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Test wall settlement?


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Does anyone know of a way to test whether a wall is still settling or if the wall stopped decades ago? I have a 1950 brick 2 story built on a steep slope to which was added a stone facade probably early in the 1950s. There are interior signs that the facade has pulled away from the house, i.e. the wood floors on the first floor have about 1/2" exposed in some places out from the floor trim. But there are no wall cracks anywhere, no doors out of alignment. Nothing has changed that I can tell in the 2 years I have owned the house.

The stone facade has some cracks. The stones are irregular and non-uniform, held together with cement, some of it rather roughly applied. There are no cracks that I can see along the edge where it joins the two sides made of brick. Water could have gotten in between the cracks, but it does not look any worse than when I bought it two years ago. I plan to go over it soon to seal all cracks. There is only one loose stone which can be easily repaired.

If this is not good enough, does anyone have a suggestion to reattach the stone to the brick? Could steel bars be drilled into the brick to hold the stone? I have seen this done on older commercial buildings where the facade has a steel star holding it on.

Robert Thomas

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Robert,

Any pictures? Is the brick a veneer or solid masonry. My bet is the house was built to carry the brick only. By adding the stone, a new load has been introduced that was most likely not planned for in the original construction. The stone should have it's own support and if it is dependent on the brick I could see where movement could occur. There are ways to determine if movement is still occurring.

If the stone is cultured then the support requirement would be different.

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Hi,

I'm having a hard time understanding your thoughts here. You're looking for a way to determine if the wall has settled and you say:

There are interior signs that the facade has pulled away from the house, i.e. the wood floors on the first floor have about 1/2" exposed in some places out from the floor trim. But there are no wall cracks anywhere, no doors out of alignment. Nothing has changed that I can tell in the 2 years I have owned the house.

You say out from the floor trim. Do you mean horizontally? If a foundation had settled away from a floor system, I could understand seeing maybe a gap beneath the wall where the floor platform and sub-floor might, under very special circumstances, separate from the wall above, but I don't see what 1/2-inch lateral exposure would have to do with a settling wall?

When you say floor trim, are you referring to a quarter-round shoe-mold at the base of a baseboard or are you referring to the baseboard itself? In a 50's home, one would normally expect to see a quarter-round shoe mold at the bottom covering the gap that sometimes appears when the floor system shrinks. If there's no quarter-round, did you look closely at the baseboard and floor at the gaps to see whether there are a few tiny brad holes there might have previously been a quarter-round molding?

I guess I'm still not clear on the question. Do you have any photos?

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Originally posted by randynavarro

Originally posted by Eric B

There are ways to determine if movement is still occurring.

What are some of the ways?

Satellite monitoring, of course. They've been using it for years to keep track of the altitude of volcanoes and all sorts of things. [:D]

OT - OF!!!

M.

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In regard to reattaching brick facade in historic buildings, I just went to a Simpson Strong-tie presentation where they mentioned a product that is drilled in place which would replace damaged wall ties without having to rebuild the wall. This might be worth the research, can't say how it would apply to stone, but check it out.

It is called "Heli-Tie" and here is the description:

As the Heli-Tie is driven into a pre-drilled home it pins facade and back-up material together, providing a mechanical interlock along the entire length of the tie. This stress-free connection is not dependent upon friction, expansion or adhesive bond.

There are monitoring grids that can be epoxied in place that will provide means to determine long term movement. I think I have seen them in the Professional Equipment catalog.

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