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  1. #1
    Ron Gries's Avatar
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    Default Expansion Joints

    Is there any exception to the standard for stucco which would allow an expansion joint not to be installed on these walls? Area 25'x18', 16'x12' and 18'x12'? Also, there are pinhole and bigger breaches in the stucco which may be allowing water to enter the wall. There is a strong mold odor in the home on this east wall. Are weep holes required on the bottom of the wall? The stucco appears to have been applied after the apron or sidewalk was poured. The stucco can be seen to overlap the sidewalk in areas.

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  2. #2
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Expansion Joints

    There is a lack of control/expansion joints everywhere. The large group of windows have already been patched and there is a crack at the corner of another. Water can make it is many areas and yes there should be weep holes. I am assuming this is stucco on block. If so it is even a greater reason for control/expansion joints everywhere. You have definately got youself a nightmare in the making and it looks and sounds like the nightmare already began.

    Time for the magic stucco man to come out and do some serious repairs.


  3. #3
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    Default Re: Expansion Joints

    Ron,

    From what I can see in your photos and your description, basically nothing was done correctly with the application of that stucco and lath.

    In addition to the control joints, and the lack of weep screeds at the bottom, the stucco is too thin, the expanded metal lath is not installed properly, and who know what accessories are or are not installed and how they are installed.

    If wall was installed correctly, the micro-cracks in the stucco will not cause a problem as water goes through stucco and drains down the drainage plane to the weep screed and out. Based on the fact that everything else which is supposed to be there is missing, I suspect the drainage plane is also missing, which would lead to the sheathing (if that is even installed as it should be) becoming wet and deteriorated and/or decayed, in addition to allowing water to leak in around windows and door openings where it is also likely there are no, or at least improper, flashings.

    If the visible work is so poorly done, what are we to expect of the work which is not visible? Are we supposed to assume that "their best crew" did the no longer visible work properly, or that "their typical crew" did the hidden work in a manner similar to the visible work? I know what my guess would be, what is yours?

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  4. #4
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
    A.D. Miller Guest

    Default Re: Expansion Joints

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Ron,

    From what I can see in your photos and your description, basically nothing was done correctly with the application of that stucco and lath.

    In addition to the control joints, and the lack of weep screeds at the bottom, the stucco is too thin, the expanded metal lath is not installed properly, and who know what accessories are or are not installed and how they are installed.

    If wall was installed correctly, the micro-cracks in the stucco will not cause a problem as water goes through stucco and drains down the drainage plane to the weep screed and out. Based on the fact that everything else which is supposed to be there is missing, I suspect the drainage plane is also missing, which would lead to the sheathing (if that is even installed as it should be) becoming wet and deteriorated and/or decayed, in addition to allowing water to leak in around windows and door openings where it is also likely there are no, or at least improper, flashings.

    If the visible work is so poorly done, what are we to expect of the work which is not visible? Are we supposed to assume that "their best crew" did the no longer visible work properly, or that "their typical crew" did the hidden work in a manner similar to the visible work? I know what my guess would be, what is yours?
    JP: It appears that they did use parapet flashing. And, the weep screed may indeed be there, they just put it right down on the patio so they could save nails. The patching over the windows is probably just from the seasonal maintenance required to repair damage caused by no header flashing.


  5. #5
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    Default Re: Expansion Joints

    I don't get to see hard-coat very often and hard-coat on masonary not to date. So I don't know.
    If this is on a block wall,as Ted suggested, how does the moisture barrier, drain plane, weep screed, lath, control joints, etc. work?


  6. #6
    Bob Spermo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Expansion Joints

    Ron,

    One of the stucco's main problems is the fact that it goes all the way down to the sidewalk. The stucco should end on a weep screed that is at least 2" above the concrete. Behind the stucco should be a drainage plain so that water that is absorbed by and through the stucco has a place to drain out. Got to go but I am sure you will get some more guidance!


