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We want you to be an informed homebuyer, and each blog post is a question that we have answered for our friends and customers over the years. Hope they help you make a good choice for your next home.

How to Look

at a House


A blog with answers
to your questions about
HOME INSPECTION
and HOME MAINTENANCE

  1. 2)Windows in wood frame walls are set close to the outside face of the wall, typically within 1-inch or less, but windows in a concrete block wall are recessed about 3-inches.



  2. 3)Some houses are a combination of two different types of wall structures. It was popular in our area during the 1960s and early 70s to build a house that had three concrete block walls and a front wall framed with wood studs. This allowed to builder choose from multiple different materials for the surface of the front wall, making the front elevation of the home more interesting. Also, sometimes we see a concrete block house with a later addition built with wood stud frame and finished in stucco to match the original house. So don’t assume that all the walls are the same construction type.

  3. 4)To tell the difference between a structural brick house (where the bricks are what actually supports the roof) and wood frame house faced with brick, we suggest looking in the garage. A structural brick house will have the back of the bricks exposed there, and you will see a tie beam at the top of the wall, like in the photo below. A wood frame house with brick facing will have drywall in the garage. Also, the bricks in a structural brick house are noticeably bigger than bricks used for facing.

  4. 5)A concrete block wall will be about 10-inches thick, which is wider than any of the other types.

  5. 6)The one absolutely certain way to determine the wall structure type is to look at the top of the wall in the attic, which your home inspector will do as part of the inspection.

    Because concrete block is considered by most homebuyers in Florida to be the sturdiest type of construction, many of them assume that a stucco finish on the wall means concrete block, and it can be a disappointment on the occasions when we have to tell a homebuyer that it is not what they are getting. But the building code requirements for constructing a wood stud frame wall, with reinforcement at corners and engineered metal connectors at top and bottom, make it both strong and hurricane-resistant. Also, a wood frame wall has more room inside for insulation. Each wall construction type has its own advantages and disadvantages.


While we hope you find this series of articles about home inspection helpful, they should not be considered an alternative to an actual home inspection by a local inspector. Also, construction standards vary in different parts of the country and it is possible that important issues related to your area may not be covered here.
© McGarry and Madsen Inspection

 

Concrete Block Wall

Wood Stud Frame Wall

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