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How do you fix this?


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One year old house in Philadelphia. I was only asked to look at cracks in the foundation walls and some interior walls, but took a quick look around.

This house was constructed after the adjacent house, which is no more than a couple years old. They do not share a common part wall. Both are stucco over frame construction. The builder terminated the party wall with fiberglass capping. It is only butted against the adjacent wall and was sealed with caulk twice. There is a significant gap. I told the owner that there should be flashing at the wall, but unless the owner of the adjacent house agrees I don't see a way to install flashing properly.

OTOH, they both may end up with big stucco problems down the road and then can fix it all.

The other photos are of vertical joints between the two houses.

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They really screwed up on the foundation. That kind of screw up doesn't always lead to issues but for some reason it did here. I can think of a few ways to structurally mate two adjacent poured-concrete grade beams:

One involves concrete pilings beneath the party wall at regular intervals with each piling supporting both foundations of that party wall.

The other is to punch holes in the slab on each side of the party wall at regular intervals. Make the holes big enough for a guy with a drill to bore horizontal holes all the way through the two beams and tie them together with heavy rebar/mortar.

'Course I'm no civil engr. I'd just punt it.


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So both homes have their own foundation and their own exterior walls, correct?

The walls are a few inches apart? How did they put the stucco on when the walls are only a few inches apart?

Or are we looking at the only area where the walls are close together?

My opinion is that it would have been better to have not joined the two structures because they have independent foundations and walls. They will always move (expansion and contraction) at different rates. If they wanted to close the gaps they should have used metal flashing and metal parapet wall caps, not fiberglass.

With that roofline coming down into that wall it is going to be an ongoing problem. You can see how the water flows with the staining on the sealant.

It's a hot mess, as we say in the South!

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To clarify some details. Both houses have basements. I believe the other house was built before the house than had been on this lot was demolished. They framed the exterior walls instead of using a masonry party wall. I assume they used a gypsum shaft liner, but do not know.

The photos are up at the roof level and appear to show to independent exterior walls, which makes sense since the houses were constructed at different times.

I assume that they only stuccoed the exposed portions of the party wall on the first house. There is only a small gap between the two walls. There would be no exterior finish on the wall of the second house. I believe than the water that flows into that gap is going right down between the two houses.

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