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  1. #1
    Robert Schenck's Avatar
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    Default Acceptable Tolerance of Wall Out of Plumb ?

    I remember seeing a thread somewhere on here concerning an interior wall being out of plumb, but I couldnít find it. Does anyone have an IRC or UBC code as to what is an acceptable tolerance is ?

    I did an 11 month inspection, and the client was very concerned just how far out of vertical alignment the wall is. The bedroom door (next to the level, but out of the picture) would swing shut or open, Ö. Thatís how far out of plumb the wall is.

    From the floor, three foot up, the wall had a 5/8Ē gap. Having no other means of measuring higher, without loosing the floor baseboard as a reference, Iíd say the wall could be a good inch and a half out of alignment at the ceiling (8 foot). It didnít appear to be a structural concern, since the rest of the walls in immediate area were pretty much vertical. Any ideas / references would greatly be appreciated.

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  2. #2
    Bruce King's Avatar
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    Default Re: Acceptable Tolerance of Wall Out of Plumb ?

    Not sure why but two engineers around here did not see any problem with this one:

    1-2 year old house on crawlspace.
    Short 2x4 foundation wall between the masonry foundation and floor system leaning about one inch in less than 2 feet. Two story house but only one story at this wall. Floor joists were parallel to this wall. Crappy looking 2x4 braces nailed from the leaning wall to piers that would not hold much.

    I did not ask them why it was not a problem now because I already know that it could become a real problem.

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  3. #3
    John Arnold's Avatar
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    Default Re: Acceptable Tolerance of Wall Out of Plumb ?

    Bruce - I found this by searching the archives where there is a wealth of info:

    "From the National Association of Home Builders Performance Guidelines:

    Basement Walls - Concrete block or poured concrete
    Walls shall not be out of plumb greater than 1 1/2 inches in 8 feet when measured from the base to the top of the wall.

    Structural - Wood frame wall is out of plumb
    Wood framed walls shall not be more than 3/8 inch out of plumb for every 32 inches in any vertical measurement.

    Structural - The wall is bowed
    All interior and exterior walls have slight variances in their finished surfaces. Walls shall not bow more than 1/2 inch out of line within 32 inch horizontal measurement or 1/2 inch within any 8 foot vertical measurement.

    Hope this helps..

    Jeff Euriech
    Peoria, Arizona"

    "There is no exception to the rule that every rule has an exception." -James Thurber, writer and cartoonist (1894-1961)
    www.ArnoldHomeInspections.com

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Acceptable Tolerance of Wall Out of Plumb ?

    Could just be "just" an out of plumb interior wall, or could be this:

    Framers go home. Something shifts. No one checks for plumb before the sheeting goes on the next day. Entire structure is out of plum on two opposite sides.

    No one notices until they start to build out the interior - only by this point the roof is on, windows, and exterior doors installed, siding is on, etc... so the crew doing the interior attempts to shim things right.

    All kinds of problems can then result - for example I once saw a FG shower stall which cracked top to bottom the first time it was used because it backed up to out-of-plumb exterior wall slanting inwards; the sub- floor below the stall was level but the front face of side-wall framing to which the front of the one-piece shower was screwed was out of plumb, the installer's "solution" was to attempted to shim under the floor of the shower - but the back end of the base was hanging 7/8" off the floor.

    In such a case *everything* which depends on a plumb wall is suspect - look carefully at kitchen cabinet installations, tub and tub showers, doorways, etc., some areas may be "fixed", some not.


  5. #5
    Brandon Chew's Avatar
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    Default Re: Acceptable Tolerance of Wall Out of Plumb ?

    Keep in mind that the NAHB guidelines were written by the builders in order to limit their liability on call-backs. I consider the source biased and use it only when I have nothing else to go on.

    Whenever I can, I use RS Means "Residential & Light Commercial Construction Standards" as my primary source. From Means chapter on Wood Framing -- Allowable Tolerances:

    "...Plumbness tolerance is important because out-of-plumb walls and partitions can be noticable and can affect the successful application of many finish materials. The 'Quality Standards for the Professional Remodeler' and the Insurance/Warranty Documents require that walls be plumb to within 1/4 inch in any 32 inches vertical measurement."

