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Re: clay tile masonry (long)

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     You might want to measure the thicknesses of the floor-ceilings because
they used to make the floors thicker with clay tiles compositely placed
under 4 or so inches of concrete and cover the bottom of the tiles with
about an inch of concrete - all to gain inertia and sound proofing.

     There is/was a book put out by the brick institute of america "Brick
and Tile Engineering" by Plummer that gives some properties to work with.

-----Original Message-----
From: HP14X73(--nospam--at) <HP14X73(--nospam--at)>
To: seaint(--nospam--at) <seaint(--nospam--at)>
Date: Monday, October 04, 1999 12:47 PM
Subject: clay tile masonry (long)

>Here in the midwest (at least in Iowa), it seems that one can drive around
>out in the country side and see a fair number of silos located on the
>farms.  In particular, there still are a number of silos that were built
>using clay tile masonry.  These are usually around 25 feet in diameter, 80
>feet or so in height, and have a shiny glazed finish on the masonry units.
>They probably worked just fine until the roofs blew off or rotted away.  It
>does seem that you hardly ever see one that is still in use, or with a roof
>still intact.  The point of this whole long winded description is that I
>thought at one time someone (a state agency or agriculture group) had
>a warning to farmers about these structures because they have a nasty
>tendency to suddenly collapse, apparently without too much external
>influence.  I presume any collapse was due to the deteriorated nature of
>masonry which was probably caused in part by water infiltration once the
>was gone.  In addition, I presume the clay tiles get punctured, or the
>glazing becomes deteriorated and really soft from cows rubbing up against
>I wonder about all this because I have just begun an investigation of a
>story building (condo) here in Iowa, that is constructed with clay tile
>masonry bearing walls.   It was designed by an intern of Louis Sullivan
>around 1908.  It has a cement based stucco finish and some really poor
>details with brick masonry around the perimeter of the building and the
>windows.  It is on the historic register, so we just can't go in and tear
>the bad and put in the good, because that will change the original
>(heaven forbid).  Or better yet, take a bulldozer to it and eliminate the
>problem altogether.   Instead, I have been hired by an architect who
>specializes in historic restoration.  This means we have to go around and
>look at all the little details, talk in great length about it, agonize over
>every little detail, and then finally just bull ahead with some half-baked
>solution, all in the name of historic preservation.
>This brings me back to the collapsing farm silos.  The clay tiles on the
>condo are really deteriorated at the first floor level underneath that
>finish.  There haven't been any cows loose in this area since around the
>of the century, so should I worry about sudden collapse of this building,
>do we forge ahead and try to deal with the original lousy design details
>were done by a high-buck architect who is now dead?  Any opinions about
>tile masonry??
>Les Kuehl, P.E.
>NNW, Inc. - Consulting Engineers
>Iowa City, Iowa