Water intrusion case study.

Client, today, asked to find the source of water intrusion into a 3 unit condo (duplex up, duplex down with middle unit on one floor.

Split faced block, but the roof was sloped and there is usually little problems with split faced block with sloped roofs. But the front had a peaked front wall (brick veneer over block).

I could tell, just from the efflorescence and drip pattern.

  1. Front view of the building. Please note that the 3rd level (above grade) had a small (4’ wide) balcony above the 2nd level.
  2. Peaked front face with a small flat parapet near the chimney chase. Note the efflorescence / drip pattern.
  3. Interior regular picture at the interface of the sloped parapet coping to the flat coping.
  4. IR image of #3.

Hope this helps;

Secondarily. The front ceiling at the 2nd level displayed signs of water intrusion. Since the balcony for the 3rd level was above it, naturally the owners thought that the balcony roofing was the problem.

But it was not.

The space between the 2nd floor ceiling and the balcony had “Building Envelope Confusion” and condensation problems where it interfaced with the floor / ceiling space above the 2nd floor.

Check out the pictures.

Nice catch Will

Typical Chicago Polish contractor construction. Keeps us busy during the rainy periods.:stuck_out_tongue:

Actually an Irish masonry contractor. Many masons are hesitent to do through wall flashing on a sloped parapet, believing that the stone will fall off. Evidently, they don’t teach pinning in Irish masonry schools.
It also seems like they don’t teach building science in Architecture school either.

Hope this helps;

Irish Masonry School
Which one are you suggesting?

The nearest liquor store.

Now Linus, play nice.

Oops sorry Will, I meant to say “Pub”.:slight_smile:

That’s better. :wink:

To clarify my earlier post, with regards to “Irish Masonry School”, this is what I meant.

In this area, there appears to be 4 different “schools” of masonry thought, i.e., I see things done in one of four different ways. I even see some masonry buildings that have two or more of these schools displayed (changed masonry contractors during the build).

Please note that the people who work according to these techniques are not, necessarily, members of these ethnic groups. Probably the result of who trained them and/or where they were trained (if they were actually, formally trained).

  1. Italian - Good quality work, great for repairs on the older masonry buildings. Use fairly large aggigate sand for the mortar, but the motrar is not over sanded. Square of concave pointing. Great flashing detail.
  2. Irish - Also good with regards to the mortar mix, but smaller aggrigate sand. Tend more towards pre-mixed mortar. Mostly good flashing and lintel / brick spaces left open. OK for flashing, but will not flash under parapet wall coping for sloped coping.
  3. Polish - Good speed. Do not butter the ends of the brick before placing but have a “helper” follow behind them and point the head joints (check by placing screwdriver in the head joint and pressing. The joint usually collapses). Tend to grout the lintel / brick space and cover or cut the lintel flashing. Usually do not use end dams on lintel flashing. Don’t flash under coping stones. Add more sand to pre-mixed mortars.
  4. Similar to the polich school, except they caulk the lintel / brick area instead of mortaring it. They usually pull out the weep wicks before they caulk. Do not flash under copings, but always install weep wicks instead.

At least that has been my experience in the Chicago area.

Hope this helps;

Any thoughts on Jews, Mexicans,Blacks and Chinese Masons? :slight_smile:

Could you get to the roof?
Would like to see a photo.

the masonry facade is improperly installed
with lack of weeps and drainage

the problem is visibly evident…
the cam only confirms…

Without a Cam, would you report the exterior facade as deficient?

Visual inspection confirms it’s evidently poor masonry construction, the cam confirms with colorful images, the moisture meter verifies it got inside. That’s why some choose to do more with a thermal camera than just wave it around at a home inspection. Look at all the imagers for sale on this message board. Go figure!!! Hope this helps.:wink:

I am amazed and appalled at the stereotypes professed within this thread as if they are somehow factual…

My description of the construction techniques commonly used by the members of various ethic groups in the Chicagoland area (ONLY) is factual, as any HI (or tradesman member of these ethnic groups) will testify. Sorry that this fact bothers you in some way. It is not intended (and is, in fact, not) a slam of these various ethinic groups. It just is.

Hope this helps;

We are now, more and more, starting to see these type of problems in multiple wythe masonry buildings. Case study to follow:

4,200 SF “townhome” style building, built 4 years ago and sold for just over 2.3 mil. Lower, 1st and 2nd floors, with front and rear flat roofs, “roof decks” and a third floor penthouse with a flast roof. Client, originally, had me come out and look at water intrusion problems, water stains at wall / ceiling junctures on exterior walls, water stains on baseboards, mold formation in closets, etc.

Main problem was lack of flashing under stone parapet wall copings. This was fixed, and the client decided instead of hiring a GC to supervise the work, hired out, piecemeal, sub-contractors (drywall, insulation, roofing, trim, etc) to save money. The drywall guy took doen the ceiling drywall and found extensive water damage on the underside of the roof deck, and mushrooms growing on the trusses (the size of my hand).

The roofer, tearing off and replacing the roof decking, saw that the top chord of the roof trusses (top loaded) were all squishy and soft, so he just pried off the gussets and “replaced” the top chord. (FYI: NEVER modify an engineered truss. Leave it to a Structural Engineer. At least theyr E & O insurance is better!).

So, the client, finally, called me back and I called all the subs together and brought in an SE I know. ALL of the trusses at the rear of the building have to be replaced (and I will update).

Take away? Hire a good GC to supervise and coordinate the work. Don’t be penny wise and pound foolish.

How is it to get put in your place by a Jew, Joe?:shock:

I am bad!:twisted:

I had one today that I’ve been to several times.(64 unit building, builder gone, bankrupt) Last time was for a roof scan that I found numerous leaks around roof drains and rooftop A/C units. Roof was repaired recently and that took care of some problems in one unit. This unit had a deck above the leaky ceiling and they caulked the masonry flashing and weeps because the water must have been coming in through the flashing and ruined the hardwood flooring.:p:p They have an engineering firm managing their repairs!!! I’ll be back.:wink:


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