Brick on front of house causing problems

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Old 01-28-13, 01:51 PM
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Brick on front of house causing problems

Originally this house was purchased with its 1974 wood siding. My dad then in 1990 redid the front with red brick, and half the brick on the house is causing an issue. Our house is a 1000 sq foot bungelow, the front is divided by the front room/tv room and kitchen behind that, on the left and the bedrooms on the right. Our house has always had a crack in the ceiling in the front room since a few years after the brick was done; it's since been filled and screwed to the joists.

My mom and I (now owners since my dad's passed) decided to take out the cedar bushes that were in the left front of the house (in front of the living room). Once these were removed, we noticed the brick is cracked. The mortar is cracked in many places, and even more concerning, a few bricks are crack straight through. Is this a sign of foundation issues? The right side (where the bedrooms are) have no cracks in the brick or inside the house. However, directly towards the back of the house there are cracks on the corners of the back door, and windows on the left side (not on the right) where the kitchen is.

I recently redid flooring in the basement and there are no cracks down there, though some of the 70's wood panelling on the inside walls are bowed on the left side of the house. There aren't any cracks on the exterior foundation walls that I've found. Should I be contacting a structural engineer? or a mason? How do you fix the cracks at the back door and windows (it's stucco)? How much is this going to cost? Could I just pay to remove the brick in place of something else and be done with the issue?

I should also mention that the house is on clay soil, and the only window that sticks is in the kitchen (on the left, directly north to the exterior brick wall). I hope to post pics soon. Thanks
 
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Old 01-28-13, 02:11 PM
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I suspect the foundation your dad poured for the brick is compromised. Normally the brick starts at either the footer or more often there is 12" block going so far up the foundation and then is switched over to 8" block. The brick usually sets on the 4" ledge at the top 12" block. Since the brick wasn't part of the original house, there was no ledge to start it on. I suspect he either didn't dig down far enough or didn't pour a footer that was as thick and wide as it needed to be.

Have a local mason inspect the brick, it may need to come down
 
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Old 01-28-13, 09:00 PM
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Just keep in mind that the local masonry guy will be looking at your brickwork simply as a means of supplementing his income. While not really doing anything if there are other, more serious foundation issues present. Not that there are any, but it's always a possibility.

You might want to consider having a disinterested, third-party take a look at things, in addition to the mason(s). A licensed, civil or structural engineer could be quite helpful in determining exactly what is going on. If you go that route, make sure he/she has recent experience with the type of evaluation you are in need of, including names and phone numbers to make sure his clientele were satisfied with his work.
 
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Old 01-29-13, 05:08 AM
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the local masonry guy will be looking at your brickwork simply as a means of supplementing his income
Good point!! I ferget sometimes that not all contractors look at a job with the customer's best interest in mind
 
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