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Stone claddings on buildings are often chosen by building owners and designers for their natural aesthetic effect, their historically proven weathering durability, and their inherent low maintenance costs. However, these attributes are quickly eliminated when failure of the stone cladding occurs.
Investigations by the author, of distressed granite, limestone, and marble claddings on over 20 buildings have revealed that the common causes of failures in stone claddings on these buildings include the following: 1. Failure of the stone cladding connections in 45 percent of the buildings due to: a. Inadequate structural design of the connections. b. Corrosion of embedded metals. c. Failure to accommodate anticipated construction tolerances. d. Incompatible contacting materials. 2. Reduction in the strength of the stone due to exposure to the weather in 40 percent of the buildings. 3. Water leakage into the interior of 15 percent of the buildings due to: a. The absence of a flashing and weephole system or of an internal gutter and drainage system in the stone cladding. b. Ineffective flashing and weephole system or ineffective gutter and drainage system in the stone cladding.
Based upon the knowledge gained from the investigations, these common causes of failures in stone claddings are discussed, and recommendations to avoid failures in stone claddings on buildings are presented for consideration.
failures, stone cladding, connections, corrosion, bowing, marble, granite, limestone
Vice President, Principal and Chicago Unit Manager, Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc. (WJE), Chicago, Illinois