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Thermal Expansion??


barlyhop
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I inspected a 70 year old house today and found open mortar joints only near the end of a couple exterior walls. As the mortar is still intact but the gaps between stretchers has opened, does this indicate thermal expansion or is something else going on?

This photo shows the north facing wall approximately four feet from the ground. The structure is a single family home, 1.5 story with brick veneer throughout.

There were also basement repairs done in this area, lateral bracing and interior drain tile install.

The mortar joints were fine above and below this photo.

Thanks!

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There was no "bulge" present as I eyeballed it from the flank. I did not observe and crack in the foundation below but there was a thick coat of waterproofing paint on the wall. As I mentioned before, there was lateral bracing below.

This specific area of town has loads of foundation problems.

I am not quite sure but because the masonry below this was just fine with no apparent repairs, I'm thin king expansion. I saw some photo's at inspectapedia that looked similar for thermal expansion.

Sorry, this was my only photo of the wall. The end of the wall is just out of the frame on the right side. You can see the top of the basement window on the left.

I recommended further evaluation by a competent mason due to rusted lintels and other mortar type problems throughout. The buyers were overlooking everything as they were totally in love with this place, the interior was completely redone and nice finishes as well. I hope they heed my advice and get estimates!

Thanks

Randy

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There was no "bulge" present as I eyeballed it from the flank. I did not observe and crack in the foundation below but there was a thick coat of waterproofing paint on the wall. As I mentioned before, there was lateral bracing below.

This specific area of town has loads of foundation problems.

I am not quite sure but because the masonry below this was just fine with no apparent repairs, I'm thin king expansion. I saw some photo's at inspectapedia that looked similar for thermal expansion.

Sorry, this was my only photo of the wall. The end of the wall is just out of the frame on the right side. You can see the top of the basement window on the left.

I recommended further evaluation by a competent mason due to rusted lintels and other mortar type problems throughout. The buyers were overlooking everything as they were totally in love with this place, the interior was completely redone and nice finishes as well. I hope they heed my advice and get estimates!

Thanks

Randy

Given these items and looking at the picture I do not think it is thermal expansion. At first glance it does look that it is. In the photo I noted that the cracks are somewhat wider at the top than the bottom which kind of tells me that it is structural. I would check to see if the collar ties are low enough at the attic. some pressure from splaying or sagging trusses could be asserting itself due to framing issues in the attic.

You say that there are alot of foundation problems in the area, and that the corner occurs just out of photo shot. If there is no framing problems in the attic it is most likely something going on at the foundation at that corner.

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Bricklaying isn't my forte so I ask this silly question:

How does a localized 'thermal expansion' of brick veneer finish come about? I know how an entire brick wall can expand with temperature because of a positive temperature coefficient of expansion but how could it be so localized?

Marc

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Bricklaying isn't my forte so I ask this silly question:

How does a localized 'thermal expansion' of brick veneer finish come about? I know how an entire brick wall can expand with temperature because of a positive temperature coefficient of expansion but how could it be so localized?

Marc

Thats what I was thinking as well, seems if it was expansion, it would not be in just a small spot.

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