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Sunken and leaning brick piers

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  1. #1
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    Default Sunken and leaning brick piers

    Hi all,

    I bought a 70s brick veneer house a few months ago and I recently noticed a dip in the timber flooring in the kitchen. I only noticed it because the old cabinets were taken out and that area is now opened up, making the change in level quite noticeable as you walk over it. Here is a picture of the pier directly under this area (sunken one is the left front one with the torch on it):



    I have also noticed a few of the piers in this area have a slight lean on them in the same direction (leaning to the right from the picture's perspective) - you may be able to notice it with the pier towards the back in the center of the image, but there is another one like it behind the piers on the right out of sight from the picture.

    So my questions are:


    • Firstly, how concerned should I be here? the building report in the contract said the piers were in good condition, but I'm not sure if that was an expert opinion, a literal opinion (as in, the bricks and mortar look good), or if it was just a lazy opinion (I've heard these seller inspectors aren't usually very thorough). The house is over 40 years old so I assume it's not unusual for piers to be a little out of whack for such an age.
    • I've read a few previous threads here about how to deal with this via jacking and packing, I just wanted to make sure if this is definitely the suitable approach for dealing with this? or should I really be looking into why the pier is like that in the first place? The floor itself is not spongey or moving at all when walking over it, and the dip is very smooth in all directions, so I'm thinking maybe it has been like this for a while. I see no significant cracking inside or anything like that (there a few hairline cracks on cornices).
    • A recent rain event resulted in water entering this area due to a poorly directed downpipe which I have hopefully solved by redirecting it into the stormwater pipes. The water didn't reach the sunken pier but was around the base of the leaning piers (more so the one not seen in the picture towards the right). Presumably this has happened previously, so could this be the cause?
    • If I pack the sunken pier back up, could this just result in the floors lifting from their current nails, maintaining their current "U" like shape?
    • Who can actually do this sort of thing? It's probably a bit beyond my DIY abilities and seems like something I'd want someone with insurance doing. I'm struggling to find anyone in my area (Canberra) who can do this based on specifically searching for trades who lift and pack, could a builder do it?
    • Alternatively, I could engage the services of companies like buildfix or resinject to do their resin technique to lift the pier (and maybe straighten the others?) - does anyone have any experience with these and this sort of service?


    Thanks for any help.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 20220509_145822_2.jpg  

  2. #2
    Community Moderator phild01's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TD80 View Post
    (I couldn't seem to upload an attachment, so just adding it from imgur):
    There is a file size limit for uploading, resizing the image will help.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by phild01 View Post
    There is a file size limit for uploading, resizing the image will help.
    Thanks, I edited it with a smaller version.

  4. #4
    Seasoned DIY droog's Avatar
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    Brick piers were out of sight and just thrown together in most cases. Have you ever looked at a double brick wall where one skin was hidden and after an adjoining building is pulled down.

    The slight lean is not a big concern as long as the pier structure is intact, look for missing mortar or gaps between the mortar and bricks.
    Packing is the normal approach as long as the piers are structurally sound and the required packing is not significant, a check of all levels across the house is the first step.
    Significantly bowed bearers may need to be crippled to allow them to straighten, the bearer at that pier may already be crippled if that black line is a partial cut.
    The trade you need is often referred to as restumping or reblocking.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by droog View Post
    Brick piers were out of sight and just thrown together in most cases. Have you ever looked at a double brick wall where one skin was hidden and after an adjoining building is pulled down.

    The slight lean is not a big concern as long as the pier structure is intact, look for missing mortar or gaps between the mortar and bricks.
    Packing is the normal approach as long as the piers are structurally sound and the required packing is not significant, a check of all levels across the house is the first step.
    Significantly bowed bearers may need to be crippled to allow them to straighten, the bearer at that pier may already be crippled if that black line is a partial cut.
    The trade you need is often referred to as restumping or reblocking.
    Thanks for your reply - yes I believe the bearers are already partially cut. Could that indicate previous lifting work or could they just have been built like that? I don't see any signs of previous packing.

    And thanks for the tip on the trade name - now to just find someone locally who is interested in checking it out, which seems tough at the moment. I assume if I want to make sure the piers are structurally sound, I'd need to enlist a structural engineer first?

  6. #6
    Seasoned DIY droog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TD80 View Post
    Thanks for your reply - yes I believe the bearers are already partially cut. Could that indicate previous lifting work or could they just have been built like that? I don't see any signs of previous packing.

    And thanks for the tip on the trade name - now to just find someone locally who is interested in checking it out, which seems tough at the moment. I assume if I want to make sure the piers are structurally sound, I'd need to enlist a structural engineer first?
    Sometimes during construction if there was a bowed bearer it would be crippled to allow it to sit flat, so it could be from original construction.
    A restumper / reblocker should be able to confirm if the existing piers are sound.

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