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Brick Veneer - Falling/dropping from unstable footings

Discussion in 'Repairs & Maintenance' started by dan_89, 17th Jan, 2016.

  1. dan_89

    dan_89 Well-Known Member

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    Currently renovating a 1980's brick veneer in Scoresby, Melbourne (highly reactive clay soil) and have been paying attention to the brickwork since purchasing the home which has been getting considerably worse in particular at the front of the home.

    The bricks seemed to have broken apart under the window (weakest point) and started falling + sinking at the corner of the house. This has created a 25-30mm gap down the side of the window which has also led to the eave lining pushing the fascia boards out also to the point where it has opened right up in the corner.

    Ideally I don't want to get it underpinned (probably around $8k?) but are there any other option to stop the brickwork and foundations dropping?

    I think excess water build up and lack of drainage at the corner of the house has led to the movement in the foundations as the corner down pipe had a large hole for probably 5+ years and previous owner did nothing about it therefor the ground would have been expanding and contracting more than it should have. I cheaply patched the downpipe temporarily (replacing shortly) when I moved in and since then the brickwork has moved another 10mm approx.

    Trying to weigh up how much I spend on fixing the place or wether I leave as is and knock down in 5-8 years and lease in the meantime. Being a cheaply built home home im feeling it may be a better option to knock down in time rather than spend a bunch on it.

    Anyone had any similar movement in foundations/brickwork and have any advice that helped slow or even stop the problem.

    Cheers!
     

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  2. norwoodman

    norwoodman Well-Known Member

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    Putting my structural engineering hat on - differential settlement in the foundations with sagging in the corner of the building is quite a common problem in areas with clay and sandy soils. It's likely to get worse if left unaddressed for several years. What's happened on the inside of the house, are there cracks around windows/openings and/or separation of cornices?

    Would recommend getting a building or structural engineering professional to come take a look at it asap as it is likely to get worse if left unaddressed. If the problem is only in the corner, underpinning/Uretekking, re-levelling and possibly some re-pointing might be the only required repairs.
     
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  3. Scott No Mates

    Scott No Mates Well-Known Member

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    Agreed with @norwoodman - has the slab cracked inside the house? Underpinning or uretek may solve the problem.
     
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  4. dan_89

    dan_89 Well-Known Member

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    Cheers for the responses guys.

    Strangely enough there was no cracking internally on the plaster prior to painting. The only issue has been with the window frame which has also dropped in one corner and caused one of the pane of glass to crack (bottom RH corner looking from internal).

    I will take the advice and get a structural engineer to come check it out in the near future I think. Not looking forward to hearing how much it's going to cost though!



     
  5. bob shovel

    bob shovel Well-Known Member

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    Has it been dryer than normal? Less rain?
    The clay has probably dried out and shrunk causing the house to drop in that area. Leave the hose on for a day or two to get water back into it, then the clay will swell and push the house back up ;)

    ...better throw one of these in *!

    Ask the neighbours what they know or have experienced

    *although it's awesome advice, you should seek guidance elsewhere
     
  6. Jony Wen

    Jony Wen New Member

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    Hi dan_89,

    Last year we had really dry seasons. We experienced internal cracks around the front of the house.

    Only recently, I called a structural engineer and did some soil samples. It turned out that the soil at the front side has lost a lot of its moisture, compared to the middle side of the house.

    Recommendation from the geotech engineer was that I needed to chop down trees that were close to our footing / slab. The trees' roots might have absorbed the soil moisture due to the low rainfall we had last year.

    He suggested if the natural remedial works could not help lifting up the house over some period of times, we should look at / consider jacking up the house using the polyurethane to stabilise the slab. Underpinning should only be considered as a last resort.
     
    Last edited: 10th Feb, 2016
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  7. Propertunity

    Propertunity Exclusive Real Estate Buyers Agent Business Member

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    As the others have said, it is probably due to clay soils expanding and contracting. Moisture put back in the clay via a slow dripping tap may do a lot to resolve it - but get an engineer anyway.
    It is no-where near as bad as one I inspected last year (and did not buy :eek:). IMG_4766.JPG IMG_4795.JPG
     
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  8. Scott No Mates

    Scott No Mates Well-Known Member

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  9. Biz

    Biz Well-Known Member

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    A lot of these problems are because houses of that vintage had no expansion joints in the brickwork like they do now.
     
  10. sauber

    sauber Well-Known Member

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    But remember expansion joints of only good for upto 20% of movement too. you could always get the joints cut in and get a professional caulker to fill them.
     
  11. Scott No Mates

    Scott No Mates Well-Known Member

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    Not quite, wall lengths <6m restrained or 12m unrestrained don't crack (generally ), use of seasoned dry pressed bricks have already expanded so are less inclined to suffer from further brick growth only thermal expansion.
     
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