Problems in Wall Construction and How to Repair Them
Walls, like floor systems and foundation, are another crucial aspect of any building. Tasked with supporting the weight of additional floors, the roof, and so on, walls should be in top condition as any weakness could affect the overall building’s structural integrity. Knowing what possible issues walls can face as well as whether or not they need repair is a great help to ensure the building isn’t at risk and to reduce repair fees. The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) has a great handbook that identifies problems and what needs to be done, if anything, to rectify them.
One thing that may be observed is deflection in any of the wall’s structural members such as beams, headers, and so on. Performance guidelines state that these structural members must be sized properly, typically in accordance to manufacturer's guidelines and building codes. If deflection is detected within any of the structural materials, steps must be taken via reinforcing, repairing, etc, so that these components meet performance guidelines. Walls bowing and/or being out of plumb are other issues as mentioned previously when talking about basement walls. Walls being slightly out of plumb or having minimal bowing is to be expected and acceptable as long as they are within acceptable parameters. Again, a wall should not be out of plumb more than ⅜ inch in any 32 inches of vertical measurement, and a wall should not bow more than ½ inch out of line within any 32 inch horizontal measurement.
Aside from structural integrity, walls can also have problems related to moisture. Doors and windows are components of walls and typically are the main target of water damage. There can be cases where bulk water is penetrating around a window or door. Performance guidelines state that windows and doors should be flashed in accordance to building codes and manufacturer guidelines to prevent this. Being sure to purchase the correct windows and doors in relation to wind rating specifications also helps, as doors and windows are usually rated to accommodate for heavy rain events such as storms. Consumers can also be proactive and ensure weep holes are clean of debris so they can divert rainwater away from the windows.
Lastly, walls can have problems with their insulation. Sometimes the insulation of a wall can end up insufficient by it not having certain R-values. R-values refer to the walls resistance to heat flow, and the higher the value, the better the insulation. R-values are designated by building codes and/or the contract documents. So if insulation is insufficient, the walls will need to be repaired so they have the correct R-value. Additionally, there can be issues with insulation sagging, with foam or cellulose appearing to sag or shrink away from the wall cavity. If this is noticed, the shrinkage and sagging should not be more than ½ inch at the top and ⅛ inch on sides according to performance guidelines. In this situation the insulation will need to be fixed. There are some instances where space in the cavity is created by the shrinkage of framing members and not the insulation--this is expected to happen and doesn’t require repair as long as the shrinkage and sagging is within the aforementioned parameters.
Making sure the walls of any construction project are in good condition is crucial for the overall wellbeing of the building. Here at Fine Remodeling, we are your Delaware contractor well-versed in performance guidelines and dedicated to upholding them whenever we take on a project. Not only this, but we will go beyond to ensure your next renovation project is more than satisfactory. Get in touch with us about your next project so you can be sure it's done right the first time. Visit our contact us page and see our calendar to select a day/time for a discussion about your project.
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