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  1. #1
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    Aug 2011
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    Default Brick facade separated from house wall

    I have a brick facade on the front wall of my house that is about 40 inches high. The facade is structurally solid and doesn't move. Over the years it has separated from the house wall by as much a 3/4 inch leaving a large gap for water to accumulate next to the house wall. Can I simply fill the void with mortar or some kind of sealant or will it have to be rebuilt?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Brick facade separated from house wall

    Not knowing if you have any water damage behind this wall, it's hard to recommend what to do.

    Look at this this way: to be safe than sorry, rebuild.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Brick facade separated from house wall

    If the facade and the wall have separated by 3/4", something is moving. You need to find out what is moving and why. Chances are that the facade is on its own footing. If you live in a cold climate, then water could have gotten between the wall and the facade, froze and pushed it out.

    When that water melts, it should flow out between the vents at the bottom of the facade, just above the soil line. While in there, it could cause rotting of your sill so that needs to be inspected.

    If the facade is solid and the wall behind it is not rotted or otherwise damaged, then you need to put some flashing under your siding and out over the top of the facade, about a 1/2 over the brick. You can then cover the flashing with some trim piece to hide it. Your goal is to have water shed down the siding, over the top of the brick facade so that it cannot get behind the facade and do damage to the house.

    Have you used a level on the facade to see how far out of plumb the facade is?

  4. #4
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    Aug 2011
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    Default Re: Brick facade separated from house wall

    Thanks Keith, Good points. The house is on a concrete slab foundation and the walls are stucco so foundation rot shouldn't be a problem. I live in Yuma Az. so I don't think I've had a freezing problem either. I did check plumb. The house walls are perfectly plumb (suprisingly) and the facade is out of plumb by about 1/4"/ft, hence the 3/4" separation in 40 inches. The facade is against the house at the bottom and separated at the top. You were right about the facade being on it's own footing.

    The facade wraps around a corner of the house, 36" on the front and 17" on the side. Since the facade is tilted out in both planes it appears that the whole footing has shifted/tilted.

    Unfortunately, masonry isn't in my skill sets so the question remains what to do. I'm too old and lazy to tackle it myself and too poor to have it done. I still wonder if I can just slather a bunch of mortar or some other sealant in the void to help protect the wall behind the facade?

    Ray.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Brick facade separated from house wall

    Ray,

    You can fill in some mortar, if that's the answer you want to hear. It's your castle, do as you wish.

    If it was my house, I would tear and rebuild.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
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    1,387

    Default Re: Brick facade separated from house wall

    Howdy one can fill with minimal expanding foam be sure its the minimal Daps foam applies the least pressure to the objects i have used it on when filling voids. Be sure if you fam to cover it with paint of caulk so sunlight does not strike it as over a few years the UV light will other wise desolve it. Handles several similar damages for insurance claims and mostly its either to few brick anchors to the wall an movement in the footer as a cause of the tilting brick. You do not have much of a freeze and thaw cycle in Yuma- heck maybe that darn heat shrunk the rest of the house away from the brick LOL
    Any an all of my comments are just my opinion and not to be confused with facts.

  7. #7
    Join Date
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    Tennessee
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    Default Re: Brick facade separated from house wall

    Doesn't Yuma get freezing weather at night in the winter?

    Anyway, I think this might be due to something else. In addition to pulling away from the stucco, does it look like it may have sunk down some too? If that is the case, there are construction companies that can inject a cement under the footing to raise it back up. I don't know what that would cost, but I don't think it will be anywhere near the cost of tear out and replace. Olsham is a company that advertises in this area.

    Does the stucco go behind this facade all the way down to your slab? If so, then it should be protecting the lower part of the wall from any water damage. As long as any water that goes down between the wall and the facade can get out through the facade weep holes. The weep holes will be where the mortar between two adjacent bricks is left out of the vertical seam. This should be in the second or third row of bricks from the bottom and there should be a mortarless seam about every 2 feet. If all this is true, you can get by with doing nothing.

    If the stucco goes all the way down, you could also just take out the facade and put a new coat of paint on the stucco.

    I would not suggest that you use a filler. even with the proper weep holes, you probably should still have ventilation at the top. A drip shield would be the best, but if the stucco goes all teh way down, that would be difficult to install.

    My suggestion for this case would be to get some 2x2 treated or rot resistant wood, cut a bevel on the top and screw it into the wall just above the facade. It will just sit on top of the facade, top beveled down and out at the top so any water coming down the wall will go over the trim piece, onto the bricks and out to the ground. Caulk the top of the trim where it touches the wall but do not caulk the bottom where it sits on the brick.

    Question about the brick facade, what type of cap is at the top of the facade. Usually it is bricks with a bevel cut at one end, set side up, bevel cut to wall and forming a slanted cap over the facade.

    If you don't have this, you could have this done if you can match the brick on the facade now. That two would be a lot cheaper that replacing the wall.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
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    2,203

    Default Re: Brick facade separated from house wall

    The best solution is to fix the problem which caused he symptom you noticed. That means a better brick foundation, relaying the wall, and using brick ties, which the original mason didn't seem to do as that would have kept the house and wall together. Relaying the angled rowlock on top is your best bet now but if even that is more than you can afford go with the flashing solution because it will keep the gap covered regardless- anything you just put in the gap will open up as the brick continues to move, which it will.

    A riskier but possible solution would be to shore up the wall with vertical staves crossed with whalers- similar to forming a sheer wall with concrete- then pushing the whole toward the house. Take off the top two courses of brick then relay them with wall ties screwed into the studs. Keep the supports in place for at least two weeks so the mortar can gain strength. This will keep the brick vertical and in position with the house. The brick foundation will provide the vertical support for it and the brick foundation lean won't matter anymore. This all assumes the brick pulls loose from the foundation when you push- extremely likely- and that the wall itself stays in one piece- just plain likely. This should hold for a long time but eventually it too will fail because of he inadequate foundation. I've seen this kind of thing done a few times with good results. There is really little force of the wall puling away from the house, but with nothing now preventing that it will keep going till it falls over eventually.

    Just another case of someone's lazy shortcut in not using wall ties showing up as a big problem later on, which is why good tradespeople never take shortcuts!

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