Fill Hollow Brick Porch Piers?

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Old 06-04-15, 05:36 AM
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Fill Hollow Brick Porch Piers?

Several years ago, when we purchased our home, we paid a mason to repoint all the brick on our home, as well as to rebuild one of the porch piers that holds up our front porch. While doing some work on the porch recently, I removed some beadboard and discovered that the backside of the porch piers are a different brick, a different mortar (which is totally failing), and that the masons left holes in the backside of the pier they did rebuild. The bricks on the backside seem to be broken hunks. It is not clear if the bricks have deteriorated or if they were installed this way. It does not look like spalling, and I see no evidence of brick dust. That leads me to believe they just threw leftover hunks back there held together by inferior mortar, which turns to dust when touched now. I also discovered the piers are hollow and the masons did not bother crawling into the crawl space and repointing there.

My plan was to remove the broken pieces of brick on the backsides of the piers and replace them with full bricks using a Type S Mortar Mix, then filling up the piers with the same Type S mix (they are 12"x16"x60", so should be filled to be up to code). I won't be able to get rebar in there without totally removing the porch columns that rest on the piers, which I would like to avoid. Does this sound like a reasonable plan?

fyi: The mason didn't feel the rebuilt pier needed to be rebuilt, as he didn't feel any more significant settling would occur (it just leaned out a little compared to the others), but we had him do it out of an abundance of caution. Also, the front half of the piers that is visible outside is in good condition, with a harder brick and mortar. The masons listed Type N as the mortar they used, but as this is load bearing I am assuming I should use Type S. The house was built in 1940 and we don't know what, if any, kind of footing was used under the piers. However, the porch seems in good condition other than this and doesn't appear to have any noticeable sag.
 
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Old 06-04-15, 05:55 AM
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Here is what I am working with:
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Old 06-04-15, 06:07 AM
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Type N IS a structural mortar. The ASTM and code requirements/specifications state that the weakest mortar to carry the loads should be used. - The piers are loadbearing, but the loads are very low and certainly a Type M or type S mortar could be excessive..

As far a filling the piers, if the is a open cavity, it would be proper to use some sort of a grout for filling because it is more effective to totally fill a void. It should be very wet (8" tp 11" slump) and just be small rock, sand and cement (no lime).

In spite of the specs and standards, you repairs may be adequate for purpose, but do not meet your inquisitive eye and opinion requirements. You are not building a 10 or 20 story masonry structure. - It would be good to know the height and width of the piers.

Dick
 
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Old 06-04-15, 06:14 AM
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Thanks for the reply, Dick. That is good to know about Type N. I was simply going off the bags saying not to use for load bearing. The piers are 12"d x16"w x 60" high (above grade). They extend from the ground to the top of a half wall on the porch. Square columns then sit on top of them. On the bottom and top of the back side, there is also a piece of wood embedded in the column for the beadboard to be nailed to.
 
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Old 06-04-15, 07:03 AM
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It seems like Quikrete Core-fill would be the product for the job to fill the open cavity, but is not easily available to me. Would a Quikrete concrete mix do the job if mixed to the proper slump?
 
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Old 06-04-15, 06:53 PM
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I began repointing one pier from the crawl space today with Type N mortar (thanks, Dick!) and noticed all the wood beams that support the floor going to into the piers. If I fill the pier with grout, will that cause the beams to deteriorate too rapidly? Thanks
 
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