Brick veneer above garage

New guy wanting to get some feedback on this brick exterior above a garage. I’m seeing some minor deflection above the garage lintel which I’ve noted, but there’s another area next to the garage window that I’m not sure about. I’m seeing some larger mortar joint cracks in this area near the window. I want to call it out as a repair by a brick mason, but want to make sure I’m not missing something.

How old is the house? or the brick work. Possibly caused by rusting steel lintel, do you have a zoomed out pics around the windows? Yes, of course it needs to be corrected by a mason… what the homeowner actually does is up to them.

Do you have a pic from farther away.

The house is 7 yrs old.

Usually due to an under-sized steel lintel over the garage door opening. I would Refer to a structural engineer.

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Michael, did you, by chance, sight down the bottom of the top of the OverHead door brick edge to see if it was sagging?

I didn’t see any sagging.

You would need to run a string or laser to check the sag… wouldn’t need much over long span for the veneer to crack/settle like it did. There are step cracking right above the vehicle door’s lintel. The lintel has to be very stable for veneer not to crack over long-term.


Then, I’d refer it to an SE as Russell indicated, too. That is a lot of weight up there.

Did you see bolts and washers and nuts on the inside of the OH door header? If not, they probably just used lag bolts.

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Had a client on a 1 year warranty inspection with lintel issues causing veneer cracks. He went round and round with the builder following my report but he was persistent. When they finally tore out the veneer, very few of the required lag bolts had been installed at the time of construction. Call for an engineer to do an assessment.

This is my client’s video and image, shared with his permission


The shelf flexed due to lack of bolts? was that the whole fix, add more bolts?

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That pic is definitely showing some step cracking caused by sagging. No easy repair for that.


Bolted brick angle is only as good as to what it is bolted too!

That was part of the defect. The header was also undersized. The fix was spec’d by the engineer. I don’t recall exactly what the repair entailed. This was just what they discovered when they finally agreed to demo.

The point was that you can’t diagnose this by looking at the brick veneer. It needs a more involved analysis, preferably by an engineer independent of the project.

Per the client

Before they began to do any part of the destructive investigation, they had to wait for a small work team to break the brick, an engineer for Strand, the “new” brick company supervisor and the Pulty warranty representative to be there. I had my copies of the spec sheets for the lintel and the recommendation for supports from Strand. We used that to predict where the sets of holes were on the lintel. They removed a small piece of drywall to measure the wooden laminated support beam which the lintel screws into to verify what was installed and compare it to the measurements. The first set of lintel holes revealed one missing screw and the existing one was at an angle due to the lintel bending upward at the left end. The second set of holes was predicted to be 16 inches away and both holes were missing their screws. Pulty was interested in exploring further to see how other location fared, but the brick supervisor advised them that if the other holes are similarly under supported, bricking more brick could further destabilize the lintel and could cause a collapse so they stopped and accepted what they revealed as enough evidence that the beam was not properly installed. All parties involved took pictures including Strand. They did not discuss the metal straps that secure the brick to the framework, but Pulty said they would discuss it with Strand after I passed on the message to them about it.

Strand took measurements that the laminated beam was 16 inches tall, but the spec sheet says 20 inches. After Strand left, the Pulty construction manager, Javier, arrived and he and the Pulty warranty rep debated about the beam being 16 vs 20. Javier stated that the 20 is for a different measurement and that the company that designs the laminated beam and the one that manufacturers it translate numbers differently? We know that the lintel was not installed correctly. As for the laminated beam, we are waiting on Strand.

At this time, we are waiting on Strand to decide on the lintel as being reusable, replacement needed or stronger design. They should also make a decision on the laminated beam as to being the proper size or not, and finally, what is the best method to support the brick so the full lintel can be accessed and corrected. They dropped off a pallet of brick that afternoon in preparation to do repairs.

They mentioned that the subcontractor who installed the brick and lintel was fired between now and when they did my house due to bad jobs and not paying Pulty for the repairs incurred from those mistakes. I will keep you informed.


What a mess! Amazing!, and what’s most interesting to me is how it was all missed during the phase inspections! Sometimes you’ve got to wonder how good the phase inspections really are. Better than nothing but…

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Didn’t do phase inspections on that one. Did the final, but the issue was not manifest at that point. Client had to brow beat the builder for some time even after we documented the issue, during the warranty inspection, which was readily observable by then.


See if you have photos at the bottom. I have seen brick veneer on the front of many houses supported on the driveway slab instead of the garage foundation. Typically the garage driveway slab settles and allows the brick on either side of the door to drop down.

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Not here. The veneer and framing were supported on the foundation beam. Here’s a crop from the whole house image (PT foundation).

For reference: here is how the issue was documented on the warranty inspection report.

Chuck, very hard to see those cracks! most would’ve missed or dismissed it as “normal settlement/shrinkage/minor cracking”. Good catch!

Excellent narrative, too, Chuck. Way to look out for your clients!

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