  7. #7
    Ron Gries's Avatar
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    Default Re: Expansion Joints

    I appreciate your analysis of this home. This is the first home of this type that the contactor has built. I too think that the stucco is too thin. You can see rust spots at places on the wall from the rusting lath. It appears that because of improper construction and the lack of a weep screed, water is being trapped in the wall. When the sprinklers are on, the owner stated that mold odor increases. The sprinklers do not spray directly on the home, however, the wind blows the spray on the wall. I have tested the air and taken swab samples and sent them to the lab. Stachybotrys mold was found in the master bathroom. I am going back to take more samples after drilling holes in the wall at several places. The home owner states that she has allergies, but that after two days away from the house she feels much better. Her business is run from her home office. She asked me if I thought she should move out of the house. I explained the type of mold that she was being exposed to and that the decision was hers to make. She asked what I would do. I stated that would move out until the problem is rectified.


  8. #8
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    Default Re: Expansion Joints

    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Gries View Post
    I appreciate your analysis of this home. This is the first home of this type that the contactor has built. I too think that the stucco is too thin. You can see rust spots at places on the wall from the rusting lath. It appears that because of improper construction and the lack of a weep screed, water is being trapped in the wall. When the sprinklers are on, the owner stated that mold odor increases. The sprinklers do not spray directly on the home, however, the wind blows the spray on the wall. I have tested the air and taken swab samples and sent them to the lab. Stachybotrys mold was found in the master bathroom. I am going back to take more samples after drilling holes in the wall at several places. The home owner states that she has allergies, but that after two days away from the house she feels much better. Her business is run from her home office. She asked me if I thought she should move out of the house. I explained the type of mold that she was being exposed to and that the decision was hers to make. She asked what I would do. I stated that would move out until the problem is rectified.
    Hi Ron,

    As others have said the stucco is a mess.

    What were the moisture readings of the drywall inside the home?


    Just an observation and it is not a dig at you.. I don't know what type of credentials you have when it comes to mold testing, analysis and remediation plans. If it was me, I would step back at this point and tell my client that they need an industrial hygienist or an environmental engineering consulting firm to proceed any further. You already know the home has mold, so additional testing at this time is not going to do anything, other than cost the homeowner more money.


    I will bet that this is going to end up in litigation if it has not already headed that way.

    Just some advice..

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  9. #9
    Ron Gries's Avatar
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    Default Re: Expansion Joints

    Thanks for that information. I will do that! My qualifcation does not extend beyond sampling for mold. I am a certifed level II thermographer and have scanned the walls for moisture. No indication of that. Moisture readings using my Protimeter read about 8%. Readings were taken about 6 inches above plate due to baseboard molding.


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    Default Re: Expansion Joints

    I know this is off the subject but how do i post a new question on this form?


  11. #11
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    Default Re: Expansion Joints

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Mobley View Post
    I know this is off the subject but how do i post a new question on this form?
    Go to the section/category that your question would be under and then click on the New Thread/POST button.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Expansion Joints

    Ron,

    Would you confirm the type of structure as being frame with stucco or masonry with stucco?

    I see metal lath, which means that at least that part is frame with stucco, but is it all frame with stucco or is some of it concrete block?

    As Scott said and you said you would do, I would step away from the mold issue, your client has already stated she has allergies, she needs to contact here doctor and have them refer an industrial hygienist, I would not even want to put my hand in the way of that closing door, too easy to get your hand crushed.

    Concentrate on the stucco and lath installation and the moisture intrusion aspects.

    If it is going to court and you do not feel sufficiently knowledgeable about stucco and lath, I would also recommend bringing in a consultant on that too.

    One thing the homeowner may well need to do is to have a licensed and competent stucco contractor come out with the consult (you or otherwise) and open the wall up, documenting every step of the way as the wall is opened up, documenting that the stucco and lath (either/or or both) was installed correctly or incorrectly.

