Case Study: Bella Vista

A classic three-story rowhome in the Italian Market area…

was seeing some bulging in its brick front wall due to structural issues. Bulging or bowing is common here in Philadelphia. Instead of going through the costly process of demolishing the entire brick front wall and replacing it, we stabilized the front with star bolts. Note, a structural engineer is required in Philadelphia to draw up plans for star bolts. Star bolts are not decorative although they absolutely give a Philly brick front some extra character.

Star bolts give a Philly brick facade extra character but the main purpose is to strengthen support.

If your bricks are:
bulging or bowing, missing pointing, experiencing water intrusion, seeing gaps in your woodwork on the 2nd floor, cracks in the drywall or plaster, or if the trim on windows looks askew, things are moving.

Star Bolts on a brick rowhome for structural repair

The Solution:

Philly Stucco first removed the ceilings required to install the 3/4” threaded rod through the joists. For a 20’ wide home we typically do three star bolts per floor which are bolted through your floor joists. We retrofitted the home with star bolts drilling through the brick and the floor joists connecting the facades to the joists – ensuring a stable connection. Surface plates spread the tension across multiple bricks. We use star shapes because they look better than square pieces of steel. We poured new footings in the basement to support the joists and create a structurally sound home. We also rebuilt the basement steps, creating a solid last step for the customer. Finally, after the star bolts were installed we replaced the drywall, spackled and painted the interior of the home.