brick house is falling down! disintegrating brickwork help needed

Anyone have any suggestions for dealing with disintegrating brickwork?
I have a brick home built in early 1910s in Fresno CA very dry climate. The foundation and mortar appear fine, but many of the bricks themselves have now almost completely turned to dust! the brick being so soft you can carve it out with a fingernail.
It is only happening on one side (and happening to neighboring house too, but not nearly as severe- their brick is painted, ours is natural). It is so sever a large chunk of the wall has cracked and is separating from the house...
Im pretty sure theres no such thing as brick eating insects, but on some the disintegration appears as a "hole" through the brick, where the dusty area appears to have been bored by some insect...
Whats the cause? Whats the solution? Any help appreciated!
is there anything that can be used to stabilise the remaining brickwork (after replacing the worst cases)? - doesn't matter what the finished result looks like but I'd like to ensure the walls are at least structurally sound.
Thanks
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Look in the Yellow pages for a brick mason who specializes in repairs. If the brick is truely soft you are probably looking at replacing the wall. If the brick is ok but the ties are disintergrated there are repair ties on the market that can be installed to fix the wall. The wall probably also needs flashing and properly working weepholes. Unfortuanately most so-called masons don't do brickwork properly. Visit the http://www.bia.org site and study their tecnical notes and learn about brick before you hire a mason so you can quiz him on what needs to be done and make sure he does it right. Most don't.

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thank you...
the brick is structural, not just a facade, and portions of several bricks just become dust and holes can be picked out of them with your finger. Some have fallen inside the wall, and as stated above, a large section of the wall is now cracked and separating from the wall...
there are very few brick masons in Fresno CA, anyone who has any contacts or other tips appreciated!
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The way I found a repair mason was to call up a couple of big production masonry companies who do commercial work and ask who they use for problems. I guess brick is not big in earthquake country for good reason. Sounds like you have a double width wall (brick on both sides instead of brick veneer and a structural wall). It still needs ties and proper flashing. The brick was either soft and a bad choice at initial construction or was ruined by lack of flashing and water infiltration. Repair ties are available from Durawal but needs good brick to attach to.

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Your brick was of a very poor quality, Defective. If its structural then get an engineer out to direct you. Making it look good is not the answer as it will continue to weaken
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gmo wrote:

I seem to remember reading about bricks in CA at one time being made from beach sand the high salt content caused this
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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (gmo) wrote in message

Given that only one wall is suffering damage, I'd call a fornesic architect or engineer to look at the specific conditions. It sounds to me at this distance as though there are several problems.
I would be very interested in hearing a follow up on your findings.
Tom Baker
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Most likely, the guy what painted the neighboring house got overspray on the one in question, and then sandblasted it to get it clean.
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thanks for all the replies so far....
the houses are double brick walls...the area is not near earthquake faults , and the damage is not related to paint overspray/sandblasting (neigboring house was painted about 50 years ago) .
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Contact your state's historical preservation society and see if they can put you in touch with a mason who is experienced in restoring older brick buildings.
I just had my 150 year old double-brick house repointed. Prepare to pay a lot! In my house's case it was worth it - YMMV.
Sara
On 25 Apr 2004 05:51:34 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (gmo) wrote:

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