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Phillip
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Originally posted by kurt

Not sure how an opening can have both an arch and a lintel(?).

I see it occasionally. The arch alone is probably fine as long as there's enough brick to either side of it to absorb the lateral forces.

Here are some pictures of a recent brick installation where they used steel lintels under the arches. The installer was concerned that the outward thrust of the arches without lintels would cause the corners to blow out.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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I am a firm believer in doing things "right" and being able to cite reputable sources as needed. That said, I likely would have commented on the arch and its construction.

Jim K has a good point with his lateral question. Kurt's response may be a little too practical. All things being equal, the arch will still be in place in several years, but cracked.

If it is cracked and settled, then how would an inspector explain it? First thing I would investigate is the alignment of arch anchor bricks with the field brick.

It is my opinion, Phillip rightly brought the issue into the inspection.

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OK. Example of how working outside one's market is dangerous.

I think in terms of solid masonry construction; I look @ a couple brick veneer jobs annually, but only if I can't avoid it. When I see an arch, it's an arch.

If I had my way, I'd call in an air strike on that big ugly thing in the photo......

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Originally posted by kurt

. . . If I had my way, I'd call in an air strike on that big ugly thing in the photo......

That big ugly thing has an amusing history. It was originally clad in EIFS. The EIFS did its thing and caused tens of thousands in damage. So the owner had all of the EIFS peeled off and then had new EIFS installed -- double layer of building paper, drainage mesh, etc. It cost about 100K. Then he put the house up for sale and found that, in the hottest seller's market in Portland's history, he couldn't sell the damn thing. No one would buy EIFS by that time. So he said that he'd pay to have the house re-sided any way the buyer wanted.

The buyer, my customer, hired me to monitor the re-siding process. Before work began, I sent the contractor the relevant pages from the code book, the BIA tech notes, and a list of my own personal top ten brick screw ups that he should avoid. I visited the site just after all of the EIFS came off. (It had been leaking, BTW.) I instructed my customer and the contractor to call me at two critical points in construction for the next two inspections.

The next call I get from them is to say that the brick is 90% done and would I please come and sign off on it. Grrrrr!

So I went out there to see that no one paid any attention to anything that I'd said or read anything that I'd sent. I wrote a scathing report and sent it along to my customer. He read it and decided that he didn't want to make trouble with the contractor, so he just didn't address any of the issues.

Grrrrr!

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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It slipped my mind until I was transferring photos from my Memory Stick a few minutes ago, but the same thing going on in Phillip's photos was also happening above the garage of the house I checked out this morning.

Right or wrong, this is pretty common in my area, and I've never seen it cause any problems.

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Originally posted by Bain

It slipped my mind until I was transferring photos from my Memory Stick a few minutes ago, but the same thing going on in Phillip's photos was also happening above the garage of the house I checked out this morning.

Right or wrong, this is pretty common in my area, and I've never seen it cause any problems.

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On this home, I'd bet about anything that there would be some pretty good cracking in a couple of decades, if not less. A true half-round arch does a wonderful job of transferring the load to the vertical "legs" and down to the ground. Look at the Roman aqueducts. But the flatter the arch is, the more that thrust is exerted laterally, not downward. Hence Jim K's comment about having enough mass to the side walls to resist the lateral thrust. In Phillip's post, the design of the window above the arch will take a lot of the load off the center of the arch, so I suspect it will be OK. But when you have a double wide garage door and a shallow arch, AND a relatively large load across the center of the arch I don't feel as comfortable saying it won't crack. In fact, I'll bet it would. Of course, cracking is not synonymous with structural failure. I see lots of 70-90 year old homes with shallow arches over the front porch or porte-cocheres. There may be a 1" gap in the mortar, but eventually a point of equilibrium is reached, well prior to the point at which the veneer falls off or structural columns blow out.

On a side note, but a related one, it cracks me up when I see so many new homes with a decorative keystone inserted uselessly ABOVE an arch as though it's some sort of silly architectural exclamation point. Worse yet are those in a horizontal soldier course above a window where the bricks aren't even skewed.

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I'm not being contentious, Phillip, just trying to learn. It doesn't appear that the lintel inserts into the bricks at the upper corners of the window, which would mean the lintel really isn't bearing any load. It almost looks as if the piece of metal was used as a form while the bricks were being laid.

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Originally posted by Bain

I'm not being contentious, Phillip, just trying to learn. It doesn't appear that the lintel inserts into the bricks at the upper corners of the window, which would mean the lintel really isn't bearing any load. It almost looks as if the piece of metal was used as a form while the bricks were being laid.

I suspect that it's bolted to the header . . . or whatever wood framing is above the window.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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Originally posted by Bain

I'm not being contentious, Phillip, just trying to learn. It doesn't appear that the lintel inserts into the bricks at the upper corners of the window, which would mean the lintel really isn't bearing any load. It almost looks as if the piece of metal was used as a form while the bricks were being laid.

I thought the same thing.

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