Terra Cotta wall cladding

Any opinions on how or if this should be flashed .
Note the windows are sealed with no weeps.
Did find an opening at urethane on side of ornamental terra Cotta window side above the window and to the side.
The inside wall had what appeared to be efflorescence near the carpet and at the canopy bolt where it went through to the inside for support of a huge metal canopy the it appeared sealed properly.
5 years old rehab on a 1920’s building (old warehouse).
No big moisture readings past 8%.


Moisture doesn’t pass through the lime paste mortar or the stone.

Need more photos please.
That building has been accepting weather.
I see signs of suspect weather infiltration in many areas.
Only mall stop gap measures to slow down water infiltration.

The flashing would not be visible if its stone work. lead is used or was used when I cut my teeth on large building for a season.
Under the window sill should be curff cuts like on any window sill…
Capillary breaks.
The window is over caulked.

Rusting or dirt under the sills… Not a nice patination as you would expect.
Year of the build. Window frames are wood?

The new trim should have been left open at top lintel area to allow any moisture out according to some people and others claim it should be sealed tight.
As stated the terra cotta is vitreous which does not mean it is impervious to moisture slipping in at the coping or parapet wall.

Very complex to figure with just a Home Depot moisture meter (which I own as well).
This is the type of job where the IR guys might be of assistance as well as a more detailed look at the roof area.


Sorry for my fisrt post Bob.
That is stone or manifactured stone wall.
The facade that you have posted has no venting or I should say I have never seen venting in stone wall excet for systems.

Two ideas for you Bob.
The city or buildings maintenance officers may have plains of the facde makeup in their archives. I would bet the building myself. Fire department usually asks for these things.
They are hard to understand unless you have read prints before. You’ll get the hang of it.
The window openings will be detail. Thats my best advice I can give.
IE: Remember plans chage. Things can change before and during a build.
NOTE:There maybe be a secondary set of plans for any adjustments. Falsing, Anchorage, exexpantion relief joints, etc.

NACBI inspectors maybe a better bet for an opinion. A good place to add that extra feather to you cap Bob. JMO.
All the best.
Again sorry for the fist post.

Thanks Robert.
Prefer to learn rather than refer as much as possible however.

Appreciate the few comments as most will not touch the subject here and that is understandable though it seems like a missed opportunity for all of us here.

“Members only” may have stimulated more of a conversation allowing more to guess at what could have many viewpoints though not all areas see the old terra cotta .

I totally agree Bob. Nothing worse than missed opportunity.
Please put up a photo of the full facade if you can and one on a window so I can see the full frame and sill.
Let me mull over some dead brain cells. Its been 20 plus years.

Why do you say Terracotta? It looks like manufactured stone.

Linas hit the nail on the head.
The ones in the photos will not hold. That is a pour mix. Looks like 2 parts sand to one Portland for god sake. HA HA HA.
That type of stone repair (or terracotta?) are small air-intrained batch mixes with adative and latex glue.

Robert it is Terra Cotta and I guess Chicago has more than most cities however do a Google search under “terra cotta chicago” and go to images if that helps you.

Thanks Bob. Always appreciated.

definitions may help

appears to be an artificial cast stone with displaced components
**façade **
The exterior face of a building which is
the architectural front, sometimes distinguished
from the other faces by elaboration of
architectural or ornamental details.

Clay that has been molded in shape
and then treated in a kiln at a high temperature;
typically reddish-brown in color when unglazed;
when glazed, usually colored and used for ornamental
work, such as architectural terra-cotta,
and for floor tile and roof tile.

artificial stone
A mixture of stone chips or
fragments, usually embedded in a matrix of mortar,
cement, or plaster; the surface may be
ground, polished, molded, or otherwise treated
to simulate stone; variously called art marble,
artificial marble, cast stone, marezzo, patent
stone, and reconstructed stone.

engaged or attached columns
A corner of a building decorated with a
projecting masonry course, a pilaster, or similar

Ornamented at the corners with projecting

  1. In Classical architecture and
    its derivatives, an elaborate horizontal band
    and molding supported by columns; horizontally
    divided into three basic elements: architrave
    (the lowest member), frieze (the middle
    member), and cornice (the uppermost member).
    The proportions and detailing of an
    entablature are different for each order, and
    are strictly prescribed.
  2. Any similar construction
    that crowns a wall, window, or

now all we need to know is the "stone"work adhered wythe or an attached curtain wall system

retro fit flashing and drainage of the new windows would have been designed by the architect or engineer of record depending on the wall system in place

voids in the sealant unless specifically placed for weeps would imply potential for leakage

It is considered terra cotta Barry
You need to look up Chicago architecture.
Not much in Texas.
Guess I need to look up examples for you guys later on.


