Dear DIY Doctor Forum,
I'm in a bit of a panic because it's been established that the front bay of my 1900 house is coming away from the rest of the building. It's definitely not subsidence, but several houses are suffering the same problem.
My buildings insurance doesn't cover it, but the Insurer's Surveyor told me I need to tie the framework of the bay back to the house.
I can't afford to have this work done at the moment, but I'm having sleepless nights. I've seen supports or struts used to push against brickwork.
Should I get some supports and fix them from the front garden to push against the bay, preventing further movement until I can get a specialist company to fix it properly?
Thanks very much in advance,
If you are saying that the ground floor bay is moving outwards then there must be a problem with the foundations of the bay.
If you are referring to a first floor bay and you have had replacement windows then the problem is with the windows.
Either way you need to determine how fast the bays are moving - fill any cracks with pollyfilla/tetrion or something similar and see how long before the cracks re-open. If its days you need to get something done quickly if its months then get a fix at your leisure.
Propping is unlikely to help unless its done correctly.
thank you very much for your swift and helpful response. This is a ground, first and second floor terraced property and there are bays on the ground and first floor. Other bays along the terrace look like they've been filled.
I think that although it looks like the problem is with the ground floor, it actually stems from the first floor bay/front wall.
According to the engineer it's down to "vertical cracks at the junction between first floor bay window and house wall. Maximum crack widths in both corners of the bay are difficult to estimate, when looking at the brickwork beyond the outer plaster cracking. In addition there are associated window distortions and slight floor distortion in the bay. This cracking and distortion is consistent with a slight forward rotational movement of the first floor bay."
I will go ahead and fill the cracks as suggested, and monitor them.
I presume that the suggestions from the engineer to "strengthen the junction between bay window and house masonry/tie the framework back to the house wall with stainless steel straps" or "install helical restraint ties to tie the bay to the floor" is a job for professionals..
Or is that a complicated way to explain a simple procedure which may just be drilling a hole through the brickwork to the joists and screwing in restraint ties? Which maybe I could do with some experienced DIYers??
From your reply I understand that the first floor bay is moving away from the main house wall and that the ground floor bay is OK.
How old is your house and have the windows in the ground floor bay been replaced?
Using ties to stablise the junction between the bay and the house can be a DIY job but a lot will depend on the type of construction. Even if this is done and there remains a basic defect in the bay constuction it is unlikely that the ties will stablilise the bay.
You do need to determine why the bay is moving.
thanks for your help, and apologies for the delay, I was away..
but in the meantime I've had two specialist builders round to quote. Neither said why the first floor bay (it's just the first floor but it's affecting the ground floor) was moving. They just said all the houses down the road had the same problem to varying degrees.
I think they would use Helibars and bowties through the baywall at first floor level for (gasp) £3200 including rebuilding the piers. One of them was less detailed/posh and said £1500 but didn't mention the piers (which are bulging outwards).
They both seemed to think I'd be okay at least for the next few months, but it needs addressing.
I may just have to wait and try and save up.
It's just that I wasn't sure if it was one of those jobs that sounded much more daunting than it might actually be (always hopeful).
BTW the terrace was built in the 1900s, all three storey.
Thank you very much for having given me your time and advice. It's been much appreciated.
All the best,