    That will also reveal the condition of the sheathing, which may need to be replaced in areas, especially below/beside/above penetrations through the wall (such as doors, windows, pipes, receptacle outlets, etc.).

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  13. #13
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Expansion Joints

    "you do not feel sufficiently knowledgeable about stucco and lath, I would also recommend bringing in a consultant on that too."

    That is a given whether he has sufficient knowledge or not.

    This gets back into the argument, well, not argument , but the same statements all the time.

    A home inspector is not the know all end all. It is always sound advise to have an in depth evaluation by a professional in the particular field. I know you constantly say no further eval is necessary because you already did one but the simple truth is your eval, with the exception of your findings being past on for a starting point, means nothing to the pro in the field. He will do his own complete evaluation when he gets there whether he has you evaluation or not no matter how knowledgeable you are on the subject.

    The entire stucco job, no matter what type of frame or concrete there is behind it is screwed up. This will require an evaluation on the entire structure. This is more than JUST control joints, more than just the base stucco job in general. It is now affecting the entire structure.

    As far as the mold. You have done your job and now it is for the more knowledgeable pro to step in (mold remediation etc). If the womans health is already being affected she needs to find other living accomadations until the situation is resolved. If it is a new home then the builder has a very serious expensive issue to resolve.

    By the way. How are you today Jerry ?


  14. #14
    Ron Gries's Avatar
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    Default Re: Expansion Joints

    The construction is stucco over frame.

    Here are my propsed comments:

    EXPANSION JOINTS
    It appears that required expansion joints were not installed in the building walls.

    The International Building Code and most model building codes reference ASTM C1063, the Standard Specification for the Installation of Lathing and Furring to Receive Interior and Exterior Portland Cement-Based Plaster, as the lath installation specification.

    The specification states: “Control (expansion and contraction) joints shall be installed in walls to delineate areas not more than 144 square feet and to delineate areas not more than 100 square feet for all horizontal applications, that is, ceilings, curves, or angle type structures. The distance between control joints shall not exceed 18 feet in either direction or a length-to-width ratio of 2 1⁄2 to 1.

    Control/expansion joints are considered to be a major part of the stucco installation and necessary in almost every installation. One hundred forty four square feet translates into an area of 12 feet by 12 feet, which in the scope of things is a relatively small area in most walls.

    A qualified stucco contractor should be contacted to determine the adequacy of the stucco installation.


    WATER PENETRATION
    Exterior walls should provide a barrier from external water penetration. The windows on the east side of the house contain breaches in the stucco which can allow water to enter the wall structure. Since there is a strong moldy odor in the house and positive a indication of elevated mold spores in the eastside rooms as reported by a lab, it appears that water has seeped beyond the outer barrier and into the wall structure.

    It appears that there is a lack of weep screeds at the bottom of the stucco, and that the stucco is too thin, as indicated by various rust spots on the wall from rusting lath.

    The stucco has many micro-cracks. If a weep screed were installed, then the water would go through stucco and drain down the drainage plane to the weep screed and out. It appears that water is being trapped in the walls.

    A qualified contractor or stucco contractor should investigate the construction methods, the extent of the water penetration, mitigate, and make repairs as necessary.

    Last edited by Ron Gries; 02-16-2009 at 01:19 PM.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Expansion Joints

    Ron,

    I would keep it simple and state something like:

    The stucco and lath installation is not done in accordance with the code and its referenced standards for many apparent reasons, which include, but are not limited to, the following:
    - lack of control joints at the specified intervals/locations
    - lack of weep screed where required
    - stucco thickness insufficient (metal lath exposed)
    - wire lath not installed properly (metal lath exposed)
    - with the visible work quality being as it is, the lack of work quality brings into question whether or not the non-visible items and components are installed in a similarly improper manner
    - with all of the visible deficiencies comes the prospect of moisture penetration beyond the drainage plane, if installed and if installed as required, which could lead to hidden moisture damage to the sheathing and structural framing

    Have a licensed and competent stucco contractor perform all necessary repairs.

