Hey everyone, I did an inspection today for an unhappy homeowner moving into new construction. One of the things I came across was a row of half brick on top of a lintel and the lintel was supported by a half brick on the ends. The house is 4 months old with three 9’ garage openings. Two of the openings had cracks above the lintel. This is the first time I’ve seen a lintel with a half brick and need to know if this is a concern. The builders have skimped in other areas and I want to make sure this isn’t one of them. Thanks for any input you can offer.
Angle lintel most likely.
A minimum of 2/3 the brick depth should be supported by the steel angle or brick below it. Are you sure that is “half brick” or just half of the brick is overhanging?
If the steel angle is properly bolted to the framing then the half brick under it should not be a significant issue. However whenever brick is cut that way it is weak and subject to possible cracking across its face.
What’s with the string hanging out? Don’t they have proper weepholes?
Sure looks like other issues there as well. I’m sure you caught them all.
My apologies for the description. By “halfbrick” I meant that the bricks above the lintel had been cut in half lengthwise. I’ve never seen bricks cut this way above a lintel. I’ve also never seen where a lintel is inserted in a brick that’s been cut in half in the back of the brick.
The weep ropes are above most of the windows and the garage doors along with the normal ropes around the base. Can’t say I’ve ever seen them at the lintels before.
There may may be other issues; never assume I caught them all. I’ve had situations where one issue has made me blind to another.
If this is new construction, I would be looking to have that mess corrected or some sort of rebate to have to live with it.
That is a mess.
They failed to install the windows the height needed to match the brick coursing.
And whoever did the trim around those windows, merrits to be fired.
Hopefully the hole on the brick return gets corrected, and the sealant hasn’t been done yet.
Hey Marcel, Yep, this is new construction. Homeowner has been in it 4 months. He’s encountered all sorts of problems and has now decided to get it inspected.
The photos are of the lintels above the garage doors. Yeah, it’s a mess.
No apology needed.
Are these two garage doors next to each other and for the same open garage? Do you have any images of the base of the garage door area from a slight side view?
Do I need to be concerned with the cracks emanating from the lintel? The house is only 4 months old.
Interesting and what I was wondering and why I asked for these shots. If you look at the tops of the garage doors the gaps between lintel and trim increase at the center and right door. The half brick is also only at the center and right door. A bit hard to see so you would need to tell me if I am wrong but look also at the bottom, right corner of all three doors. They created a lip the framing/trim sits on and it decreases in height from left to right. It almost appears that there was a large error in the pad pour and they are trying to compensate for it with the framing, trim, and lintel placement. In the process the issue may have just been compounded resulting in gaps, lintel placement on cut brick, and use of the half brick. It might be functional but ugly work.
Another thing to note is the attempt at creating a lip or slanted exit at the pad surface below the garage door. Obviously if the door bottom bulb seal is closing it off now it will wear and won’t last long. Look to the far right door where there is no lip created and it is even with the driveway flatwork. Not sure what it looks like inside but that can become a point of water entry as the door bottom seal wears.
The only real way to know what happened and if it is going to be a problem is to remove brick and/or gypsum board on inner garage walls around these openings.
That’s a common technique here to get brick on both sides of that wall. However here they do box it out with a moisture barrier material behind the brick and then brick it over just like any other wall. This will seal off the opening not only for looks but also to prevent pest and bird entry.
If you are not seeing any other signs of possible movements like interior gypsum board cracks, cracks on the floor or other bricks, etc., then it may be related to lintel issues more than anything else. However again until destructive inspections are done it may not be clear what is causing it.
The garage door issue and this obviously appear to be quality issues with the garage door as unknown other issues.
If it was my call I would write the garage door area up as a package problem with all issues noted. Unless you are seeing foundation issues or other significant framing issues I would recommend a good GC with a strong framing background to review it. If they are good they will have other trades on call as needed and should be able to take the least destructive method to determine what happened. The GC can also look at that front porch work and provide proper potential corrections.
While the GC is there they can also comment on the many other issues I would expect you found around the home.
Thanks Emmanuel. This is all good advice for me. I appreciate your feedback! I once heard an old sage say “talk soft and write hard”. This is where I write hard. Thanks again for all info!
Thanks Emmanuel. This is all good advice for me. I once heard an old sage say “talk soft and write hard”. This is where I write hard. Thanks again for all info!
In a case like this, the door head is usually built up to be 4" to make it work with the brick and eliminate that cut brick and the lintel has proper support like it should.
And that trim still sucks. LOL
Sometimes we home inspectors forget that we don’t have to figure out why a particular defect has occurred…around here, especially on older home I’ve noticed that windows and doors are set too tight to the brick, crammed in there if you will. So there’s no room for expansion and the brick will often crack at it’s weakest point. They’re supposed to leave a gap, fill the gap with a backer rod and use elastomeric caulk (not regular latex) to allow for expansion and contraction. I guess nobody ever tells the brick masons about this…
The cracks are due to thermal stress. Notice that the mortar on top of the lintel has separated. The steel lintels have a larger thermal coefficient of expansion versus the brick, thereby breaking away from the mortar and putting stress on the adjoining brick veneer walls. There should be gaps at the ends of the lintels to account for this expansion that are likely missing or were filled in with mortar.
Btw. I do not think the half-brick is a structural issue, largely because the brick is a veneer and is not supporting the structure, just the rows of bricks above.
Thanks, everyone, for your input. This feedback helps me to better understand the reason behind what I’m seeing, which, I’ve often found, leads me to other issues. Thanks again!
Were you able to get a look in here:
And see anything about the WRB and flashing behind the brick? Are there weep holes at the base of the bricks?
The cut to half-height bricks themselves seem to be the tip of the iceberg. Did the same builder do other nearby homes?