Brick Facade Distress

Details

TSA has investigated brick masonry distress in numerous buildings. The photos at the right show an example of a brick fa├žade that experienced distress because intermediate wall supports were not properly constructed. If brick walls are too high, they will crack unless properly supported.

To alleviate that problem, engineers normally include masonry supports called shelf angles at regular intervals to transfer the brick load back into the structure instead of supporting all the weight on the bricks below. In this case, the contractor apparently provided the shelf angles, but they didn't place a soft sealant joint below the shelf angle, so the loads transferred through the brick just like the shelf angle was never there. The result was brick cracking and spalling (failure of the surface).