Seismic and Insulation Retrofits of Solid Masonry Walls

    Scope Images
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    Many older brick homes are made with unreinforced solid masonry walls that are susceptible to collapse in an earthquake
    Scope

    Retrofit existing older solid masonry homes to withstand seismic activity and include energy retrofits where those retrofits are complimentary with the seismic upgrades.

    • Install wall-to-roof diaphragm anchors
    • Install wall-to-floor diaphragm anchors
    • Install building bracing
    • Strengthen diaphragms.
    • Install control layers to improve energy efficiency, including a rain control layer, an air control layer, a vapor control layer, and a thermal control layer.

    See the Compliance Tab for related codes and standards requirements, and criteria to meet national programs such as DOE’s Zero Energy Ready Home programENERGY STAR Single-Family New Homes, and Indoor airPLUS.

    Description

    Earthquakes are a major threat to the structural integrity of homes. Existing older brick homes made of unreinforced “solid” masonry walls are particularly vulnerable. These masonry walls might be two or three wythes thick, including an exterior wythe of brick and one or two interior wythes of brick, concrete, or cinder block, mortared and tied together every six courses with metal ties or header bricks. In older homes, if metal ties were used, they were not made of hot-dip or stainless steel so in many cases the ties have rusted away. The walls have no other structural reinforcement, thus making masonry walls especially susceptible to failure in an earthquake.

    Many older brick homes also lack insulation, air sealing, and water and vapor control layers. These can be added during a seismic upgrade when they don’t interfere with the seismic reinforcements. In addition to the seismic upgrades discussed below, several options for energy-efficient masonry wall retrofit upgrades are provided at the end of this guide.

    Seismic Retrofits of Masonry Walls

    Most of the damage to buildings during an earthquake is caused by lateral movement and uplift forces. The basis of all earthquake resistance is to control and transfer the lateral loads (“shear”) caused by ground movement to the foundations and the ground, as well as to address uplift forces.

    Figure 1 illustrates a typical older unreinforced masonry home with wood floors and a wood roof. There are several steps that can be taken to improve the ability of such homes to resist seismic activity. Some options are described below.

    A typical older masonry home with unreinforced brick walls, wood floors, and a wood roof
    Figure 1. A typical older masonry home with unreinforced brick walls, wood floors, and a wood roof (Source: Building Science Corporation).

     

    Figure 2 illustrates several steps that can be taken to increase a masonry-walled home’s resistance to seismic forces, including adding blocking between the rafters and installing plate connectors to anchor the rafters to the top of the walls; installing bolt anchors installed with metal plates on the exterior and additional blocking if needed on the interior to connect the brick walls to the floor joists; strengthening diaphragms by adding structural sheathing to the ceiling and subfloor and a basement or crawlspace slab, and adding a concrete pilaster for foundation wall bracing. These retrofit options are all further described below.

    To increase a masonry-walled home’s resistance to seismic forces, solid wood blocking is added between the roof rafters, anchors are added to connect the brick wall to the rafters and floor joists, building diaphragms are added if lacking, and the foundation wall is braced
    Figure 2. To increase a masonry-walled home’s resistance to seismic forces, solid wood blocking is added between the roof rafters, anchors are added to connect the brick wall to the rafters and floor joists, building diaphragms are added if lacking, and the foundation wall is braced (Source: Building Science Corporation).

     

    Wall-to-Roof Diaphragm Connection

    Figure 2 illustrates one retrofit option for strengthening the wall-to-roof connection. Solid wood blocking is added between the roof rafters to prevent the rafters from “racking” or rolling sideways. The roof sheathing should be nailed into the solid wood blocking. In this manner, the blocking also provides a structural connection between the roof sheathing and the top of the wall. The rafters are anchored to the top of the masonry wall with a metal plate connector. A ceiling diaphragm should be added by installing a continuous layer of structural wood sheathing (plywood or oriented strand board “OSB”) on the underside of the rafters.

    Note that if this option is used, the solid wood added between the roof rafters may block off the soffit vents. If this occurs, either the attic must be converted to an unvented roof assembly, or alternatively, in homes with gable roofs, inlet vents can be installed low on the gable-end walls.

