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Old 05-13-2013, 05:15 PM   #21
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Nothing a little caulking wouldn't hide.
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Or some pretty thick caulking!
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Maybe a little epoxy and a couple of ten-penny nails?
If duct tape won't fix it, then I don't know what will.
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Old 05-13-2013, 08:03 PM   #22
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Like Michael said - ouch. I wonder if the contractor's insurance might cover it since it fell apart while they were working on it.
You're kidding, right? They KNEW it was weak before calling the contractor in, and then try to pin it on them? LMAO

I'm a home inspector, and I would love it if someone would try to pin such a thing on me...something they knew was deficient and then it failed while I was inspecting it? wow.
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Old 05-13-2013, 08:08 PM   #23
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You are SO right about knowing this now and being able to take care of it before more damage is done.

How did the inspector miss it ? THAT'S uber scary !!!
I'm a home inspector and I think it's funny how people think we should be able to catch problems that we can't even see. Often the structure underneath is hidden by other framing or foundation members. I have caught a few fireplaces that were built on the main floor in a crawlspace house, which is a major concern...they should go through to the ground underneath so that they are not resting on the floor joists. One such house my mother-in-law ended up buying....and then paid $2,000 to have the house jacked up 2.5" and then concrete piers put in to keep it there.
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Old 05-13-2013, 08:33 PM   #24
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Oh wow!. That is impressive!

Home inspectors can't see everything and usually state that on the report.

Let us know what you decide to do!
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Old 05-13-2013, 09:08 PM   #25
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"You're kidding, right? They KNEW it was weak before calling the contractor in, and then try to pin it on them? LMAO"

I used to hate when that happened.... how about the poor guys in the picture? "how 'bout I hold it and you go get that plywood outside so the bricks don't ruin the floor when they fall..uh..look out!"
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Old 05-13-2013, 09:41 PM   #26
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EllisWyatt,

I can feel your pain. My house was built in 1984. At the time in this area there were virtually no building codes (other than basic honor system FHA, VA) or inspectors.You had to rely on the builder's honor.

Our house is a two story brick veneer with two brick fireplaces. We are on a crawlspace. The foundations for the fireplaces are very substantial and appear to be separate from the perimeter footings.

We were hit by a tornado in 1992, Some of the brick walls bulged and broke. The frame had to be racked back into proper plumb. We learned that we had plenty of clips securing the bricks to the framing because the contractors had great difficulty removing the broken bricks for replacement. Fortunately, we were able to find replacement bricks that matched perfectly. Our masonry contractor said that he would have to lower his usual standards in order to match the existing brickwork (our house has a rustic appearance with rustic brickwork)

The only good thing about being hit by a tornado is that, if it doesn't kill you, the damage is usually fully covered by homeowners insurance, less the deductible.
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Old 05-13-2013, 09:48 PM   #27
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The only good thing about being hit by a tornado is...
Only an optimist could begin a sentence with this phrase.
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Old 05-14-2013, 10:41 AM   #28
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Well, the mason will be here today, we are told. Have to give kudos to the foundation guys - they are going above and beyond what we expected (feared??) would happen.

They have "stabilized" the bricks for now, which entailed them running to the nearest Home Depot (1/2 hour each way) to get boards, plywood, bolts, etc. to strap it together. While they were gone (1 1/2 hours) those poor guys in the picture held the bricks in place. They then got hold of a mason who is very highly regarded and told him to get out here ASAP. (as a note - when we tried to get him a couple of months ago for another job, we were told that he's entirely booked up through the summer). He's the guy we would have wanted on the job anyway.

Despite the obvious..... unexpected......results, think we actually hired the right foundation guys. Post Katrina, the number of foundation/leveling companies went from ~30 to over 300. Most do not have sterling reputations, and I suspect most would have bolted for the door when this happened, but these guys are doing their best to help us and get it fixed.

And as far as blaming the house inspector or the foundation guys for this.....not gonna happen. The only reason it's happening is that the chimney wasn't built correctly the first time. As I stated before, there is no way that the inspector could have caught it (took the structural engineer a couple of hours of measuring to figure out the chimney was slightly off the foundation), and foundation guys to realize while the foundaton LOOKED good, it wasn't deep enough. And it wasn't until the chimney started to fail that you could see there were no clips.

No, this will be on us. Does makes me glad I decided to get this done before I pulled the plug and retired, though.
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Old 05-14-2013, 02:55 PM   #29
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Well, the mason will be here today, we are told. Have to give kudos to the foundation guys - they are going above and beyond what we expected (feared??) would happen.
<snip>
No, this will be on us. Does makes me glad I decided to get this done before I pulled the plug and retired, though.
That last sentence hit home. I have to wonder what surprises are in store for me. I have some cash for emergencies but I'm such a pessimist when it comes to money.

I had no idea that the inspectors couldn't see the issues with the fireplace; my apologies to the inspectors !

Sounds like you're in excellent hands. I'm glad its being taken care of that you'll be safe !
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Old 05-14-2013, 05:08 PM   #30
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Wow. Glad you found some good contractors. I was very happy to not have a fireplace in the new house we just bought. It's just a waste of space since we don't use it, and we're much happier to have a heater on our patio instead of a fireplace in our living room.

Good Luck!
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Old 05-14-2013, 08:56 PM   #31
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You're kidding, right? They KNEW it was weak before calling the contractor in, and then try to pin it on them? LMAO

I'm a home inspector, and I would love it if someone would try to pin such a thing on me...something they knew was deficient and then it failed while I was inspecting it? wow.
Did I say any thing about blaming anyone? And I didn't say anything about blaming the inspector. Learn to read for chrissakes. All I said is that it might be covered under the contractor's insurance.

The contractor was called in to enhance the foundation under the chimney, so they knew from the get go that the foundation under the chimney was questionable. Perhaps they didn't shore it up properly before working on it or perhaps it fell apart despite their best efforts. Stuff happens. Who knows? But in any event, that is why contractors carry insurance.

So if the situation was slightly different and someone had a house foundation that needed some work and someone hires a foundation contractor to fix the foundation and then as the foundation contractor does the work the house falls down then the contractor has no responsibility?
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