    First thing I noticed on your list was EXPANSION JOINTS and they are CONTROL/expansion joints, and there is a big difference between the two.

    Last edited by Jerry Peck; 02-16-2009 at 03:35 PM. Reason: speelin'
    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  16. #16
    Ron Gries's Avatar
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    Default Re: Expansion Joints

    Thank you, keeping it simple is better.


  17. #17
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    Default Re: Expansion Joints

    Amazing the things people say they can determine from a simple picture...
    First of all, this home has obviously had a window retrofit, or at least had some work done around all the windows in the pictures. If you zoom in on the far away shots, the discoloration becomes obvious at the top of all the windows. I assume the texture is noticeably different around the windows as well, you just can't see from the pics. Someone familiar with stucco would pick up on this right away.
    So the most you can say from these photos is that the patching AROUND the windows may be too thin, and not done properly. But, why not stretch that out to condemn the entire stucco job? it's de riguer for the "experts" on this site.
    Granted, taking the stucco down to the slab is not wise, but as long as the VB is in place and functioning, there still is a way for incidential moisture to escape at the slab/stucco interface. I would hardly identify this as the major cause of mold. And neither would the presence of control joints, although they would be a good idea. Leaks in the stucco are common, and well managed by the VB/MB being installed properly.
    Much more likely, the windows still leak, and the repairs were done improperly. It's very difficult to repair the VB properly on a window retrofit or repair, as the process of lapping the layers is hampered by the presence of the fasteners that hold the lath on.
    You're right to back off the expert opinions, as you are obviously not one, and the "photo interpretation and analysis experts" on this site would do well to just point out the obvious, and not believe they can long distance diagnose.

    I'm a dyslexic agnostic-Don't believe there is a dog...

  18. #18
    Mitchell Toelle's Avatar
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    Default Re: Expansion Joints

    Ron,

    Where are the roof drains/ scuppers? Are they on a side of the house not shown in your photos? Is it possible that there are additional sources for moisture and moisture related growth for this dwelling?

    Mitch Toelle
    HomeAware Property Inspections


  19. #19
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    Default Re: Expansion Joints

    Quote Originally Posted by John Carroll View Post
    So the most you can say from these photos is that the patching AROUND the windows may be too thin, and not done properly. But, why not stretch that out to condemn the entire stucco job? it's de riguer for the "experts" on this site.
    Because, John, what we are seeing is not necessarily "patching AROUND the windows" (I do, however, agree that the patching ABOVE the windows is most likely from reconfiguring the windows, such as removing some), and, yes ...

    ... THE VISIBLE STUCCO IS TOO THIN, not a stretch at all, easily seen where THE METAL LATH IS INSTALLED IMPROPERLY TOO.

    You're right to back off the expert opinions, as you are obviously not one, and the "photo interpretation and analysis experts" on this site would do well to just point out the obvious, and not believe they can long distance diagnose.
    No to mention that, in addition to looking at the photos, maybe you should actually read the posts you are trying to put down?

    You know, reading things like:
    - "The stucco and lath installation is not done in accordance with the code and its referenced standards for many apparent reasons, which include, but are not limited to, the following:"

    Nothing in that which was not CLEARLY VISIBLE in the photos AND FROM the original posters description.

    Nah, too much trouble for an "expert" such as you claim to be to bother reading when you can spend the time typing and trying to cut others down.

    (This is where Dom chimes in .. )

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Expansion Joints

    As usual, JP misses the point entirely. Long distance diagnosis of an entire system is not possible from photos. You accept them at your own risk.

    I'm a dyslexic agnostic-Don't believe there is a dog...

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Expansion Joints

    Quote Originally Posted by John Carroll View Post
    As usual, JP misses the point entirely. Long distance diagnosis of an entire system is not possible from photos.
    As usual, John speaks of what he does not know.

