ice and water shield. I would also want at least 2" of wood bearing on the support.
Pressure treated isn't necessary, but even if you use it, wrap the ends.
Ron
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Old 06-09-2009, 02:18 PM   #8
 
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I would leave about 1/2" space all around the beam when you size the pocket. My structural engineers have always recommended bearing 4" minimum, but you should really consult your engineer on this issue. The wood beams / joists will expand & contract with the relative humidity and temperature throughout the life of this construction, so you want to be sure that you don't create a situation where the beam shrinks to an unsafe bearing condition - or alternatively, you want to also verify that it's expansion (lengthwise) will not exceed the pocket depth and push against the outside wythe. Your engineer should be able to provide this info quickly and without much trouble. He may be able to just give an answer verbally if he is familiar with your project.
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Old 06-09-2009, 09:04 PM   #9
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arent the joist notched a special way when they are set into a brick wall like that?I belive it has to do with fire but i may just be having a brain fart
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Old 06-09-2009, 09:18 PM   #10
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Tom- You're right, it's called fire notching and it prevents the joist from acting as a lever in case of a fire.

Thanks everyone for lots of great advice. I'm really thinking this is the best way to go.

Ron- What's your concern with using a chipping hammer, is it likely to do too much damage to the rest of the wall? I am just trying to think how to cut into the wall four inches with a grinder.

So, should I install blocking between the joists to prevent movement, given the space around the joists in the pocket?

Thanks!
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Old 06-09-2009, 10:33 PM   #11
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I just think a chipping hammer would cause the bricks to vibrate too much and loosen the surrounding areas. Cutting the basic shape with a concrete saw and fine tuning it with a grinder and a few hand tools would minimize wall trauma. It did when I used a pneumatic hammer on a brick fascade during a demo of a brick wall. Not that it mattered, it was all coming down in most areas. I had to switch to a grinder to remove the bricks that were going to be keyed into when the bricks went back.
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