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  1. #1
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    Question Home Insurance Inspector

    I am looking for some help in identifying this foundation covering so I can date the home. I thought the foundation was concrete, but after seeing brick I think this steel bracing with concrete maybe over brick for support or repair. Has anyone see this before and know what it is called? and what years was it used? It is all over every visible wall in the basement.

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Home Insurance Inspector

    looks like structural glazed tile/block

    Quote Originally Posted by Alex Smith View Post
    I am looking for some help in identifying this foundation covering so I can date the home. I thought the foundation was concrete, but after seeing brick I think this steel bracing with concrete maybe over brick for support or repair. Has anyone see this before and know what it is called? and what years was it used? It is all over every visible wall in the basement.


    badair http://www.adairinspection.com Garland, TX 75042 TREC # 4563
    Commercial-Residential-Construction-EIFS-Stucco-ACMV-Infrared Thermography
    life is the random lottery of events followed by numerous narrow escapes

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Home Insurance Inspector

    As Barry said, structural glazed tile block.

    Some are smooth, where they will be seen ( https://elginbutler.com/product-line...l-glazed-tile/ ), others are not as "pretty" looking.

    Jerry Peck
    Construction Litigation Consultant - Retired
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Home Insurance Inspector

    Thanks for the replies but it is not tile, it is steel. I guess I should have mentioned that in the post but I thought it would be visually clear. This is a structural type item that is attached to all the basement and partial crawlspace walls. My belief is that this home was built in the very early 1900's or very late 1800's and was an early attempt at using concrete with a left in place steel form. I only can see the forms on the interior, since the outside is got heavy amounts of hard stucco. It also could be a brick foundation that was reinforced with cement and the structural steel. I just have never seen any home with this before, and was hoping someone out there has.


  5. #5
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    Default Re: Home Insurance Inspector

    Quote Originally Posted by Alex Smith View Post
    Thanks for the replies but it is not tile, it is steel. I guess I should have mentioned that in the post but I thought it would be visually clear.
    Visually ... in the photos ... it looks like structural tile.

    Did you use a magnet to verify that it is steel?

    Jerry Peck
    Construction Litigation Consultant - Retired
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  6. #6
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    Default Re: Home Insurance Inspector

    Looking at the photos again and the photo showing the top.of the walls with the floor joists on them are not in clear focus/ad good resolution to see much there - did you put a ladder against the wall and look at the top of the walls to see what might be there?

    Jerry Peck
    Construction Litigation Consultant - Retired
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Home Insurance Inspector

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Visually ... in the photos ... it looks like structural tile.

    Did you use a magnet to verify that it is steel?
    Hello Jerry....I want thank you for your responses. No I did not have a magnet or a ladder and too be honest my job is less involved than a normal Home Inspector and I spent just a short time in the basement. However, since I have seen thousands of homes and never seen anything like this on the walls, I was curious about it and wanted to gain some knowledge. Usually I can see the foundation pretty easily and identify it quickly. Here I could not although I tried to look all over for clues. There was some normal block foundation being used as supports in two crawlspaces, but even when I looked deep in the crawls, I could see the in question coverings were on the exterior walls. I touched the walls and it seemed like hard corroded steel too me, and I never thought it was a tile of any type, until you and others have mentioned that. I am not sure why the walls would come out so ugly if they were being covered with a tile, since they appear to be straight and true. Also the pieces are sure in a large and unusual dimensional shape to be a tile. Any way here are a few more photos I had, take a look if you do not mind. If you say this is tile, I am willing to go along, since I may have been wrong due to my lack of experience in seeing this kind of thing, and maybe I assumed incorrectly. I did not know that a tile could be shaped this way and used for structural support in a basement. I am actually still unsure of the exact makeup of the foundation walls. An old inspection report says this house was built in 1890. If that is correct I would assume the walls are brick, but the Inspector wrote down block, which I do not recall seeing used on homes that old, usually I see block from 1920 and newer.

