Cracks in Brick - 18' long Lintel

Jim Ginas
by Jim Ginas
Had a Foundation Inspection, expecting what is obvious, contractor coming in with a $3,750 contract to fix what you see in the pics! States, has to pull the old, 13 yr old lintel out, brace, replace the lintel, pull the mortar and replace the mortar between the brick and lintel and in the area of the crack. He says 4 days of work. Another contractor states 1-2 days at most and less then half that price.
  11 answers
  • KMS Woodworks KMS Woodworks on Oct 24, 2013
    This is brick veneer over a garage opening? what support is currently below these bricks? I would think steel angle iron bolted into the built up or engineered beam would be a minimum requirement.
    • See 2 previous
    • Jim Ginas Jim Ginas on Oct 25, 2013
      @KMS Woodworks - see, and that's my concern, that it is aesthetics and if we are selling 5-7 years and the structure is not affected, I don;t need to spend $3700+, BUT if it is in-fact a structural, then I rather get it fixed right. Have 2 more estimates scheduled and I will ask if the house is Brick Veneer or brick construction.... I'll ask....
  • Cynthia Freeney Cynthia Freeney on Oct 25, 2013
    I'd strongly suggest you get a second (or even third) opinion from a foundation company or structural engineer. This kind of crack in a brick construction might indicate foundation settlement. I suggest you look for other symptoms of settlement. For example: are the doors and windows fully functional or sticking a little? Any cracks in the drywall inside, specially around windows and doors ? Are the windows and doors out of square? Is the floor leveled? If you can find any signs that your foundation is settling, the work suggested will be only a temporary fix because the foundation without proper support will keep sinking and it is only a matter of time before more cracks appear and in my opinion even the lowest estimate is too much money to pay for something that will not last forever.
    • Jim Ginas Jim Ginas on Oct 25, 2013
      @Cynthia Freeney Thanks Cynthia. I have 2 additional companies coming out to give estimates. The initial company did do a thorough inspection, checked interior walls, low and high for cracking, same about the doors on hinges, all square, checked flooring and also exterior where water would collect close to the house. Interior, (KNOCK WOOD), no cracking anywhere, all doors still square and only need to add extensions on the gutter spouts to move water further away from the house. He said, same as my initial home inspector, and contractors that have done work here since, the house was built really well. Thank goodness. ISSUE is HE believes the lintel is weak and needs replacing wit a better quality lintel. Do you foresee worse damage by NOT replacing the lintel?
  • Chris Sabol Chris Sabol on Oct 29, 2014
    This happened to my all brick home, starting out just like yours, a hairline crack, on my attached garage wall. Being a single mother, back in the day, I couldn't afford to have it looked at much less repaired. Fast forward 5 or so years, the hairline crack became a 4" split. I did finally have a structural engineer look at it and the prognosis was not good. After all those years, the house, built in 1954, had done some settling. From what they didn't know, They suspected water runoff from the way the state paved the road in front of my house. House had to be pinned on all 4 corners to stabilize it. $40,000 later....Long story short, get it looked at now, find out what is causing the crack (important) and spending $3700 now could save you much more in the long run. Good luck.
  • Richard H Richard H on Nov 07, 2014
    Jim, This appears to be just cosmetic. As you can see from my repair, the bricks themselves were cracked into as well as cracking along the mortar joints. I simply took a 9" angle grinder with masonry blade to grind out the old mortar. I took the broken bricks out and glued them back together with Gorilla glue, reinserted, and replaced the mortar for a pretty nice fix. It costs me around $10 for supplies and took about 6 hours (over a couple of days). There's no way I would consider paying someone $300 much less $3000+ for this kind of minor repair. Yours would not require removing any brick and mixing the mortar and adding color to make it match, then 're-pointing' it would be relatively easy. Find some local handyman and I'll bet he/she would do that for much less.
    • Jim Ginas Jim Ginas on Nov 07, 2014