    The NAHB would allow up to 1 1/8 inches in a typical 8 foot high wall.
    RS Means says a max of 3/4 inches in an 8 foot wall is ok.

    Quote Originally Posted by John Arnold View Post
    Bruce - I found this by searching the archives where there is a wealth of info:

    "From the National Association of Home Builders Performance Guidelines:

    Basement Walls - Concrete block or poured concrete
    Walls shall not be out of plumb greater than 1 1/2 inches in 8 feet when measured from the base to the top of the wall.

    Structural - Wood frame wall is out of plumb
    Wood framed walls shall not be more than 3/8 inch out of plumb for every 32 inches in any vertical measurement.

    Structural - The wall is bowed
    All interior and exterior walls have slight variances in their finished surfaces. Walls shall not bow more than 1/2 inch out of line within 32 inch horizontal measurement or 1/2 inch within any 8 foot vertical measurement.

    Hope this helps..

    Jeff Euriech
    Peoria, Arizona"



  6. #6
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    Default Re: Acceptable Tolerance of Wall Out of Plumb ?

    Robert,

    The Performance Standards of the TRCC (Texas Residential Construction Commission) are only applicable in Texas but here is what it has to say about the matter.

    "RULE §304.11 Performance Standards for Framing

    ...(2) Walls shall be level, plumb and square to all adjoining openings or other walls within 3/8 of an inch in any 32-inch measurement. If a wall does not meet the standard stated in this paragraph, the builder shall take such action as is necessary to bring the variance within the standard."

    and also regarding doors...

    "RULE §304.18 Performance Standards for Doors and Windows


    ...(8) When a door is placed in an open position, it shall remain in the position it was placed, unless the movement is caused by airflow. If a door fails to perform in accordance with the standard stated in this paragraph, the builder shall take such action as is necessary to bring the variance within the standard."



  7. #7
    Joseph Michalski's Avatar
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    Default Re: Acceptable Tolerance of Wall Out of Plumb ?

    The TRCC seems to be much like the NAHB standards.

    I am not familair with the Means publication but have just ordered it (thanks for the tip).

    I have found success in working with builders to get corrections based on teh NAHB standards simply because, as Brandon suggests, the builders helped develop them and even the small time builders I come across recognize their own association standards (and those who don't sure don't want to try to make the case in court that they can't meet standards created by builders, themselves).

    I will likely use the Means info as a starting point, falling back to the NAHB standards to get action when needed.

    Good discussion!!


  8. #8
    Robert Schenck's Avatar
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    Default Re: Acceptable Tolerance of Wall Out of Plumb ?

    Bruce, Ö.. Up here in Canuck Land, we donít have the TRCC, but we do have TARION. Itís a private corporation that protects the rights of new home owners and regulates new builders. Basically, the builders pay into TARION as a form of insurance. When the home owner has a claim, TARION follows the Ontario Building Code (OBC) guidelines. If the claim falls within the ďOut-of-SpecísĒ as per the Construction Performance Guideline, TARION then pays for the repair.


  9. #9
    Rick Souter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Acceptable Tolerance of Wall Out of Plumb ?

    Quote Originally Posted by John Arnold View Post
    Bruce - I found this by searching the archives where there is a wealth of info:

    "From the National Association of Home Builders Performance Guidelines:

    Basement Walls - Concrete block or poured concrete
    Walls shall not be out of plumb greater than 1 1/2 inches in 8 feet when measured from the base to the top of the wall.

    Structural - Wood frame wall is out of plumb
    Wood framed walls shall not be more than 3/8 inch out of plumb for every 32 inches in any vertical measurement.

    Structural - The wall is bowed
    All interior and exterior walls have slight variances in their finished surfaces. Walls shall not bow more than 1/2 inch out of line within 32 inch horizontal measurement or 1/2 inch within any 8 foot vertical measurement.

    Hope this helps..

    Jeff Euriech
    Peoria, Arizona"
    Well, I suppose I could have found some help with this......if I had LOOKED a little further.
    RS


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