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Advice on replacing header + preventing further separation of exterior wall?

Advice on replacing header + preventing further separation of exterior wall?


Old 03-11-18, 08:00 AM
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Advice on replacing header + preventing further separation of exterior wall?

I'm in the process of installing furring strips + sheetrock on the inside of my exterior walls, and I'm also now planning on replacing my front door. In the process of removing the front door molding I found out the corner wall of my house has seperated a 1/2" along the frame of the front door. At first I was very concerned, but after further investigation I'm not sure if it's actively separating, or if it's settled this was years ago.

1st picture: The exterior walls are structural clay tile with a brick facade on the first floor, and stucco covering the second floor. I've known there was some issue from the exterior of the house, but never realized the seriousness of it until the molding/interior plaster. For years the front has looked like the first picture, clearly there was separation at the top. But it hasn't visibly gotten any worse. And the crack stops behind the aluminum trim. It does not continue up corner through the clay tiles/stucco on the 2nd floor of the house. There is an a small "sun room" attached to the house/wall that's visible in the picture.

2nd picture: After removing the interior molding on the door, some of the plaster came down with it. I saw that existing "header" was an old style 2x4 underneath the structural clay tile. And you can see in the picture, the corner has separated enough that it appears the header is barely holding/overlapping the concrete support on the right side.

Outside, underneath the brick facade on is a steel plate holding up the bricks across the top of the door. (Visible in the last picture).

3rd and 4th pictures: Just to make things easier to see, I outlined some of the wood in the picture in red, and concrete the installers used in blue. Like I said, I was less concerned after further investigation, both the wood header and also the other red-outlined wood "support" on the right, do not appear to be carrying any weight. As you can see in the 4th picture, the header slides out without any effort, the same goes for the 1x4 on right. I'm hoping that means the structural clay tile is still doing it's job well, and if I can remove just the header and replace it with a longer steel plate to provide more support than it currently provides? I'd also fill the gap beneath the 1x4 with concrete.

5th picture: I'm planning on getting a new pre-hung exterior door, hopefully that I can secure into the walls better than the current (original) door has been all these years. Basically it was secured to the moulding. But I'm wondering how can I prevent further separation? I know waterproofing the outside is key. I should also mention the (again, larger, old-style) 2x8 joists in the ceiling run in the same direction as the header (across the door) and there is one almost embedded in the clay tile right above the door. My point being they should be helping hold that wall.


Edit: I didn't know exactly which forum this belonged in, I assumed it was a more a structural framing issue, than exterior brick?
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Last edited by EvanVanVan; 03-11-18 at 08:17 AM.
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Old 03-11-18, 10:54 AM
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I'm not sure if it's actively separating, or if it's settled this was years ago.
The problems with this corner started day one. You can see that by the poor way the block was laid around the door. The horizontal pieces of wood to the right of the doorway should not even be there, they ruin any continuity of the block structure, creating a weak point in the construction. We have no way of knowing what kind of reinforcement was added to the block, if any.

The fact that your block is fractured and separated, yet has not sunk, and the fact that you say there is no weight bearing on the 2x4 framing above the door tells me that the brick fascade and the brick lintel is picking up some of the load somehow. The way it looks, the only thing holding it together is probably the friction of the weight of the roof, it's structure, and the steel lintel... because from the looks of it, that is the ONLY thing that is continuous and unbroken.

I have no comments on what could be done to correct (or prevent this from getting worse), since in my opinion, it wasn't done right in the first place. If redone, it would likely involve new block, possibly a bond beam above the doorway, vertical core reinforcement with rebar on the either side of the door, or some other means of horizontal joint reinforcement.

Your best advice would come from a structural engineer or an experienced masonry contractor who could inspect this wall in person.
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