Material Conditions Series Part 14: Previous Repairs

Each week we’re bringing you an in-depth look at one of the standard conditions we encounter and document during inspections of buildings and civil structures. 

Part 14: Previous Repairs

Previous repairs are prior attempts to remedy building material failures. We typically categorize repairs as crack repairs, patches, dutchmen, or replacements, and we distinguish between sound repairs and failed repairs. Failed repairs may be due to inappropriate repair materials or poor installation, or they may indicate ongoing problems such as water infiltration, thermal movement, etc.

Sound crack repair in a precast concrete panel

Sound crack repair in a precast concrete panel

Repairs can be made with a wide variety of materials. Repairs to masonry may include cementitious mortars and patches, epoxies, replacement of units or portions of units with in-kind materials, or replacement with composite materials such as glass fiber reinforced concrete. Metal repairs may be soldered, welded or attached mechanically. Stucco and plaster repairs are usually made in-kind, however plaster moldings and other decorative details are sometimes cast with composite materials. Repairs to wood typically include dutchmen, epoxies, or replacement of entire members with new wood or with composite materials.

Replacement repair in brick

Replacement repair in brick

Documenting both failed and sound repairs can reveal underlying causes of deterioration and chronic problem areas, and can provide information about how a structure has been maintained over time.

Failed dutchman repair in limestone

Failed dutchman repair in limestone

Sound patch repair in sheet metal

Sound patch repair in sheet metal

Next in this series: Glass Conditions

Click here to see all posts in this series.

Click here for an index of all posts in this series, or download a pdf of the complete series.

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