Category Archives: Masonry

Unbalanced Backfill & A Garage Foundation Wall

Posted by in Construction & Shortcuts, Foundations, Masonry, Soil Issues | June 16, 2014

It is not uncommon for a garage floor slab to be raised above the original grade, especially where the grade around the garage slopes down from front to back or side to side.  This hillside or sloped grade setting will… Read More

Why is My Chimney Sweating?

Posted by in Chimneys, Masonry, Roof, Winter Concerns | April 07, 2014

When the chimney and/or the framing, plaster, or drywall around it are wet, most assume that the wetness is due to a roof leak.  And, although roof leaks at chimneys are not uncommon, sometimes the wetness is due to another… Read More

What caused my brick porch pier to lean like that?

Posted by in Masonry, Soil Issues | January 20, 2014

I don’t know how many leaning porch piers we have evaluated, but I can say – “a lot!” Leaning porch piers are usually noticed by the tenant or owner of the property after a strong wind storm, a vehicle impact… Read More

When Did THIS Happen?

Posted by in Concrete, Cracking, Simple Forensic Methods | July 10, 2013

We are often asked to determine the age or the history of various structural damages.  For example, we may be asked if we can determine the age or history of cracking in a wall, driveway, floor, etc.? The age and/or… Read More

Concrete Masonry Units Are Being Made with Smaller Cross Webs – This is Better, but “On the Other Hand…”

Posted by in Masonry | February 20, 2013

It has been over a year since the American Society of Testing Materials approved ASTM C90-11 which allows thinner cross webs in concrete masonry units (CMU).  The new standard allows cross webs to be ¾ inches thick instead of 11/8 inches. … Read More

What Causes Caulking to Be Squeezed Out of a Brick Wall?

Posted by in Masonry | December 07, 2012

Have you ever seen the soft joint sealant (sometimes called caulking) squeezed out a joint in a brick wall?  (See photo above).  As a structural engineer, I have noticed this innumerable times.  Now you know what we dull engineers do… Read More

Spalling of Brick

Posted by in Masonry | January 05, 2012

Spalling is generally a delamination and/or flaking at the surface of a material.  Spalling of clay brick is shown in Figure SB-1.   Spalling commonly begins when thin layers of the clay brick material have separated from the remainder of the… Read More