I've been doing a lot of repointing and masonry work ahead of the porch build because I need to make sure the walls the porch will tie into are solid. While I was up on the scaffolding yesterday, I took a picture of some delaminating brick above a 1st floor window in proximity to where I'm currently working.
What is delamination, you might be wondering? It's when the layers of something start to come apart. In this case the inner wythe and the outer wythe have become separate entities, which has resulted in the outer layer bowing out.
In a 2-wythe wall, there's an inner layer of brick and an outer layer of brick. Each layer is a "wythe". Every few rows ("courses") of brick, the bricks are rotated 90°and, in effect, tie the inner wythe and the other wythe together. The mortar between the bricks holds everything together, and those rotated bricks provide structural stability. In theory, the whole assembly should look something like this:
Unfortunately, the section of brick above the window in question doesn't have any courses of rotated brick. Strike 1. On top of that, at some point water was getting into the wall. Strike 2. Drag that out over a long enough period of time...strike 3; delamination.
The weight of the bricks combined with reduced structural stability due to water-casued mortar erosion, plus built-up piles of soggy, eroded mortar inside the wall putting lateral pressure on the wythes, causes the wall to bow. It'll only get worse with time and eventually it'll fall apart. Currently, the wall above the window - which I suspect has been rebuilt, poorly, at least once in the past - has a bow of maybe 3/4". It's not a lot, but I don't want it to get any worse.
In project management terms, dealing with this is outside the original scope of the project. But I'm there, the scaffolding is there, and while I don't entirely know what I'm doing in terms of fixing it without having it all come crashing to the ground, a case could be made to address the situation right now. I put a poll on the 'gram to see what others might do - fix it now, or come back to it later - and the results were pretty one-sided.
So far, this is how things have shaped up (and you better believe I deconstructed things in the most delicate way possible):
That's the delamination void, or space between bricks where mortar should be. Given how the rest of the walls seem to have been constructed, those 2 bricks should be a LOT closer together. The innter wythe hasn't moved, the outer wythe...that's what I hope to put back in its rightful place.
See those black marks on the brick above the section I removed? That's to help me get the bricks lined up, when I reset them, in a halfway orderly fashion. Building these arches isn't as easy as it may look, and a little help to keep them evenly spaced won't hurt. This ain't my first rodeo.
That's where things stand now. I need to stop typing get to wall-rebuilding.