    John,

    There are several VERY CLEARLY SHOWN items in those photos, and in those areas it is very easy to see those items.

    Additionally, the original poster, Ron, added information into his post which could be read and understood.

    One can, from some photos, make a diagnosis based on what is shown in those photos.

    Whether or not that is representative of the entire structure is not known, thus the reference to 'including but not limited to'. The photos showing the exposed metal lath are conclusive for that metal lath and stucco in that area, thus, 'including but not limited to' the photos and the information given in the post are used to address ... here is the part you are missing ... those photos and the information given in the post.

    If someone were to ask "Is it noon?", the answer is "Yes.", then, with additional information we can help determine if "Is it noon HERE.", in which case the answer may, or may not be, yes.

    I guess you want us to add a disclaimer similar to this to each post?
    "This response is based on, and solely on, the information, or lack thereof, provided in the post and/or attached photos, and is subject to change with, and at such time as, additional information and/or photos are provided."

    I believe that ALL OF US HERE understand that to be the case.

    The more information provided, the better and more complete the responses can be.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I almost forgot the disclaimer ~~~~~~~~~~~

    "This response is based on, and solely on, the information, or lack thereof, provided in the post and/or attached photos, and is subject to change with, and at such time as, additional information and/or photos are provided."

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  22. #22
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Expansion Joints

    John

    We can only go on what is given.

    Mold smell and a test for mold was positive.

    Hairline cracks as mentioned by OP everywhere.

    No control joints.

    Stucco to thin.

    Stucco not even covering lathe under windo.

    Previous repairs.

    No weep screed. At leat part of it.

    Are all the roof drains on the other side of the home.

    Question. Question. Question. Question.

    Questionable work everywhere.

    I don't think in this instance it would be anywhere near out of the question to call for a complete (or how did Jerry say it)

    "with the visible work quality being as it is, the lack of work quality brings into question whether or not the non-visible items and components are installed in a similarly improper manner
    - with all of the visible deficiencies comes the prospect of moisture penetration beyond the drainage plane, if installed and if installed as required, which could lead to hidden moisture damage to the sheathing and structural framing"

    Or how did the OP state it

    "EXPANSION JOINTS
    It appears that required expansion joints were not installed in the building walls.

    The International Building Code and most model building codes reference ASTM C1063, the Standard Specification for the Installation of Lathing and Furring to Receive Interior and Exterior Portland Cement-Based Plaster, as the lath installation specification.

    The specification states: “Control (expansion and contraction) joints shall be installed in walls to delineate areas not more than 144 square feet and to delineate areas not more than 100 square feet for all horizontal applications, that is, ceilings, curves, or angle type structures. The distance between control joints shall not exceed 18 feet in either direction or a length-to-width ratio of 2 1⁄2 to 1.

    Control/expansion joints are considered to be a major part of the stucco installation and necessary in almost every installation. One hundred forty four square feet translates into an area of 12 feet by 12 feet, which in the scope of things is a relatively small area in most walls.

    A qualified stucco contractor should be contacted to determine the adequacy of the stucco installation.


    WATER PENETRATION
    Exterior walls should provide a barrier from external water penetration. The windows on the east side of the house contain breaches in the stucco which can allow water to enter the wall structure. Since there is a strong moldy odor in the house and positive a indication of elevated mold spores in the eastside rooms as reported by a lab, it appears that water has seeped beyond the outer barrier and into the wall structure.

    It appears that there is a lack of weep screeds at the bottom of the stucco, and that the stucco is too thin, as indicated by various rust spots on the wall from rusting lath.

    The stucco has many micro-cracks. If a weep screed were installed, then the water would go through stucco and drain down the drainage plane to the weep screed and out. It appears that water is being trapped in the walls.

    A qualified contractor or stucco contractor should investigate the construction methods, the extent of the water penetration, mitigate, and make repairs as necessary."

