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  1. #1
    Dick Moran's Avatar
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    Default What could cause this...

    While doing a HUD inspection in a foreclosed home yesterday I found something very odd in the basement. As I was going down the steps I thought I saw what looked like bullet holes in the block foundation. It is not unusual to find crazy stuff in foreclosed homes. Upon closer examination I discovered that the source was not from "my" side of the wall but from inside the brick or from the "other" home next door. These homes share a party wall. This condition was only on that one wall. My first guess was somebody was doing work on the other side and shot something into the wall. This is cinder block and as such would be 6-10" thick so my second guess is that something has reacted with stuff in the block and expanded it causing the stuff near the surface to break through.
    Anyone ever see something like this?

    Dick Moran
    True Blue Home Inspections
    A Div of RAM2, LLC.
    Clarksville, MD
    240-832-6838
    MD HI License 29927

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  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Default Re: What could cause this...

    Formerly DIY finished basement now removed finish materials and studs previously nailed to block walls then later pried off the walls could cause the condition pictured. Basically anything nailed to the walls and later pried off could do this (weakening or pitting). A cartridge charged nailer can do similar damage.

    One wonders how long the home has been in a foreclosure status, and if the home has been without utilities for any period of time (no "conditioning" of the air going on, if the basement is conditioned; no sump pump running if/when necessary, if applicable; no heat) and if the home has been "winterized" and if so when (by the HUD agent).

    However, I note tell-tale orange/yellow streaking - leading me to believe that a "laytex" type paint or sealing product has been used on the inside wall of less than dry masonry and active effluoresence and moisture migration is taking place under the paint layers. Painting over effluoressence could also cause a similar appearance in a less than dry basement, even if the subject basement was conditioned and dry but the neighboring basement of a party foundation wall was not, if the wall base is migrating moisture (footing or slab) or the opposite - neighbors have incorrectly finished the basement and yours wasn't conditioned; the wall itself is wicking moisture from the other side, from below, or above.

    You may encounter this yellow or orange "bleeding" on painted siding, bathroom walls, ceilings, etc. which is usually an indication of a moisture problem behind the paint.

    Does this block wall extend through the roof (fire wall)? might also be a moisture/water breach above.

    Last edited by H.G. Watson, Sr.; 10-09-2009 at 11:18 AM.

  3. #3
    Bruce Thomas's Avatar
    Bruce Thomas Guest

    Default Re: What could cause this...

    Also see the rust spots? The cinders have a high iron content. Moisture rusts the iron and expands them pushing the surface off causing spalling.

    Or it has small pox

    Bruce


  4. #4
    Dick Moran's Avatar
    Dick Moran Guest

    Default Re: What could cause this...

    The marks on the wall do not follow a pattern that would suggest a nailing pattern. It looks to me that something in the cinder block has expanded [erupted] through the surface. I may have to go back and check some more. The block may extend up to the roof but I did not go that far. These inspections are real bare bones and we are in and out fast but I may just revisit this one for free just to try and figure out what has happened. There was a large amount of mold [mold like substance] in this basement so water issues may be at the heart of this problem.... but why not the basement walls that contact soil???

    Dick Moran


  5. #5
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    Default Re: What could cause this...

    Quote Originally Posted by Dick Moran View Post
    These homes share a party wall.
    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Thomas View Post
    Also see the rust spots? The cinders have a high iron content. Moisture rusts the iron and expands them pushing the surface off causing spalling.
    I suspect that Bruce has the right idea.

    The walls may, as H. G. said, go through the roof, with a parapet wall above the roof, the top of the parapet may be leaking (or flashing along the roof/parapet wall), allowing water/moisture into the wall to such extent that it collects in the wall, causing what you are seeing.

    Of course, though, that would raise questions as there should be filled bond beams at the floor level and the top, which would tend to stop the downward travel of water within the wall. It may be possible that there are no bond beams and the wall is entirely open from bottom to top, which would not be good.

    Raises potentials for more questions than answers.

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

  6. #6
    Dick Moran's Avatar
    Dick Moran Guest

    Default Re: What could cause this...

    The block does not go through the roof. Each home has it's own roof. The ony picture I have sort of shows the roof from below. The black items in the center of each eruption have expanded and forced their way through the surface. The block looked to be covered with a waterproofing paint.

    Dick Moran

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  7. #7
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    Default Re: What could cause this...

    Quote Originally Posted by Dick Moran View Post
    The block does not go through the roof. Each home has it's own roof.
    The block wall probably goes "to the roof", in which case a flashing along the wall at the lower roof could be leaking to that wall.

    Just a possibility.

    It could also be where the front wall (presuming it is frame) meets the block wall and is leaking there. Or leaking somewhere at grade level below the siding, possibly lack of proper waterproofing.

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

  8. #8
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    Default Re: What could cause this...

    I vote with excess moisture. That must be real cinder block, and those black things are cinders, expanding with moisture. The roof is probably leaking at the junction of the two units. I wonder if the other side of the wall looks the same?


  9. #9
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    Default Re: What could cause this...

    what could cause this
    ......
    .

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  10. #10
    Dick Moran's Avatar
    Dick Moran Guest

    Default Re: What could cause this...

    Yep John, I think you are right. There are black crystal looking modules in the center of each eruption that have expanded. Surrounding the black crystal is cinder block looging material [gray/grey]. The amount of mold in the basement points to excess moisture and the sealing paint on the surface of the wall was done for a purpose. This may have happend before, wall repaired, sealed and then failed again. The next time I am in the neighborhood I will recheck and see if I can talk to the neighbors.
    Thanks for the real help guys and for the others, jokes are somewhat funny but don't quit your day jobs...


    Dick Moran
    True Blue Home Inspections
    A Div of RAM2, LLC.
    Clarksville, MD


  11. #11
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    Default Re: What could cause this...

    Quote Originally Posted by Dick Moran View Post
    .
    , jokes are somewhat funny but don't quit your day jobs...

    .
    ....
    .

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  12. #12
    Dick Moran's Avatar
    Dick Moran Guest

    Default Re: What could cause this...

    OK Billy, maybe you are right.... quit your day job...


    Dick


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