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chouck

11:37AM | 02/05/05
Member Since: 02/04/05
3 lifetime posts
Bvbasement
My newly purchased existing home has brick along the front of the home below the window level. This brick extends a good foot below ground level. Is this normal? It seems odd that brick would be used below ground instead of extending the concrete footing up to just below ground level.

Any ideas?

Thanks.

Glenn Good

03:01AM | 02/06/05
Member Since: 09/10/03
314 lifetime posts
This is quite common, especially when there are only a small number of brick being used on the home. The masonry normally extends to below the frost line or deeper.

Many times block is used below grade and the brick starts 2-3 courses below grade. Block is cheaper but when a small amount a brick is being used for the project the cost difference is minimal.

Brick are generally purchased in "cubes", which contain in the neighborhood of 525 brick depending on the size of the brick. The thinking in many cases may be, "If there are going to be 300-400 brick left over, why not use them instead of block?" A little more in labor to install but the savings on material (since you will have some brick left over anyway) may offset the cost.

Glenn

Moderator: Construction Systems, Foundations, and Masonry & Stone

For more information about me and/or my qualifications please visit my website at:

www.consultationdirect.com

carlbrown

04:53AM | 02/06/05
Member Since: 01/05/05
83 lifetime posts
If the wall behind the brick is wood framing it could be a big problem!! Water intrusion. If the wall behind the brick is concrete not such a big issue. But it could be years down the road from freeze and thaw cycles. The mortar will fall apart. And the bricks could also.

carlbrown

04:57AM | 02/06/05
Member Since: 01/05/05
83 lifetime posts
There should be weep holes in the brick job! If they are below grade you have a "PROBLEM"!

homebild

11:04PM | 02/07/05
Member Since: 01/28/03
693 lifetime posts
Brick extending below grade is NOT NORMAL and is a building code violation under most building codes.

For example, if your state utilizes the ICC (International Code Council) IRC (International Residential Code), it remains illegal for brick to be placed below 4" above soil grade at any location.

Because brick has 'weep holes' to allow proper ventilation and drainage of any condensed vapor behind it...

And because these weep holes can allow insects to attack wood framing members...

It is NEVER "NORMAL" for brick and weep screeds to be placed below soil level...and is a code violation in most every occurance...

Glenn Good

03:26PM | 02/08/05
Member Since: 09/10/03
314 lifetime posts
It is a common practice in many states to run the brick below grade. The weep holes, however, should never be installed below grade. Through the wall flashing should be installed directly under the weep holes and the weep holes should be at least 4" above grade. In addition the void between the block wall and the brick veneer should be filled with grout or concrete to eliminate the void and keep out water and eliminate problems from hydrostatic pressure below grade. This is a very common practice and is even detailed on the blueprints on many projects, not only residential but large commercial projects as well. I am a project superintended and I see this all then time.

I am also a certified licensed home inspector. This is not against the building code in any of the 5 states I have worked in and as long as the void behind the brick is filled and proper weep holes and flashing are used there should be NO problem with it.

Glenn

Moderator: Construction Systems, Foundations, and Masonry & Stone

For more information about me and/or my qualifications please visit my website at:

www.consultationdirect.com

chouck

06:59AM | 02/09/05
Member Since: 02/04/05
3 lifetime posts
I dug a trench along the outside of the brick about a foot deep. Water has seeped into the trench to a depth of 3 inches or so and remains. This is not a concern to the house directly as I am on a crawl space. However, what concern should I have for the foundation. The area I am in has a high water table and a clay layer below the topsoil. I am told that this is common for my area. However, do I need to have a dry well put or other treatment. The house is nearly 30 years old and there are no symptoms of any structural deterioration.

Thanks.
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