Leaning brick column... what to do?


Old 08-28-13, 07:48 PM
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Leaning brick column... what to do?

Hey all. Our built-in-78 home in Dallas, TX has got a leaning brick column. In the 2 years we've lived here, during the summers, it's leaned over a bit more (without actually measuring, the top has moved another 2 inches since moving in). It isn't load bearing (at least, not anymore!)- there's a small gap between the top of the column and the overhang it stands under. So it's probably sunk a bit in addition to leaning. It's far enough away from the slab foundation that it doesn't receive the extra watering from our soakers (we get a good deal of movement).

I imagine it's got a poor footing underneath- just for kicks when I went to take these pictures, I pushed it at about halfway up to see how loose it might be. It turns out that the column is broken clear through just under halfway up- the top half is just sitting on top of the bottom half- I gave it a good heave and almost knocked the top half clear off.

Is the correct answer here, "take it down now before it falls over and hurts someone"? Could it be taken down, have a new footing/foundation put in place, and have the two halves mortared together? Or would a new pillar need to be built?

Thanks for reading!


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Old 08-29-13, 04:21 AM
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Welcome to the forums! I doubt you would be able to correct the attitude of the column, as you say, by just pushing on it as the bottom half will follow the ill footing and the top will push over. I hate to say it, but rebuilding it with a proper footing is the only way to gain the security you need. I feel as you dig down, you will find little to no footing. I doubt it would be worth the cost of having it hydraulically corrected as they do driveways, etc. but may be a shot. They will inject grout into the earth under the footing (creating a footing) and apply enough pressure to correct the listing. You'd have to do some local investigation to see who does that type work.
Old 08-29-13, 05:06 AM
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I'd vote for carefully taking it down and rebuilding on a better footer. With a little care you should be able to save the brick, not so much as a cost saver but that way you don't have to worry about finding a suitable replacement and/or the new brick not matching the old.

I would check into having it corrected by pumping grout under the footer just to make sure it doesn't cost too much ..... it would be less hassle
Old 08-29-13, 10:26 PM
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Going against the flow, I'd vote for not tearing it down and rebuilding it, just because I think there are easier and much quicker solutions. Since the member is purely decorative, and not supporting any loads other than its own weight, why not consider rejoining the 2 halves together using a low modulus, low viscosity epoxy adhesive? Then you could have your neighborhood Uretek guy pump his expanding foam under the column to both straighten it and permanently hold it in that position. Their tech reps that did APWA trade shows in my area of Oregon were based in DFW, as I recall.

A cheaper (although more laborious) approach would be to dig an access hole adjacent to the tilted face, and jack the thing into plumb position using a small bottle jack or scissors jack. Temporarily block it in place with bricks, remove the jack, and then pour a supplemental concrete footing around the bricks to hold the column where you want it. A similar situation on this forum discussed the foregoing (for mortared stone column fence posts, if I'm remembering it correctly) a while back, with good results.
Old 08-31-13, 10:54 AM
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Thank you so much for all the thought-out replies. Going to take some time to ponder (and see if I can track down some quotes)

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