100 yr old Brick home-need advice please


Hello, I lurk here occasionally and have read many good tips.
About an hour ago, some bricks above the 2nd story windows, prolly 2-3 feet below the flat roof just fell to the ground!
About 100 bricks....(?) of the outside layer. I can see another layer still intact (so far)
I'm quite stunned. Please post any thoughts/ advice. I'm sure I will learn as I go... but it would be nice to have some tips ahead of time.
Thank you in advance, Dmg
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You may need professional advice. Mortar can deteriorate so it is common to re-point at some time to avoid what you are seeing. I'd call a mason that can tell better than any of us here just what the problem it. Since they are below the flat roof you may have water/drainage problems that need checking also.
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Edwin Pawlowski wrote:

I'll second that. The fact that he is asking the question here indicates that he does not have the skill set to assess the damage or conduct the repairs. (Not a slam- no reason for him to ever have learned it.) IMHO, most garden-variety new-construction masons could not be counted on to have the skills either, since all they have likely ever laid is veneer facings. (Maybe an old gray-haired mason...) He needs a building restoration contractor that works in old-style brick structures. After a 2-year break, they are finally having the 80-year old wing of the office I work in done, and this new contractor is doing a MUCH better job than the one that did the 100+ year old wing. I'm learning a LOT by rubber-necking, and I grew up in the construction business. I'm no expert, but I know enough to know what I <don't> know, and when to call for a real expert.
But having said all that- I suspect you are right about water infiltration, either from the roof, or a failed mortar joint high on the wall. Other suspect is ivy, if OP has that on his house. Pretty, but a serial killer of brick walls. Step one is a site survey by an engineer, either independent or associated with a restoration company. (The good ones have enough work that they don't need to scam people.) Pay the engineer for his expertise to write up a remediation plan. If it is simple, a local mason could maybe do it. If a whole face layer let go, I suspect they will need to add anchors to the interior layers to tie it all together. It may not have been laid right in the first place- there were hacks 100 years ago too, and not much in the way of inspection.
BTW, the entire house should be inspected and prodded. If one spot failed, others are likely also having problems.
-- aem sends...
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Who doesnt see troll all over the place, a 3x9 ft section fell and he is here asking questions first, I say wake up.
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Before repairs can begin, the mortar must be tested for the correct mix of lime and cement. http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/article/0,,232787,00.html
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On Jul 31, 2:15am, snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (Jrg Dmg) wrote:

Both John and Edwin are correct, IMHO. Look for a 'Forensic Architect or Engineer'. The underlying cause and the extent of the problem must be known before a fix can be suggested. Where is the building? T
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An hour ago 100 bricks fell, so in an hour 1000 more bricks could fall, and you first write here, instead of being on the phone trying to get someone, the city, an engineer, contractor or mason out immediatly out to your home, how about a photo! I say troll, but if not get out a few pros now. Post a photo for better advise.
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On Thu, 31 Jul 2008 01:15:41 -0500, snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (Jrg Dmg) wrote:
-snip-

I am the last guy to call a pro and have tackled a few jobs at my home that pros said were undoable. . . . But you need a pro, and you need one right now. Once bricks begin to fall, it can be a quick hop to a total failure of the wall.
While you're waiting for the pro to show up start moving your valuables to a safe place. A local house recently suffered a similar fate and the city condemned it and wouldn't let the people in to get family photos or anything while they demo'ed the building.
If you're lucky it will be an isolated area that is failing, but if not you need to be prepared.
Jim
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On Jul 31, 1:15am, snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (Jrg Dmg) wrote:

Another question, you say bricks fell above second story window, so its just below the roof, "prolly 2-3feet below the flat roof just fell to the ground". Well on my flat roof building there is only 3 feet from the window to the roof. 100 brick is maybe a 3x9 ft span. Trollin. if true post a photo of this unmaintained place that likely would be condemed
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I also want pics.
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