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  1. #1
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    Default Displaced capstone between stucco and manufactured stone

    Displaced capstone between stucco and manufactured stone.

    Trying to decide what's happening here, and how to report it, and whay it means fo the house, generally.

    The cap stone is angling up at its exterior side below the stucco and above the manufactured stone. Can't be certain when the movement occurred, but the fact that it's tuckpointed with a different mortar than the material between the stones indicates that the movement was post -installation and perhaps post-construction, and the fact that there is separation between the mortar the top surface of the stone suggests that it may be continuing..

    No way to know how the stucco/stone/junction is constructed or flashed, the weep wicks below the capstone are very wet (you can squeeze water out of them), more so then the weeps above the flashing between the manufactured stone and the foundation wall. There is no evidence of flashing at the capstone/manufactured stone junction.

    The only part of the wall structure visible at the interior is the bottom plate at the foundation wall, there is no evidence of damage or elevated moisture levels there, nor is there any cracking or displacement of the stucco or anything else that suggests that the section of stucco above the cap may have been moving down relative to the rest of the exterior (other than the fact that the capstone appears to been "levered" up either by downward pressure on the top surface at the interior side or upwards pressure on the bottom surface at the exterior side).

    Comments and suggestions?

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    Last edited by Michael Thomas; 12-04-2008 at 07:16 PM.
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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Displaced capstone between stucco and manufactured stone

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Thomas View Post
    No way to know how the stucco/stone/junction is constructed or flashed, the weep wicks below the capstone are very wet (you can squeeze water out of them), more so then the weeps above the flashing between the manufactured stone and the foundation wall.
    My first thought was that the bump out for that area was framed out, with the veneer on the outside of that framing, the capstone on top of it, meaning any moisture could penetrate into the wood framing, causing it to swell and rotate the top plate and the cap stone above the top plate.

    My second thought, after re-reading your post was freeze-thaw displacement.

    With the moisture under the capstone you are describing, either is possible, depending on what is there.

    Last edited by Jerry Peck; 12-04-2008 at 10:39 AM. Reason: speelin'
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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Displaced capstone between stucco and manufactured stone

    Thats a bad install from the start. And Jerry has it in the cold playing its part. everything is working together. and not for the better of this home.

    Best

    Ron


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    Default Re: Displaced capstone between stucco and manufactured stone

    Here's Owens Corning's detail for this transition from their cultured stone "best practices" sheet, I've enhanced it a bit for use in the report:

    OC specifies a flashing below the screed for the drainage plane behind the stucco detailed so as to discharge above the water table, which is in turn supported on a shelf angle.

    We know we haven't got the first detail, and it's possible that the second is missing (likely actually, as there's no way you could have a continuous drainage plane from the stucco past the water table if the shelf angle is present) and that the water table is resting directly on the cultured stone below.

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  5. #5
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    Default Re: Displaced capstone between stucco and manufactured stone

    Michael,

    If you also notice in that drawing, that drawing does address the bump out in your photo.

    In the drawing, the cultured stone is out not near the front of the cap stone, in your photo, it is, leading me to believe there may be a stud wall there.

    If so, that would create even greater problems.

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  6. #6
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    Default Re: Displaced capstone between stucco and manufactured stone

    Actually, someone drilled a hole from the interior of the basement and through the manufactured stone for a sump pump discharge they later decided to locate elsewhere, neglecting to plug the hole. My SeeSnake is on the blink so I was not able to inspect this as closely as I'd like, but that's a 2 1/4" hole, which provides a rough reference for the thickness of the manufactured stone, which suggests in turn that you're correct, and the stud wall behind it is been bumped out. Which in turn raises its own set of concerns as I was able to observe only one stud wall at the top of the foundation from within the basement.

    The buyer was an engineer ( nuclear not structural) and a pretty sharp guy, there a lot of interesting things going on at this house, including a lot of careless details (such as having to notch the first floor joists slightly below every window installed perpendicular to a joist to get them to fit, and a portion of the foundation where they miss-spotted the pour and had to cantilever portion of the wall out on steel angle) and I'm going to be following up with him to see what's discovered when they open the walls.

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    Last edited by Michael Thomas; 12-04-2008 at 05:07 PM.
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    Default Re: Displaced capstone between stucco and manufactured stone

    Michael,

    My thoughts on that bump out frame wall are two-fold:

    1) With all the moisture getting in under the cap stone to the top plate, it could be swelling, partially causing what is shown in the photo. Freeze/thaw could be causing the rest of it. But, with the top plate that moist, it is surely rotting out.

    2) With that much moisture getting into that bump out frame wall, it is quite possible that the framing and sheathing is also rotting out. This includes the sheathing on the original wall behind the bump out, the two story wall - which may have decaying wood framing also.

    Which ends with: de-construct it, then re-construct it properly. Not going to be cheap.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  8. #8
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    Default Re: Displaced capstone between stucco and manufactured stone

    Run, Forest, Run!
    Or at least bring your check book.
    Since they did not provide flashing and proper drainage detail with what you CAN see, who knows how much crap is under that failing wall.
    How old is the building?

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
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  9. #9
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    Default Re: Displaced capstone between stucco and manufactured stone

    3-4 years, I believe.

    It's a short sale, they can't negotiate price for the bank based on my report, basically they're looking for a checklist of major issues. The clients love the house for other reasons (it really is quite unique in some ways) and are going to buy it "Even if we have to tear off the cladding, and replace it"... and I'll make very sure that they understand that they might in fact be looking at something very much like that.

    Last edited by Michael Thomas; 12-04-2008 at 07:18 PM.
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  10. #10
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    Default Re: Displaced capstone between stucco and manufactured stone

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Thomas View Post
    The clients love the house for other reasons (it really is quite unique in some ways) and are going to buy it "Even if we have to tear off the cladding, and replace it"... and I'll make very sure that they understand that they might in fact be looking at something very much like that.

    I had some clients like that many years ago, a house in Miami Beach, it was termite eaten and had foundation issues.

    My client called me back about the report, he said (something like this, it was a long time ago) 'This part about "remove the roof, remove the roof structure, remove the ceiling until you can see the blue sky above", does that mean we can't live there while we are repairing the house?'

    I replied with something like 'Did you read the other part about "while the roof has been removed and you can see the blue sky above, take the second floor down, the stairway down, and all the supporting walls, then remove the exterior walls, and, while you are at it, replace the foundation" '.

    He responded with 'So, you are saying that we can live there while we are repairing it, right?'

    To which I responded something like 'Do you see that part about "the blue sky above"? Are you planning on pitching a tent in the middle of the floor?'

    He responded with 'Oh, so, if we live there while doing the work, you are saying it will be messy.'

    What could I say, the man *did not get it*, and I thought "until you can see the blue sky above" would clue them in.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  11. #11
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    Default Re: Displaced capstone between stucco and manufactured stone

    Meanwhile, does someone here have cite for prohibition of gutter ends in contact with walls for stucco, similar to the one below for fiber cement siding?

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  12. #12
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    Default Re: Displaced capstone between stucco and manufactured stone

    Michael,

    To my knowledge, there is no requirement for that clearance, as long as you can physically apply the stucco and paint, it should not be a problem (with stucco). At least until the gutter end leaks around and you start getting the mesh back there, and with no space it is difficult to clean it.

    Remember, codes are minimum requirements, not common sense or even basic construction practices.

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