Photograph of building damage near Los Angeles 2000 © Daniel FriedmanWall System Defects: Wood Frame & Masonry Problem Lists & Home Inspection Education
     


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This article lists significant wood frame and masonry wall structural defects, definitions, and home inspection education topics. This article series, beginning at BUILDING DEFECTS LISTS, provides lists of common building defects and basic defect knowledge that also outline recommended curriculum content for home inspector education. The building defects and inspection points listed in these articles also guide homeowners and home buyers to building areas that merit careful attention and often point areas of safety concern or important maintenance and repair tasks.

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Home Inspection Education Curriculum - Structure, Wall System Defects: Wood Frame & Masonry Problem Lists

Also see BRICK FOUNDATIONS & WALLS and BRICK VENEER WALL LOOSE, BULGED

These curriculae and building defect lists are based on smilar curriculum documents first prepared by Joe Scaduto, an ASHI member who prepared course material for Northeastern University's Building Inspection Certificate program in 1988, subsequently by DF, InspectApedia's editor, for New York University ca 1988 and later, with others, recommended to ASHI, the American Society of Home Inspectors. ASHI did not adopt this material though currently that association as well as others offer extensive HOME INSPECTOR EDUCATION material. The curriculum and lists of defects are informed by additional analysis of the process of home inspection that was developed beginning Calgary, AB for Canadian and U.S. home inspector education and certification examinations in 1997. Other early contributors to home inspection education in the U.S. and Canada include Dr. Jess Aronstein, Alan Carson, Mike Casey, Mark Cramer, John Cox, Dwight Barnett, Douglas Hansen, Rick Heyl, Larry Hoytt, Bill Merrill, Kevin O'Malley, Dennis Robitalille, Keith Peddie, Pat Porzio, Roger Robinson.

2.3   Wall Systems Inspection Requirements & Defects

2.3.1 Knowledge Base for Wall Structure Inspections

1.    Describe the function of interior and exterior house wall systems. Differentiate between loading bearing and partition walls.

2.    Describe these types of common house wall construction: solid masonry, wood frame, masonry veneer.

3.    List the materials and components of each of the wall types above.

4.    Describe the features of  adequate installation and repair technique for each of the wall types above.

5.    Define the following terms:

      wythe, header brick, stretcher brick, lateral support for walls, lintel, arch, rafter spread, brick expansion, bowing wall, corbeling, platform framing, balloon framing, sole plate, bottom plate, base plate, sill plate, top plate, jack stud, girt, offset bearing wall, fire stopping, vented rain screen principle, weep hole, efflorescence, brick ties, rope wicks, shear walls.

6.    Identify the codes or standards which apply to wall systems in your area.


2.3.2 Inspection Skills for Wall Structure Inspections


1.    Describe the inspection procedure for exterior and interior walls.

2.    Identify the common wall defects listed on the next page.

3.    Describe the implication of each defect.

4.    Communicate findings to client verbally and in writing, recommending corrective action where needed.


Typical Building Wall Defects

SOLID MASONRY WALLS                

      • Bowing, leaning or bulging  

      • Cracks            

      • Efflorescence     

      • Excess corbeling 

      • Foundations weak or missing 

      • Hollow units on their sides 

      • Lateral support is suspect 

      • Masonry deteriorating or spalling   

      • Masonry too close to soil   

      • Mortar deteriorating or missing

      • Prior repairs        

      • Wavy masonry

 

Also see BRICK FOUNDATIONS & WALLS and BRICK VENEER WALL Loose, Bulge

WOOD FRAME WALL Defects

      • Bottom plates have poor bearing

      • Excess holes or notches

      • Firestopping missing

      • Girts missing

      • Leaning, bowing, buckling or racking

      • Lintels sagging

      • Mechanical damage

      • Offset excessive

      • Poor nailing

      • Rot, fire or insect damage

      • Sheathing missing or ineffective

      • Top plates weak or sagging

      • Wood too close to soil

MASONRY VENEER WALL Defects                                             

      • Bowing, leaning or bulging

      • Cracks        

      • Efflorescence 

      • Excess corbeling

      • Efflorescence

      • Flashing at weep holes missing or ineffective

      • Masonry deterioration or missing     

      • Foundations weak or missing

      • Masonry units moving

      • Hollow units on their sides

      • Missing

      • Lintels sagging, rusting

      • Mortar deterioration or missing

      • Masonry or wood too close to the soil

      • Prior repairs

      • Masonry deteriorating or spalling

      • Mortar deteriorating or missing

      • Prior repairs

      • Wavy masonry     

      • Weep holes missing or ineffective 

      • Mechanical damage

 

Also see BRICK FOUNDATIONS & WALLS and BRICK VENEER WALL LOOSE, BULGED

ARCH Defects

     • Cracked

     • Dropped, rotating or leaning

LINTEL Defects (steel or wood lintels or headers over windows and doors)

      • Rust

      • Rot, fire or insect damage

      • End bearing poor    

      • Missing   

      • Rotating or leaning     

      • Sagging or undersized

      • Wood supporting masonry

 

Readers should see STRUCTURAL INSPECTIONS & DEFECTS for our complete list of articles on this topic. Also see HOME & BUILDING INSPECTORS & INSPECTION METHODS. Use the Search Box at the top or bottom of these pages to find in-depth information about building, energy savings, and indoor environment inspection, diagnosis and repair at this website. Watch out: these inspection lists do not list all possible defects for the systems discussed, and not all home or building inspectors will examine all of the items listed here. CONTACT us to suggest corrections or additions to articles at this website.

Also see BRICK FOUNDATIONS & WALLS and BRICK VENEER WALL LOOSE, BULGED

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