      @Richard H Thank you for the reply. I looked at your link, appreciate it! I have a contractor that does some work for us coming in the next couple weeks to look as some other projects and will ask him to look at this.
  • White Oak Studio Designs White Oak Studio Designs on Dec 16, 2014
    Houses settle over time, so brick, like other masonry needs to be fixed from time to time. The cement mix will need to be removed and replaced using a special tool so that it is done right. It might also have to be tinted to match your other cement. Make sure you have visited the work of your mason first before hiring to see the quality/ability of his talent. We have an Indiana Limestone sided home with cracks that needed "repointing." I "trusted" that my masonry would be done correctly and it was not. The person I paid did not remove the old cement, just layered new cement on over the cracks, did not tint it, used ugly gray cement over cream cement and it looks awful and is re-cracking. This person was self-employed so I had no option but to take him to Small Claims Court and when your working with self-employed contractor there is no real recourse as their wages cannot be garnished. Get a written contract, spell out exactly what you want and what you are getting done. Do your research first!! I learned this all the hard way.
  • 918210 918210 on Jan 01, 2015
    Take some precise measurements of the crack at several locations. Measure again every month or so. If the crack is not getting wider or longer, then it is normal settlement crack and can be repaired by re-pointing or caulking with a mortar type caulk, If it is growing then the brick are moving and is a more serious issue. I had a similar issue when I buily my house in 1991. A 1/2" crack appeared above the gable end of my garage. The contractor re-pointed the joint. It cracked again, this time 1/4" and again the contractor re-pointed. 3rd time the crack was 1/8". The brick were MOVING. In my case, they were literally sliding off the roof! At this point 2 years had passed and my contractor would no longer take responsibility. I hired an engineer who quickly concluded proper support was needed and provided 3 options to permanently repair the problem. The least costly for me was to remove the brick on the gable end and install siding. Hope you have better luck than I did.
    • Jim Ginas Jim Ginas on Jan 01, 2015
      @Gary Harglerode Thank you Gary. I do check the crack often. Seems (KNOCK WOOD, Pray, or just plain hope it stays!), seems the crack has not changed at all since it was pointed out to us. I'll keep an eye!
  • Cindie Taylor-pamula Cindie Taylor-pamula on Jan 03, 2015
    We had this problem where the brick back wall of the garage meets the brick wall of the house. We noticed same kind of brick crack on side of garge. the corner was tipping away from home. and had 3 est. had it done. they dug very deep under corner& side , put in lots of supports and concrete.filled the brick hair line cracks.We payed about $3,300. but after about 1year 1/2 is right back where we started, and worse. Now it is so bad the eaves, and gutters are now pulling apart. House insurance will do nothing. IT IS NOT COSMETIC.. Do something asap. Or it will cost you $$$$ more later. We need to move, I need a 1 floor home due to health. But we can't sell it this way.
  • Cindie Taylor-pamula Cindie Taylor-pamula on Jan 03, 2015
    Need to be a Licensed foundation expert, but how do you know they are and expert, GET A Structural Chris sad.
  • Eric Turner Eric Turner on Jan 24, 2015
    Jim I am a retired construction superintendent. I suspect that the lintel is not heavy enough to carry the weight of the bricks over that distance. Do you see any cracking in the garage floor? If not it is most likely the lintel. There is a co called The Wayne Group is the Virginia beach area who are the best I know at this type of work. Check out their website. Good Luck with this.
    • Jim Ginas Jim Ginas on Jan 24, 2015
      @Eric Turner Thank you Eric. No cracking in the garage floor and no further (KNOCKING WOOD) cracking. I agree, as I've had 3 different people out, 2 saying the same. I've been checking it and other areas and so far, everything seems ok. I'll have to call the Wayne Group to get them out and give an estimate. Again, thanks
  • Super K Super K on Nov 08, 2022

    Did you resolve this issue? Have the cracks changed?

  • Mogie Mogie on Nov 09, 2022

    Look like cracks that indicate your foundation is shifting. You need to call someone like terra firma.