That is the building.
Thanks guys.

inspectors should know the difference between a reddish clay flower pot material and cast stone and not considered your pix a terra-cotta façade, or at least change their opinion once they understood the difference

you may hold to your opinion but i’m not convinced and will leave it at this
not all tissue is Kleenex®

Chi-town architecture literature, articles and RE marketing misrepresentation of a product does not make it correct

any building/commercial litigator would have your asset$ before the gavel dropped, ymmv

Barry I agree inspectors should know but you are not correct here.
Nothing personal my friend however when these great buildings of Chicago were built Texans were in wood shacks… Lol
This link will help if you wish to learn about it.

All kidding aside “white glazed terra cotta” is common in older cities with beautiful facade work and detailed architecture.

People in many newer areas of the country say terra cotta and think of the old red clay oven fired pottery such as in the south west.
Besides Chicago most of it is found in the midwest and eastern cities that held sway to all the influential architects of early modern times.

Personally I love the look of tera cotta as an art form and will post a few of my many pictures taken around town so as I dig them up from my old laptop.

Personally I love the look of tera cotta as an art form and will post a few of my many pictures taken around town so as I dig them up from my old laptop.

OK here we go I found the most comprehensive site there is on inspecting terra cotta.
Should repost this for search.

http://www.nps.gov/hps/tps/briefs/brief07.htm#Characteristics of Glazed Architectural Terra-Cotta

Glazed architectural terra-cotta was the most complex development of terra-cotta as a masonry building material in this country. The hollow units were hand cast in molds or carved in clay and heavily glazed (often in imitation of stone) and fired. Sometimes called "architectural ceramics," glazed architectural terra-cotta was developed and refined throughout the first third of the 20th century and has been closely associated with the architecture of Cass Gilbert, Louis Sullivan, and Daniel H. Burnham, among others. Significant examples in this country include the Woolworth Building (1913) in New York City and the Wrigley Building (1921) in Chicago.

Mr. Adiar.
Thanks for the definitions.
Facade is the front. But I have seen historical buildings with 3 side the same.

Ornamented at the corners with projecting

I have not dug out my work books sense I stopped working 2 years previous.
Below are some books I suggest homies pick up.

We do appreciated your help.
This verbiage is mostly on historical buildings.

I was wondering myself about the color, shapes and sizes that Terracotta can be formed into.
I will look into Bob links when I have some time. He does delegate time to insuring he is proficient with accuracy and diligent to his clients Mr. Adair.
Thanks bob.

I have books on stone, brick and shingles.
If you can not see the names email me. I will send you the names.

Mr. Adair. I agree that highly defined narrative examples the individuals knowledge on a subject at hand.
That being said. As long as the HI can detail a proper report and insure his/her client has a well founded report the average HI will not be exposed to high end homes of commercial historic building.
That takes time in my opinion.
Just to start the fire for such information takes time.
I endured harassment for mentioning chimney crowns and brick bonds 2 years ago. Gees give me a break.
Not one HI know about stepping and cobbling brick for God sake Barry. Whitches bend. yep!!! Witches.
You’ll kill them with to much INFORMATION on stone work. HA HA HA

Explaining stone cornice details, french corners and brick or stone bond on old brick facade and walls or crest rails, chair rails Cove work on wooden interior homes with elaborate wood trim. Its if and when a individual decides to upgrade there knowledge and seek that scale of home do they become a richer home inspector. jmo
I always enter detail a subject to enrich the clients knowledge as well as mine:-)
Thanks for making me drag out the books that should be staples barry.:wink:
All the best