Retrofitting expansion joints to an existing brick veneer

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Old 02-01-10, 08:02 AM
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Retrofitting expansion joints to an existing brick veneer

I'm closing on a house in Montgomery Texas next week. There is 1 wall of brick veneer, 1 story, about 80 feet long with no existing expansion joints.

The house had some recent foundation work (9 piers along the long side of the house (the wall in question) for leveling in the clay soil). Some of the brick is cracked. Thecrack ages are unknown. I'm guessing it may take up to a year for the full effect of the re-leveling to propogate through the interior and exterior of the home.

I'm planning to put stucco over the brick and second floor wood siding in a few years.

Is it practical (even helpful) to cut new expansion joints through the brick in this 26 year old house? I might have to hire this out since I don't have a saw big enough...

Weep holes are also missing around most of the house. Is it worthwhile to drill new weep holes near the foundation, say 3/16" bit through the brick veneer?
 
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Old 02-01-10, 01:14 PM
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Originally Posted by mmcfarlane View Post
I'm closing on a house in Montgomery Texas next week. There is 1 wall of brick veneer, 1 story, about 80 feet long with no existing expansion joints.

The house had some recent foundation work (9 piers along the long side of the house (the wall in question) for leveling in the clay soil). Some of the brick is cracked. Thecrack ages are unknown. I'm guessing it may take up to a year for the full effect of the re-leveling to propogate through the interior and exterior of the home.

I'm planning to put stucco over the brick and second floor wood siding in a few years.

Is it practical (even helpful) to cut new expansion joints through the brick in this 26 year old house? I might have to hire this out since I don't have a saw big enough...

Weep holes are also missing around most of the house. Is it worthwhile to drill new weep holes near the foundation, say 3/16" bit through the brick veneer?


I would caution you against applying stucco over a substrate, in this case the brick veneer, that is not sound. if the wall is still moving you still have problems. Was a engineer involved in this repair or just a contractor? I am at a loss as to why they have not given you some options on the existing veneer.

Are the piers in the brick veneer?

Weep holes are of little use without a flashing system that "guides" the moisture out of the wall, so I don't see any advantage in installing one without the other.
 
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Old 02-01-10, 08:01 PM
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Originally Posted by brickyard blues View Post
I would caution you against applying stucco over a substrate, in this case the brick veneer, that is not sound. if the wall is still moving you still have problems. Was a engineer involved in this repair or just a contractor? I am at a loss as to why they have not given you some options on the existing veneer.

Are the piers in the brick veneer?

Weep holes are of little use without a flashing system that "guides" the moisture out of the wall, so I don't see any advantage in installing one without the other.
Thanks brickyard blues,

The contractors proposal for adding stucco (to update the house and merge in a yet-to-be-built second story over part of the house) is to wrap the house in "Tyvek for stucco" (over the brick 1st floor and wood siding second floor), apply a stucco wire mesh, then 4 layers of stucco.

The piers (very common in the Houston area gumbo clay) were installed underneath the foundation on the outer wall by a contractor in November 2009. The work was ordered by the previous homeowner before I ever saw the home. I doubt an engineer was involved. There is no doubt at this point the original slab wasn't designed or poured correctly, but probably 20% of the homes in this part of the country have a few piers placed years after construction.

Again, I don't plan to apply the stucco or second floor addition for several more years so the house should have plenty of time to settle from the foundation adjustment.

Regarding the weep holes, should I see metal flashing below the bottom course of bricks if it was installed correctly? There is nothing visible between the bottom course of brick and the foundation except mortar.

Thanks agin for your kind help.

Mark
 
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Old 02-02-10, 06:15 AM
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It is probably better to remove the brick veneer and start from scratch with the stucco. Doing it over top will cause odd revels and makes it extremely difficult to properly flash any openings.
 
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Old 02-02-10, 07:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Tscarborough View Post
It is probably better to remove the brick veneer and start from scratch with the stucco. Doing it over top will cause odd revels and makes it extremely difficult to properly flash any openings.
Thanks for the idea,

My dilemma with removing the brick veneer is the second story would then overhang the first story by the thickness of the bricks (the second story is wood siding, i.e. it overhangs by the thickness of the brick+air gap).

