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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Houston, Texas
    Posts
    14

    Default Sheet metal covering foundation

    I have never seen this before in my thirty years of doing HI. Can someone tell me what the purpose of the sheet metal covering the foundation is for (it was completely covering the slab all around the house). This house was built in 1978. This sheet metal is between the concrete slab and the first course of bricks, then there is two layers of Styrofoam approximately a half an inch thick up against the slab with a sheet of slate. Then the sheet metal is folded over to cover the Styrofoam and the slate. The owner said he has lived there for eight years and was told that this was to prevent termites from entering into the house. When the termite inspector was doing his inspection I asked him if he had ever seen this? His reply was that he had seen it in 1991 on a house In this neighborhood. I told him that the owner said the house behind this one had the same thing. In my report I said I could not view the foundation because it was not visible or accessible. I also recommend that the sheet metal be removed from around the foundation.

    Tom Rollins

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Spring City/Surrounding Philadelphia area
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    3,471

    Default Re: Sheet metal covering foundation

    Termite shield?


  3. #3
    Aaron Miller's Avatar
    Aaron Miller Guest

    Default Re: Sheet metal covering foundation

    Tom:

    Must be some termite company's wet dream idea of how to rip off customers. The expanded polystyrene will only attract termites like a magnet and make it impossible to detect them. I suppose the metal is just for effect.

    Good call telling them to lose it.

    Aaron


  4. #4
    Steve Lowery's Avatar
    Steve Lowery Guest

    Default Re: Sheet metal covering foundation

    Somewhere in the distant past (anything over about a day & a half) I remember reading about a system where the slab is poured over foam which is also wrapped around the footing down far enough to get below the frost line. This was to provide a "warm' slab. Sometimes in con -junction w/ hydronics. The termites tended to come up between the foam & 'crete and no one knew until things got ugly.

    Various things were tried including the use of ditomaceous earth dug in around the footing. I don't think I've heard about this system in a long time (anything over a week).

    The older I get the better I was.


  5. #5
    Steve Lowery's Avatar
    Steve Lowery Guest

    Default Re: Sheet metal covering foundation

    Ahh jeez. I drifted and only realized when I saw my reply.

    The Metal (and I guess in this case the slate) was to protect the foam from damage. The metal was also recommended in the past as a termite barrier. The little b*****ds are supposed to not build their tubes on the metal (electrolytic something or other) or maybe they just couldn't get around the edge.

    I have not read or heard of anything to prove or disprove the contention.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    New Mexico
    Posts
    1,222

    Default Re: Sheet metal covering foundation

    Tom, why did you think they should remove the metal? I don't see what harm it is doing, and I would think that removing it would open up the area to intrusion by moisture and/or termites. It does remind me of some of the flashing on columns in the crawl space that I think were designed to keep termites from crawling up the concrete onto the wood. Did the sill plate rest directly onto the metal, or couldn't you see that anywhere.

    Jim Robinson
    New Mexico, USA

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Oregon
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    2,365

    Default Re: Sheet metal covering foundation

    I've similar flashing in various installations.... I don't even want to offer a guess as to the funtion in this case but it looks like the level surface is actually sloping back towards the building which can't be good.


  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Western Montana
    Posts
    255

    Default Re: Sheet metal covering foundation

    If I see metal sheeting around a foundation, I automatically assume that it is covering some sort of foam covered foundations (Insulated Concrete Forms, Structural Insulated Panels, etc). The stryofoam or rigid foam panels deteriorate when exposed to UV light, so need some sort of protection (besides the idea about termites).

    If I see metal sheeting in homes built in the 60's-80's, I suspect a Permanent Wood foundation (usually a crawl or basement).

    If I see metal sheeting covering homes built in late 1800's to 1920s, then I suspect it covering a rock and mortar foundation. (and it may have experienced some deteriorations).

    So, see, metal sheeting does serve a purpose.


  9. #9
    James Duffin's Avatar
    James Duffin Guest

    Default Re: Sheet metal covering foundation

    It looks to me that the purpose of the flashing is to help keep water from getting to the wood structure behind the brick.


  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Kalamazoo, MI
    Posts
    117

    Default Re: Sheet metal covering foundation

    Tom,
    I also don't understand why you recommend that they remove the sheet metal. You probably should correct that response in an addendum report.

    RJDalga
    http://homeanalysts.com
    Kalamazoo, MI

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Rockwall Texas
    Posts
    4,517

    Default Re: Sheet metal covering foundation

    ?

    Where is the water going that collects on the sheet metal?

    Looks like it is sloped back towards the brick veneer and could be a source for water penetration.

    rick


  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Fuquay Varina, NC
    Posts
    1,072

    Default Re: Sheet metal covering foundation

    It looks to me to be a cap flashing because the slab is offset to the wall. I bet you it's a "Z" shaped flashing and it turns up under the brick on the framing. The brick veneer needs a drainage plane, flashings and there should of been weep holes at the flashings.
    Asking to remove it before you know why it is there can open another can of worms for you down the road. Let's say they remove it and a couple years later they get rotted sills etc. How can you justify that in court saying "well it just did not look like it belong there".

    If it was me I think I would of just let the termite guy worry about his stuff and I would of said recommend checking with current owner of why it was installed or examined closer to try and identify why.

    Mike Schulz License 393
    Affordable Home Inspections
    www.houseinspections.com

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Fuquay Varina, NC
    Posts
    1,072

    Exclamation Re: Sheet metal covering foundation

    Looking closer at the pictures I do see the weep holes along the first course of brick. And Because the foundation and wall is offset that is why it looks wierd to you.
    That flashing needs to be there. Better inform your clients.

    Mike Schulz License 393
    Affordable Home Inspections
    www.houseinspections.com

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