Masonry Advice - Around & Above Window

28 Oct 2015
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United States
We are in the slow process of remodeling our kitchen. I live in a small bungalow with brick veneer. Part of this process was replacing a large window with a smaller one so we could move the sink under the window. Since the window was smaller now new bricks need to be added to surround it.

Now I understood that I needed to "sawtooth" out all of the old half bricks so that I could put in full bricks all the way across the opening. Well I went a bit far and one of the bricks holding the lintel up fell out. So the right side of the lintel fell a few inches and some bricks above it started to sag and loosen. It looks to be a patch job from previously and I'm not sure it was done well.

So to temporarily solve my problem I jacked the lintel back in place and secured it to my house with a lag screw. I plan on laying bricks back up to the lintel and eventually removing the lag screw once the bricks have set a day or two and then make sure the lintel rests on the bricks.

Now my question is this an okay solution? I'm a little worried about the bricks above the window. Do I need to remove the lintel and remove any loose bricks? Is it okay to remove the lintel at all or will the bricks above completely collapse? Honestly the patch job that was done before doesn't look great up close, but isn't too noticeable from say 20 feet away.

Any advice is greatly appreciated.

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this is a UK forum and the "brick veneer" is almost unknown here. It might be similar to a timber frame. Over here you are no longer allowed to support brickwork on windowframes so there must be a lintel or other support.
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Your old big window was a modification to the original. I suspect the lintel was actually resting on the window frame. There will be a similar problem under the plaster in the kitchen. As the brick courses seem to be still inline, I would just brick up the sides, that will certainly hold the lintel securely, though what its made off is a question still to answered. Knock out the pointing (gentlely) and repoint the loose brick work.
JohnD....thanks for the reply. I believe the proper term is brick facade. The house is a timber frame. I've been referring to my brick work as "brick siding" lately. I want to leave the lintel in place definitely.

theprinceofdarkness......I think I'm going to do what you suggest. I can re-point the loose bricks above the lintel after the rest of the brick work is done. The lintel is a chunk on angle iron about 3" x 3" X 0.5"'s quite a stout piece. I don't think there was too much pressure on it since I was able to move the lintel by hand. The lintel wasn't sitting on the window frame but was sitting on the brick work to each side. The lintel sits about 1" off the top of the window frame.

I dare say this will be a better wall when I'm done with it. A lot of the bricks only have mortar on the leading edge of the end. I understand a full mortar joint is better for stability of the wall.

I'll keep you posted on the progress however it's raining buckets here today :(
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Hey guys thanks for the info, but I have another question.

Just how cold is too cold to lay bricks? Can I wait till the weekend when the night time temperatures will dip to 34°F (1°C) or should I get cracking on this earlier? I'm worried about not getting a good seal on my house this winter.
Prop the lintel and try and push the brickwork up to close any cracks. Then brick the sides up and pack the lintel with mortar and slate and allow to dry before removing the prop. Then rake out and repoint any cracks.

Brickwork should not be done when the mortar is likely to freeze. 3°C and rising is our standard. You could potentially cover that bit of wall with insulation to prevent freezing, or use a frost proofer additive. But these will only do if the temperature will be around 0°C and not too much lower. Either way, always protect from frost.
I ran 4 courses yesterday and I'm quite pleased with the results. Temps won't dip to near freezing at night until this Saturday so hopefully I can finish the project by Friday night. Then temp near 60°F (15.5°C) during the day on Saturday.

One more question. Do I need weep holes below the sill on my window? None of the other windows on my house have them? In fact there was no flashing below the old window I too out. Just interested in what you guys think.



Weep holes are only necessary above a cavity tray. But I can't see why they should be needed below a window
Honestly the pitched brick sill is not "appropriate" for the freeze thaw climate I live in, but every window on my house has this type of sill.
Oh yes, if its a timber frame then yes you want weep holes as per that detail drawing

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