    Do you see anything wrong with that???????????????


  23. #23
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    Default Re: Expansion Joints

    QUOTE:
    There are several VERY CLEARLY SHOWN items in those photos, and in those areas it is very easy to see those items.

    Yes, the areas under the windows. Not the entire system.

    Additionally, the original poster, Ron, added information into his post which could be read and understood.

    You are assuming something that was not clearly defined. Re-read his original post. He doesn't say WHERE the pinholes are.

    One can, from some photos, make a diagnosis based on what is shown in those photos.

    Whether or not that is representative of the entire structure is not known, thus the reference to 'including but not limited to'. The photos showing the exposed metal lath are conclusive for that metal lath and stucco in that area, thus, 'including but not limited to' the photos and the information given in the post are used to address ... here is the part you are missing ... those photos and the information given in the post.

    That's not what you said, you condemned the entire system. Re-read your original post. Here's the quote:
    basically nothing was done correctly with the application of that stucco and lath.

    In addition to the control joints, and the lack of weep screeds at the bottom, the stucco is too thin, the expanded metal lath is not installed properly, and who know what accessories are or are not installed and how they are installed.

    If wall was installed correctly, the micro-cracks in the stucco will not cause a problem as water goes through stucco and drains down the drainage plane to the weep screed and out. Based on the fact that everything else which is supposed to be there is missing, I suspect the drainage plane is also missing, which would lead to the sheathing (if that is even installed as it should be) becoming wet and deteriorated and/or decayed, in addition to allowing water to leak in around windows and door openings where it is also likely there are no, or at least improper, flashings.

    If the visible work is so poorly done, what are we to expect of the work which is not visible? Are we supposed to assume that "their best crew" did the no longer visible work properly, or that "their typical crew" did the hidden work in a manner similar to the visible work? I know what my guess would be, what is yours?

    I see nothing there about "including, but not limited to..."

    If someone were to ask "Is it noon?", the answer is "Yes.", then, with additional information we can help determine if "Is it noon HERE.", in which case the answer may, or may not be, yes.

    I guess you want us to add a disclaimer similar to this to each post?
    "This response is based on, and solely on, the information, or lack thereof, provided in the post and/or attached photos, and is subject to change with, and at such time as, additional information and/or photos are provided."

    What I want is immaterial, what would be nice to see is a little further probing of the issue, asking questions that may shed some further light on the situation, but you would rather spout off the top of your head without that kind of inquiry. Face it, Jerry, it just makes you look old and foolish when I have to call you on this crap.


    I believe that ALL OF US HERE understand that to be the case.

    I believe you are wrong about that.

    The more information provided, the better and more complete the responses can be.

    Halleluya, we agree on that.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I almost forgot the disclaimer ~~~~~~~~~~~

    "This response is based on, and solely on, the information, or lack thereof, provided in the post and/or attached photos, and is subject to change with, and at such time as, additional information and/or photos are provided."

    Start putting that in your posts, and we'll have fewer disagreements.

    I'm a dyslexic agnostic-Don't believe there is a dog...

  24. #24
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    Default Re: Expansion Joints

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    I guess you want us to add a disclaimer similar to this to each post?
    "This response is based on, and solely on, the information, or lack thereof, provided in the post and/or attached photos, and is subject to change with, and at such time as, additional information and/or photos are provided."

    I believe that ALL OF US HERE understand that to be the case.

    Quote Originally Posted by John Carroll View Post
    I believe you are wrong about that.
    John,

    You really must think that most of the inspectors here are real stupid if you think that.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  25. #25
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Expansion Joints

    Jerry

    This is getting old and boring. I keep on agreeing with you lately. Something is wrong with that


  26. #26
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    Default Re: Expansion Joints

    Not rising to that bait...............

    The rebuttal goes unchallenged. I win.

    over & OUT.

    I'm a dyslexic agnostic-Don't believe there is a dog...

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