What is Tuckpointing

What is tuckpointing? We’ve all heard the term “tuckpointing“.  In Chicago, it’s the standard designation for any method of smearing cement on masonry walls.  But, almost no one knows what this word really means. Real tuckpointing is a method for striking mortar joints between bricks of different sizes and shapes to make them appear uniform.  There…


Masonry And Water Management, Part I

f one is going to divide wall systems into two basic types, they would be barrier and water managed.  Barrier systems, as the name implies, are wall assemblies that are prophylactically impervious to water entry.  Water managed walls, as you’re probably already guessing, take on some amount of moisture and through the magic of well…


Masonry And Water Management, Part II

In some areas of Europe, they make it 6″.  In Chicago, due to developers proclivity for increasing all available square footage in their projects, this space has been smashed down to an inch or less.  A 1″ cavity is not large enough for the mason to clear out excess mortar, and that excess mortar can…


The Early Years of Home Inspection

It’s sure different now than it was 30 years ago.  Back then, home inspections were brand new, standards of practice and reports were marginal to lousy, and only an approximate 15% of houses were inspected as part of the purchase procedure. Home inspections, as a standard operating procedure, were not a component of real estate sales….


Mold Testing Facts and Fallacies

Mold is not good.  It can cause substantial problems, both health and building related.  That said, let’s get to facts. There are over 100,000 mold types with probably another 100,000 that we haven’t identified yet. Mold is everywhere.  There are millions, or hundreds of millions of mold spores, on every surface on the face of the Earth….


Aluminum Wrap on Steel Lintels / Big Mistake

I see it everywhere. Otherwise nice and well maintained buildings that have had their windows replaced, and the window installer wraps the structural steel lintel with aluminum.  Ouch. When you wrap lintels in aluminum,  they remain saturated.  Lintels are supposed to drain and not sealed up with aluminum or caulk.  It dramatically accelerates the deterioration…


Things to Know About Split Face Block

Split face block works on: single story strip malls, warehouses, Big Box stores, and similarly industrial or mercantile structures. Split face block doesn’t work on: Multiple floor residential structure with wood floor platforms.  Most of them leak. Some leak a lot. I have looked at hundreds of split face block residential buildings and I’ve never…

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