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Structural Inspections Contains discussions about the structural portion of a home inspection. This includes foundations, framing, etc.

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  #1  
Old 10/31/12, 10:06 AM
Frank J. Buttermore Frank J. Buttermore is offline
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Default Has anyone ever seen this?

I'm looking for any info I can find on a structural block I have never seen in use before....this is a pre-1900 house and these blocks are in use for the entire foundation below grade....that being said, foundation has typical moisture issues, etc. Looking at these blocks, I can't believe they hold up the house......they appear to be made of concrete.

Thanks!
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  #2  
Old 10/31/12, 10:09 AM
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Michael Larson Michael Larson is offline
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Default Re: Has anyone ever seen this?

http://historicbldgs.com/terra_cotta.htm



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  #3  
Old 10/31/12, 10:10 AM
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Roy D. Cooke, Sr Roy D. Cooke, Sr is offline
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Default Re: Has anyone ever seen this?

Looks like Tile Blocks to me Not very strong damage easy and when I saw them used it was in Apartment building as divider walls around 1960 .
Never seen them since
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Old 10/31/12, 10:29 AM
Frank J. Buttermore Frank J. Buttermore is offline
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Default Re: Has anyone ever seen this?

Thank you both, gives me more to go on.....



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  #5  
Old 10/31/12, 10:35 AM
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Jeffrey R. Pope, CMI Jeffrey R. Pope, CMI is offline
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Default Re: Has anyone ever seen this?

I am truly amazed at times when I see the methods of construction used in areas where the earth stands still. This type of construction would have "taken care of itself" long ago if it were in CA...

I'm interested to know how you "justify" recommendations for any corrective or proactive action when you come across this stuff when it has been standing for more than a hundred years, and there are no indications that it may be failing. What (if anything) can you expect to happen over the next hundred years that might change the integrity of this structure?



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  #6  
Old 10/31/12, 11:55 AM
Frank J. Buttermore Frank J. Buttermore is offline
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Default Re: Has anyone ever seen this?

I sruggle with that as well, Jeff. In my area, we have a lot of older homes on fieldstone foundations that look terrible but yet, are 100-150 years old!My usual take on it is to point out the big picture (age and O/A condition) and then recommend a secondary inspection by an "expert" if they are not comfortable with my findings. 99% of the time, people understand that a house this old is non-conforming with todays standards and take their chances.....In our area, SE's tend to overreact and overkill their recommendations...



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  #7  
Old 10/31/12, 11:57 AM
Frank J. Buttermore Frank J. Buttermore is offline
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Default Re: Has anyone ever seen this?

PS....if there were earthquakes happening in Michigan like you guys see in Cali, half of the houses in this state would fall over.......



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  #8  
Old 10/31/12, 1:51 PM
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John Harrison, CMI John Harrison, CMI is offline
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Default Re: Has anyone ever seen this?

Not a big conflict

House was built by whatever standards or practices were available at the time it was built. Simply because it is outdated and non-desirable today does not mean it needs to be corrected. It is never our job to predict the future, only what we see at the time of inspection.
Foundation is straight, undamaged, supporting the house, then no problem.

Report any defect of the current structure.
Is it broken, damaged, falling over that may need to be repaired

If not then I would verbally mention to the client that it is a weaker type of foundation that may need excessive maint, or repair in the future. I remind them that so far the foundation has stood well for a house that was built in 18XX.






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  #9  
Old 11/5/12, 4:53 PM
Preston L. Halstead Preston L. Halstead is offline
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Default Re: Has anyone ever seen this?

We have houses here near the ocean built around 1900 with that 6" clay block from the footing to the roof with stucco surface. Still there with all the hurricanes.



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  #10  
Old 11/5/12, 5:03 PM
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Bob Elliott Bob Elliott is offline
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Default Re: Has anyone ever seen this?

Very common in apartment buildings built around 1900 or so.

Very strong but will crack easy if drilled.
No issues.

Go here to learn more https://www.google.com/search?hl=en&...CsXGygHRrIHwBA


(clay tile)
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  #11  
Old 11/5/12, 6:53 PM
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Marcel R. Cyr, CMI Marcel R. Cyr, CMI is offline
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Default Re: Has anyone ever seen this?

Terra Cotta as Mikes Link shows.

I repaired a house back in 1973 where the basement walls were all constructed with it and plastered over.

Sorry, no photo.
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  #12  
Old 11/5/12, 7:12 PM
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Bob Elliott Bob Elliott is offline
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Default Re: Has anyone ever seen this?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mcyr View Post
Terra Cotta as Mikes Link shows.

I repaired a house back in 1973 where the basement walls were all constructed with it and plastered over.

Sorry, no photo.
trucural terra cotta/clay tile,pretty much the same thing.
Here is a link to a good This Old House article from a report I did in January of 2008.http://www.oldhouseweb.com/how-to-ad...ra-cotta.shtml

Below are a few of the pictures and comments from my report on this condo conversion of the old Goldblatts dept store (downtown Chicago)


The majority of the wall surfaces are the terra cotta with the drywall primarily in the laundry bathroom areas.
Observations: Material failure in glazed architectural terracotta is necessarily complex. For this reason, it is
generally advised that the examination and repair of this material should be the responsibility of an
experienced professional. Few restorationists have experience in the inspection, repair and replacement of
glazed architectural terracotta. This is certainly never the province of the amateur or the most well intentioned
but inexperienced architect or engineer. There are some methods of internal and external inspection and
analysis which are relatively simple to the trained professional. Other methods, however, are expensive, time
consuming, and only in the experimental stage at this writing. These all generally preclude the use of anyone
but an experienced professional.

Windows appear to be missing frame screws but
it may have been found to cause damage to the
terra cotta when installing.I would find out if all
these windows in the building were installed in the
same manner

Window frames were warped from using wedges to force fit in place.

[ATTACH]has-anyone-ever-seen-structural-terra-cotta-beam-area.jpg[/ATTACH]
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  #13  
Old 11/5/12, 7:15 PM
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Bob Elliott Bob Elliott is offline
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Default Re: Has anyone ever seen this?

Key word this ...."Structural Terra Cotta"...."Structural Clay Tile".
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  #14  
Old 11/5/12, 7:19 PM
Marcel R. Cyr, CMI's Avatar
Marcel R. Cyr, CMI Marcel R. Cyr, CMI is offline
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Default Re: Has anyone ever seen this?

Yes Bob, good article.

The grooves, or ribbing, on all four sides help mortar, plaster and stucco adhere to the surface.
Above grade, plaster is applied directly to the interior side of the structural terra cotta blocks. The exterior is often coated with stucco.
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  #15  
Old 11/5/12, 7:21 PM
Bob Elliott's Avatar
Bob Elliott Bob Elliott is offline
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Default Re: Has anyone ever seen this?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mcyr View Post
Yes Bob, good article.

The grooves, or ribbing, on all four sides help mortar, plaster and stucco adhere to the surface.
Above grade, plaster is applied directly to the interior side of the structural terra cotta blocks. The exterior is often coated with stucco.
I seem to recall this stuff is always found in what can be termed fireproof buildings.

Pretty sure you can look up me asking about it right here on the forum somewhere under 1/6/2008.
Marcel you are most likely one of the guys who answered at that time.

Guess I just take too many pictures...useless.lol
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