I have never seen a pier that was made of both brick and cinder block in this area. Everything is either all brick or all cinder block. Every pier under this 2 story house was like this. Is this common in other areas of the country?


You’ve never seen that in Louisiana? :shock:
Those folks are the most creative at using whatever is available to do whatever it is they want to do at any time they want to do it, usually right after a hurricane, or after a hurricane. I sometimes find similar stuff out in the beach communities, but they weren’t designed by any engineer.

No brick and cinder block around here, unless its a mobile home…Mainly conrete piers and wood columns, or metal jacks.

Anything is possible; dependant of course on the skills of the builder. Your picture does not seem to indicate the pier is in distress.

I’ve seen it and don’t think there’s anything wrong with it if there is a footing.

There were footers under the piers and all of them were in shape, I guess they were trying to save a dollar by using some cinder blocks and not all bricks.

I have seen everything from concrete filled paint cans to cypress stumps. As thing go that pier would not concern me greatly. It appears to be doing the intented job and been in place a very long time. Often we find someone has installed concrete blocks with the voids positioned horizontally and then they wonder why they crushed.

I wasn’t aware of those type of red bricks being approved for structural support.

We have thousands of home here with nothing BUT piers made from red clay bricks. Many of the very old homes have problems with them crumbling apart because they would often use beach sand (because it was free and plentiful) instead of builders sand for the mortar. You can rub mortar joints out with your fingernail. Over time the salts and minerals leach out and the mortar joints are little more than sand stone.

Hi to all,

As others have said I se nothing much wrong with that pier, but I do wonder how they got them all so nice and level without any shimming?

Unlike this one from my inspection yesterday!!




Gerry you always come up with the good ones. ha. ha. :wink:

Brick on top of the concrete masonry unit is actually better than just CMU, in this case due the density capacity of the brick transfers the weight to the weak link in this case the CMU.
Not having shims would explain that it was set to elevation before the framing, which would mean, it has been there for a long time. Looks good to me.

Marcel :slight_smile: :slight_smile:

Same here.

Beats the heck out of wood shims that compress with load and time.

I’ll have to disagree with that statement. As I stated earlier, I’m not aware of that type of brick being approved for structural support, while CMU, when installed properly, can be used for structural support. So the weak link here would seem to be the brick. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that because the brick is smaller, and has smaller holes, that its “density capacity” is greater than that of the larger-with-larger-holes CMU. Such might not be the case, depending on many, many factors.

Brick does the same thing, which is why it’s not approved for structural support.

Wood, and wood shims, actually are very versatile and last quite a long time under load, depending on conditions. Obviously, something in a moisture environment or eaten up by WDP&O won’t perform the appropriate job.

There are homes in Toronto which consist entirely of brick used for foundation walls, which are load bearing. Just as there are double brick walls used above the foundation which are load bearing.

In the scheme of things steel shims are best when required in new construction. I have seen too many wood shims which have been crushed because of the load, fwiw.

Older homes? Built before we truly understood the problems with bricks as load-bearing structural systems?

I don’t think it is a case of understanding the problems because many of those homes show no signs of failure or distress and have withstood the test of time. There is nothing to stop anyone from building a home of double brick, but the cost of the brick. Brick is too expensive to construct a double brick wall. Even old Victorian farm houses are double clay brick and many are a testament to building skills and material use for the day and are holding up nicely after all these years.

Brick is also used on top of concrete block to bring the top of foundation up when required.

I have inspected more then a few Brick foundatins that are over 100 years old still doing as designed .
Here are a few surprises. Roy sr.



I guess we agree to disagree again.

There was a time in Structural Engineering designs where Block Walls were erected and the top three cores of CMU were below a bearing member were left open by stuffing the cores below it with paper or a piece of tar paper was slipped in the block cell to close it off, and then the cores three high were filled with grout and a layer of brick was installed over the CMU to provide a seat for the support of steel bar joists. This is when attacthment was not required for steel support. Then it changed to brick over CMU directly under steel anchor plates to provide lateral attacthment and increase bearing capacities on top of the CMU. CMU bricks were commonly used and also red solid core clay bricks were used for this purpose. Hollow core bricks were never used for this purpose.

The density of a clay brick way exceeds the PSI rating of the regular CMU. I could get you the numbers, but figure I would let you do the leg work if you want to know.

If it had to come off the cuff, I would say that a regular CMU unit would be of the range of 1500 to 2500 PSI commpression capacity and solid clay brick would be around 2500 to 3500 PSI. in comparison.

They other factor,is how it is applied in the construction process that would include the orientation and mortar used. This is where a Prism test would be initiated to really access the correct correlated factors to know what the composition will be able to support.

Hope this helps in our agreement to disagree.

Marcel :slight_smile: :slight_smile: :smiley: :smiley: :wink: