Monday, April 26, 2010

Monday Visual Inspiration: Oops.

A short one today, folks, but it involves indulging in one of my guilty pleasures: looking at building and construction mistakes and repairs. If it's bad enough to grab my attention, I'm whipping out the camera, or at the very least I'm calling my husband's attention to it so we can be catty about it and figure out if it's poorly-built, not thought out, whatever. Join me for a turn in the litter box, won't you?

This is in the stairwell of my favorite just-renovated library, and I have to wonder how this got missed. Did they forget that the wall base needs to terminate into something? It's just hanging here at the top of the stair stringer, like an unreturned high-five at a Super Bowl party. If you insist on using wall base in the stairwell, it would have been better to find some small, super-lo profile moulding or wall base to do the job, instead of slapping some Johnsonite around the edge of the landing and hoping no one will notice. Mm-mm-mm. [shakes head, sips riesling from wine glass]

Eeek. What happened here? I feel like I remembered seeing a big crack in the stucco on this wall a while back, so maybe this is where it was fixed. Thing is, stucco has integral color--it's already colored when it goes on the wall, so it's not something that you paint after you've installed it. Unfortunately, the new stucco is a different color than the existing stucco, and everyone driving by can see it. I'm not aware of stucco having fading issues in the light (architects who are WAD fans, do you know? I don't put a lot of stucco in my projects), and besides, this is on a north wall, so there shouldn't be a lot of direct UV rays on this wall. They might have to do a surface painting of this side, like it or not. [takes a couple of sips from glass of riesling]

Oh Lawd. [gulps riesling, asks for another glass]

I have no idea what in the name of Mario Botta happened here. I imagine this was a tuckpointing job gone wrong. (Tuckpointing is the process of removing/replacing/repairing the mortar between bricks.) Here's why I'm especially alarmed: see those bricks inside the wall? That tells me that this house has a lot of age on it, and the building made it a double-wythe (at least) exterior wall. Back in the day, baking and curing bricks was harder than it is today in terms of getting a consistently strong and well-cured product. Depending on where a brick was in the kiln, it might not fully cure, plus the little old kilns of the turn of the last century couldn't get as hot as the kilns of the last 50 or so years. Why does this matter for this poor homeowner? It means that the softer, less-strong bricks are on the inside of the exterior wall, and now that they're exposed to the weather, they may absorb a bunch of moisture that may be hard pressed to get back out of the wall once they brick it back up.

More riesling, please!


St. Blogwen said...

O Hebben helpifying us!11 Speshly awn teh hows wiv teh sposifyed brickks!

(That is Deconstructionism with a vengeance. My, my, my.)

faded said...

The stair well is plain sloppyness on somebody's part. Notice how the top edge of the base is not parallel with the surface of the landing. I think there may larger problem here with something being out of level.

The second one looks like a large pee stain left by a giant dog that lifted its' leg on the house.

Is the third on actual structural failure where the wall unzipped from the corner?

Miss Kitty said...

The second one looks like a large pee stain left by a giant dog that lifted its leg on the house.

Faded, I almost spit Diet Sprite all over the monitor when I read that.

bluedogok said...

Looks like a patch job with a bad color match, maybe it was still wet and hadn't cured yet. Color matching grays can be much harder than most people think.

You can get some fade over time depending upon the pigments used, I have seen plenty of faded stucco here in Austin/San Antonio and along the Texas coast. EIFS isn't used near as much as cement plaster stucco, I haven't spec'd EIFS since moving down here.