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  8. #8
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    Default Re: Home Insurance Inspector

    JP will return after today's siesta or other contemplative activities ;~)

    appears the mortar was not properly sponge cleaned during original install or post install re/pointing along with some possible efflorescence bleed

    i'm still good with my original reply based on your images

    Quote Originally Posted by Alex Smith View Post
    Hello Jerry....I want thank you for your responses. No I did not have a magnet or a ladder and too be honest my job is less involved than a normal Home Inspector and I spent just a short time in the basement. However, since I have seen thousands of homes and never seen anything like this on the walls, I was curious about it and wanted to gain some knowledge. Usually I can see the foundation pretty easily and identify it quickly. Here I could not although I tried to look all over for clues. There was some normal block foundation being used as supports in two crawlspaces, but even when I looked deep in the crawls, I could see the in question coverings were on the exterior walls. I touched the walls and it seemed like hard corroded steel too me, and I never thought it was a tile of any type, until you and others have mentioned that. I am not sure why the walls would come out so ugly if they were being covered with a tile, since they appear to be straight and true. Also the pieces are sure in a large and unusual dimensional shape to be a tile. Any way here are a few more photos I had, take a look if you do not mind. If you say this is tile, I am willing to go along, since I may have been wrong due to my lack of experience in seeing this kind of thing, and maybe I assumed incorrectly. I did not know that a tile could be shaped this way and used for structural support in a basement. I am actually still unsure of the exact makeup of the foundation walls. An old inspection report says this house was built in 1890. If that is correct I would assume the walls are brick, but the Inspector wrote down block, which I do not recall seeing used on homes that old, usually I see block from 1920 and newer.


    Last edited by BARRY ADAIR; 05-23-2022 at 11:09 AM.
    badair http://www.adairinspection.com Garland, TX 75042 TREC # 4563
    Commercial-Residential-Construction-EIFS-Stucco-ACMV-Infrared Thermography
    life is the random lottery of events followed by numerous narrow escapes

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Home Insurance Inspector

    Quote Originally Posted by Alex Smith View Post
    (Contemplating the photos ... )

    Alex, your new photo, shown above, answers part of the questions as it includes the top of one of the tile blocks (a photo or something is laying on the mortar in the top of the tile bock).

    To the right of the photo (or whatever it is) is the end of the structural tile block. Notice that the offset of the tile blocks are two vertical ribs, and to the right of that photo laying on the mortar is the end of the block (two vertical ribs past the offset and the block end turns 90 degrees to the back edge of the tile block).

    Sometimes it's the unexpected that is in a photo which helps answer questions, and, regrettably, at times it is those unexpected things in photo that can get one in trouble (something which should have been reported but was not).

    Barry, it would have looked a lot neater and been a nicer job looking job if they had tinted the mortar a reddish color to match the block, If you look vertically down from the photo, you will see nice wiped joints, but the white mortar residue on the red tile blocks makes it look UGLY ... but it is a foundation and basement/crawlspace, so they didn't care what it looked like.

    Jerry Peck
    Construction Litigation Consultant - Retired
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Home Insurance Inspector

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    (Contemplating the photos ... )

    Barry, so they didn't care what it looked like.
    it's obvious society has been accepting crapsmanship much longer than i've been around

    hopefully there's more time for both of us for more to be revealed ;~)

    stay well!

    Last edited by BARRY ADAIR; 05-24-2022 at 05:28 AM.
    badair http://www.adairinspection.com Garland, TX 75042 TREC # 4563
    Commercial-Residential-Construction-EIFS-Stucco-ACMV-Infrared Thermography
    life is the random lottery of events followed by numerous narrow escapes

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Home Insurance Inspector

    Quote Originally Posted by BARRY ADAIR View Post
    it's obvious society has been accepting crapsmanship much longer than i've been around
    I suspect that crapmanship has been around longer than craftsmanship, or could it be that what once passed as Hey, look at this! was craftsmanship at the time.

    Org: Me make mighty fine spear.

    Gorg: Me spear not so bent, straighter, like arrow.

    Turg: Me spear not so bendy, more stronger.

    Org: What is arrow?

    Stay well and, as Dr. Spock would say: Live long and prosper. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iu1qa8N2ID0

    Jerry Peck
    Construction Litigation Consultant - Retired
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