I guess I could live with this visible joint, but it might look cheap, an obvious retrofit. Another idea is to put a row of 2*4s in place of the brick veneer so the second and first stories are flush (I could add some insulation too...). Obviously thats a more expensive solution but I'm all behind doing it correctly, that's why I'm here.

Removing the brick was my first choice but the contractor I spoke with thought it was overkill.

What do you think?
 
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Old 02-02-10, 09:21 AM
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It would be brought out to the face of the existing if removed and redone in stucco, if not, you have the same revel issue.
 
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Old 02-02-10, 12:25 PM
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Back to my original question, is it worthwhile to saw new expansion joints in a 25 year old brick veneer that doesn't have expansion joints?
 
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Old 02-02-10, 02:31 PM
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Let's put it like this: CMU are at their largest when they are laid while brick are at their smallest. If there is no cracking from expansion of the brick by now, it is doubtful there ever will be. Are there windows and doors in the wall?
 
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Old 02-03-10, 08:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Tscarborough View Post
Let's put it like this: CMU are at their largest when they are laid while brick are at their smallest. If there is no cracking from expansion of the brick by now, it is doubtful there ever will be. Are there windows and doors in the wall?
There are no windows or doors on this side of the house, just ~80 feet of uninterrupted veneer.
 
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Old 02-04-10, 04:28 AM
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expansion joints

80 feet is way to far to go without some kind of movement control. In my area their are contractors who specialize in cutting walls, both masonry and concrete, try looking in the local yellow pages. You could also visit the local rental store and see what they have to offer. If you decide to tackle this on your own attach a vertical guide to the wall and cut beside it.
Yes there should be some type of through wall flashing that the weeps sit on top of. The flashing directs the flow to the weeps and out of the wall.
If you wrap a ton of pudding with house wrap you still have an unstable substrate that won't support a thing! Also the further one gets from the framing the greater the stress applied to the fasteners that hold the veneer, masonry, stone, stucco, etc. to the framing. Veneer has no structural use except to support itself vertically. From what you have described with the movement I can't see the use of house wrap as a structural element. Might be cheaper to use "Charmin"!!
Can you post a few pictures of what you are working with so that we might have a better idea of what you are confronting? Perhaps your contractor sees something that is not coming out in the verbiage here.
At this juncture I am in agreement that removal of the veneer might be the most cost effective solution, but again I'd like to see a few pictures.
 
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Old 02-04-10, 04:52 AM
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Here's a pic of the wall in question, on the right side from this view. Actually this wall looks closer to 70' in length based on the (back) 1-story part being a garage...






And the reason we are buying this house, a lake and the 8th fairway in the back yard that someone else waters and mows .

 
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Old 02-04-10, 04:55 AM
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A close up of some details of the wall in question. The ledge that the brick runs along has different elevations as the lot slopes towards the back.

 
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Old 02-04-10, 02:06 PM
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Your pictures did not work, but in lieu of openings, the next best place for control joints is at foundation steps.
 
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Old 02-04-10, 02:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Tscarborough View Post
Your pictures did not work, but in lieu of openings, the next best place for control joints is at foundation steps.
YOu should be able to right click on the pics and see them.
 
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Old 02-04-10, 03:03 PM
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It looks like it is flashed. It also looks like the dirt may be too high on the foundation, too. Check to make sure that the weeps are not covered, at a minimum. I would not cut joints in that wall.
 
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Old 02-05-10, 04:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Tscarborough View Post
It looks like it is flashed. It also looks like the dirt may be too high on the foundation, too. Check to make sure that the weeps are not covered, at a minimum. I would not cut joints in that wall.
Thanks, no work is an easy out .

I only saw 3 or 4 weep holes (vertical slots with no mortar) around the entire perimeter of the house. The home inspector (who claims he used to be a brick layer) said I should drill 3/16 holes every 3 bricks to add new weep holes. Just something to let air circulate behind the veneer.

What do you think?
 
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