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There's 4 threads on here about that stuff. I get many calls and e-mails about it so I posted this:

http://historicbldgs.com/terra_cotta.htm

It's often incorrectly identified it as "telephone tile" Here's a pic of telephone/telegraph tile. It was not manufactured as a building material, but rather conduit for underground utility cable installations.

20081011213038_teltile4.jpg

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  • 4 years later...

I kept searching phone tile. It took a little while to find the right reference.

I'm guessing attaching framing to this could be problematic. This front porch roof is falling off the wall.

It's not phone tile, it's STRUCTURAL TERRA COTTA!

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  • 2 weeks later...

I've heard that some will rub their terra cota floor tiles with old motor oil to protect them from water...

Even new motor oil, but especially used motor oil, contains serious toxic additives & combustion by-products. Wouldn't recommend that practice at all where people/pets might be walking barefoot.

Never had Terra Cotta floor tile but I would think mineral oil, maybe Tung oil or any number of natural waxes would be much better options.

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Saw my first structural terra cotta this week on a draw inspection involving an old commercial bldg being converted into apartments. It's only because of TIJ that I knew what it was. No one else onsite knew.

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Marc

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I recently spray foamed a cabin that was built by Amish farmers and hauled into place by a team of horses. The preservative on the hemlock board and batten siding was motor oil.

What's worse, toluene or icynene?

Where the heck do Amish farmers get motor oil from?

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Saw my first structural terra cotta this week on a draw inspection involving an old commercial bldg being converted into apartments. It's only because of TIJ that I knew what it was. No one else onsite knew.

Click to Enlarge
tn_2013622194515_TerraCottaStructural.02.jpg

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Marc

Good one, Marc. I had a similar experience a couple of years back. A previous inspector had called out the cracked and broken blocks as a structural issue, so his clients walked. The floor joists above were actually supported by posts and a beam behind the block wall. I explained that the terra cotta blocks may have been installed later to separate the garage from the rest of the basement, not a structural wall. Learned about them here.
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I recently spray foamed a cabin that was built by Amish farmers and hauled into place by a team of horses. The preservative on the hemlock board and batten siding was motor oil.

What's worse, toluene or icynene?

Where the heck do Amish farmers get motor oil from?

Maybe they buy it to oil the axles on their buggies? [:)]

I remember a buddy spraying diesel oil on cedar siding to preserve it, and then having an inspirational moment - "Why am I spraying a flammable liquid all over my house?" [:)]

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I recently spray foamed a cabin that was built by Amish farmers and hauled into place by a team of horses. The preservative on the hemlock board and batten siding was motor oil.

What's worse, toluene or icynene?

Where the heck do Amish farmers get motor oil from?

Walmart. Seriously.

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NIST studied the ignition and flame spread characteristics of latex paint versus oil based paint back in 2002 and surprise, surprise. Latex painted surfaces (CMUs) were about 2 times more difficult to ignite than oil based. I wonder how similar the residue of diesel fuel is to oil based paint. After the VOCs evolve from your diesel paint/stain job, wonder whats left? It might not be as scary as it first sounds.

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I first saw terra cotta block in the early 80's while remodeling the original Broadway store building in Los Angeles. It was used for fireproofing around the old riveted beams. I had to knock some of it off to weld stickers to the beams and found a rat fully intact.

There were hoof prints in the concrete sub floors from the mules that were used on the job. Very interesting indeed.

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