single row of brick for foundation wall

5 yr old 2 level home

Full brick on front only.

Rear and one side has the full block foundation but no loads are on it since the mud sill plate is only a 2x4.

All of the framing loads are on the single brick wythe that is visible also at the exterior lower walls (vinyl siding on these walls)

I found a web reference to this method but it showed the brick being reinforced with steel.

I really doubt this house has the steel, only has some typical sill plate staps embedded that maybe reach down two bricks. Also some gaps between the brick and block that were there during construction that indicates no tie in methods used.

Anyone have any info on this method of construction?

I know the load is spread out but this is a 2 story house and it would seem the lateral strength would be poor for shear loads.

July 1 2009 036.jpg

Bruce, do you have a picture of a broader view, or below or outside to see the overall picture?:slight_smile:

No more pics, its really that simple, parts of the house are sitting on a single row of bricks, the block is doing nothing except sitting on the same footer.


Did you pull the dirt out from under that single row of brick?

How do you know that some sort of ledger was not attached at the front, between the block layers?

The IRC says a pier & curtain wall can be used to support up to 2 stories. This is their photo of a pier and curtain wall:


So if I pier & curtain wall is OK on 2 stories, a full block foundation ought to be. It also says a sill plate can be a 2x4. And note that they show the sill plate with a strap embedded into the footing (which you never see).

I’d be worried about the absence of ties on that short wall. That is so unusual, I’d probably call he appropriate AHJ and speak with them before releasing that report. I’ve never seen anything like it. Looks like a change in plan…note the foundation tie in the block wall.

Frankly, I don’t know. Let us know what you conclude.

I am not concerned about a footer under the brick, it would be all cracked up if it were missing. Are you asking about some type of tie in between the block and brick?

That still would not be a great method unless it was tied into the very top brick which I doubt since some gaps were visible.

That’s what I was thinking…

Bruce, I looked at the photo again and re-read your post and I believe what we got hear is a block foundation of 10" block and at the top course change to brick to support the sill plate for the wall and what we see is a 6" block on the inside.
The sill strap that we see is probably grouten in the 10" block below.
I have heard of this design before, but never seen it. All concrete up here.

Something to think about, because this design I am talking about exist.


No, thats a regular size block with a single row of brick on the outside, the framing is sitting only on the brick.

Notice how the IRC diagram shows bricks tying the pier into the curtain wall.
It also shows a 2x6 sill plate, not noted in the text but the drawing size is definitely not a 2x4 since it is much larger than the double band.

The IRC diagram also shows the loading kept lower (right near the top of the foundation).

I forgot to mention that the short framed wall is leaning out some too, this has not moved, its just due to the uneven surface they put it on. I had an engineer look at a leaning short wall like that once and he signed off on it saying it would be fine. That one had a 2x6 sill though and was connected to the block.

You’re thinking that the bricks sit on the footing directly?

Well, a concrete footing, with no frost protection, one course of brick with a 2"x4" sill for a 2"x4" stud wall.
Sill is anchored with straps that are tied in with the footer.

So what is the problem? Other than frost protection, you do have frost down there don’t you?

Yes, thats typical here

12" frost line at this location

Sill straps are not the type that can reach the footer.

Hmmm, I’m not familiar with doing it that way.

With the deep footers up there, it would be a waste of good bricks to do it that way.

Yup. :slight_smile:

They may choose to “misunderstand” the question and assume it must be right if they passed it.

They may also not need any more complaints from homeowners who thought their house got fully inspected when it was built.

I betcha a donut that those nails are not galvanized nor are the fastners on the OSB to the sill plate or the nails from sill to stud. :slight_smile:

As to your original question, a 2x4 can not be used as a sill plate on a pier and curtain wall…curtain walls must also be tied to the pier in an approved fashion…with that said, how can a load bearing wall rest on a brick ledge when its not permitable with a pier and curtain wall?

I don’t think its a change in plan guys but rather the framer did not have the proper sill plate material and simply used a 2x4 instead as is evident by the excessive amount of strap that is left over…I have seen this before…I have also seen inspectors in Mecklenburg, Lincoln, Cabarrus, Stanly counties all call this out as a code violation. Again we are talking code…however with that said I would document same and advise that further evaluation of any available plans by a GC or engineer may be warranted.



thanks Jeff, I knew this could not be right, maybe not a big deal if it was a one story house but this is a large 2-story.

I bet the plans even show 2x6 studs for these short walls too.