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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am detailing plans for a client and they have a design feature that I have not came across before. They want an interior brick wall with a 18ft wide arch top doorway in the center. I have had clients in the past have interior thin brick walls done but this client wants full sized brick. I talked to a brickmason I new who said his company would install the brick like they would on an exterior wall. So I would have a stud wall with sheathing on either side for them to connect the brick ties to and the actual stud wall would actually be load bearing for the second floor. My concern is with the brick archway. I have not been able to reach the brickmason I know to discuss this and I have looked all over google, textbooks and masonry sights trying to learn how the archway would be supported. I humbly admit I know very little about masonry. My first thought would be to have a steel angle lintel along the bottom to help support the load but my client does not want a steel lintel showing only brick to be seen. I need help understanding how the arch would be formed and supported. If anyone can help explain this process so I can make my detailed drawings I would be grateful.
 

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Goin' Down in Flames....
Highwayman
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Yep.

Arches are the original way to support large openings, and achieve any kind of span with stone/masonry product.

In your situation, the lateral thrust is going to be your biggest challenge. What is going to keep the walls from moving horizontally and allowing the arch to open up?

I would look into sheeting one or both sides of the side walls, with a shear wall nailing schedule. 👍
 

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You should get an engineer involved for calculating the lateral thrust and how to properly address it, 18' is a pretty big span. If you design it and it fails guess who's responsible............. While they're reviewing it have them look at all of the proposed construction details, at least for the arch and support walls.
 

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I hope this brick wall has a direct load path to the foundation/footer (and a footer sized for it!). You could also do a double-wythe wall to avoid the need for a stud wall. An 18-ft wide arch? Better talk to an engineer, unless that arch is a full half-round arch, it's going to produce a lot of lateral force.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I hope this brick wall has a direct load path to the foundation/footer (and a footer sized for it!). You could also do a double-wythe wall to avoid the need for a stud wall. An 18-ft wide arch? Better talk to an engineer, unless that arch is a full half-round arch, it's going to produce a lot of lateral force.
The wall sits directly on a 36" wide 24" deep foundation. There is 3'6" of solid wall on either side of the archway and there is a 2x6 stud wall perpendicular to each side of the brick wall sheathed with a sheer wall nailing schedule. My concern is what kind of support as for as steel lintel or ties would be used in such a scenario. I would think there would have to be some kind of steel support in the brick, but I could be wrong. I have already tried to talk to 15 different engineer companies and none of them will work with outsourced drafters. They prefer to take over the entire project and do it themselves. I did have one engineer agree to calculate everything for me and work with me but his "consultation fee" was 3x what I will make from the entire set of drawings.
 

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GC
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The wall sits directly on a 36" wide 24" deep foundation. There is 3'6" of solid wall on either side of the archway and there is a 2x6 stud wall perpendicular to each side of the brick wall sheathed with a sheer wall nailing schedule. My concern is what kind of support as for as steel lintel or ties would be used in such a scenario. I would think there would have to be some kind of steel support in the brick, but I could be wrong. I have already tried to talk to 15 different engineer companies and none of them will work with outsourced drafters. They prefer to take over the entire project and do it themselves. I did have one engineer agree to calculate everything for me and work with me but his "consultation fee" was 3x what I will make from the entire set of drawings.
The answer is telling your client that you can't do what he wants. Attempting it without an engineer involved is asking to get sued to death, assuming you could get your local building department to sign off on it. If it's that important to the owner he'll have to hire an engineer to design it.
Sometimes walking away really is the best answer. This is one of those times.
 

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Radical Basement Dweller
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There are lots and lots of videos on building arches from brick; many different styles. All the ones I perused didn't require any steel to reinforce the structure but instead, relied on the reason an arch works...the keystone along with other tapered bricks. Some of these talented bricklayers didn't even use form supports although many did. Then the support is removed.

I agree that this may be something you want to exit from. No shame in that. The shame would be going ahead with something that fails.
 

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There are lots and lots of videos on building arches from brick; many different styles. All the ones I perused didn't require any steel to reinforce the structure but instead, relied on the reason an arch works...the keystone along with other tapered bricks. Some of these talented bricklayers didn't even use form supports although many did. Then the support is removed.

I agree that this may be something you want to exit from. No shame in that. The shame would be going ahead with something that fails.
The guys building the brick dome roofs in Madrid are awesome. Absolutely mad skills. No forms, no layout, no measuring.
 
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