    Wall-to-Floor Diaphragm Connection

    Figure 2 also illustrates the addition of solid wood blocking between the embedded wood floor joists. Figure 3 is a top-down (plan) view of the masonry wall showing how these wood blocks are attached to the floor joists with steel angles. The wood blocks are, in turn, anchored to the masonry wall with through-wall anchors and steel plates. The existing floor diaphragm or subfloor, which will sit on these floor joists and blocking, should be strengthened by adding a continuous layer of structural wood sheathing (plywood or oriented strand board “OSB”) if a solid subfloor is lacking.

    Plan view showing seismic strengthening of brick wall by anchoring the embedded wood floor joists with solid wood blocks attached to the floor joists with steel angles and to the masonry wall with through-wall anchors and steel plates
    Figure 3. Plan view showing seismic strengthening of brick wall by anchoring the embedded wood floor joists with solid wood blocks attached to the floor joists with steel angles and to the masonry wall with through-wall anchors and steel plates (Source: Building Science Corporation).

     

    Foundation Bracing

    Figure 2 also illustrates the addition of concrete pilasters to reduce the likelihood of foundation wall collapse during seismic events. A concrete slab is also added to provide a foundation diaphragm.

    Additional building bracing can be added to the field of the unreinforced masonry-bearing walls. Traditional approaches have involved repointing, adding grout, and epoxy injection. More recently, additional building bracing has been achieved by installing a fully adhered reinforcing overlay such as a fiberglass-reinforced laminate, ferrocement (high-strength cement mortar reinforced with layers of fine steel wires), or shotcrete.

    Energy Retrofits of Masonry Walls

    An energy retrofit can occur at the same time as the seismic retrofit if the project budget and scope allow. The energy retrofit control layers can be added to either the exterior or interior of the masonry walls. Where they occur on the interior side of the solid masonry walls, rain control still must occur on the exterior of the masonry structure.

    Exterior retrofits of masonry walls tend to be more energy efficient than interior retrofits. When done from the outside, interior space is not compromised. However, the exterior brick will be covered so community historic preservation requirements or a desire to maintain the “historic look” of the home may constrain the project to only those retrofits that can be done from the interior.

    Exterior Energy Retrofits to Existing Masonry Walls

    There are several methods for retrofitting solid masonry walls from the exterior. The method described here begins with coating the exterior of the masonry wall with a fluid-applied water and air control layer or “barrier.” Wood furring (2x4s “on the flat”) are installed over this directly to the masonry. Then the entire assembly is insulated by installing one layer of rigid insulation between the furring strips and one or more layers over the furring strips and the first layer of foam. If more than one layer is used (for greater R-value), stagger the seams of the boards and tape the seams in each layer, as shown in Figure 4. Over the rigid insulation, 1x4 furring strips are installed for cladding attachment. These 1x4s are connected to the 2x4 furring with long screws, as shown in Figure 4. Alternatively, metal hat channel can be used as the solid cladding attachment as shown in Figure 5. The insulation can be extruded polystyrene (XPS) as shown in Figure 4 or mineral wool boards as shown in Figure 5, or another rigid board insulation such as expanded polystyrene (EPS), polyisocyanurate, or cork.  

    Photograph 1 shows the original brick home before an exterior wall retrofit. Photograph 2 shows the home with the fluid-applied barrier, furring strips, and the first layer of rigid foam installed. Photograph 3 shows two layers of XPS foam and the additional 1x4 furring strips for attaching the cladding. Photograph 4 shows the completed exterior with the new cladding installed, which could be fiber cement, wood, vinyl lap siding, or another option.

    With this extensive energy retrofit, the windows will likely be removed and replaced or repositioned after the foam is installed. To install the new windows, the window openings need to be lined with a plywood or OSB extension box that protrudes out past the outward face of the existing masonry to line up flush with the outermost layer of the rigid insulation (Photograph 5). A flanged window unit can be installed with straps that fasten to the interior surfaces of the plywood extension box (Figure 6 and Figure 7). Note that the exterior furring straps adjacent to the window openings are not installed until after the flanged window is mounted and flashed.

    Plan view of exterior masonry brick wall retrofitted with furring strips, three layers of rigid foam insulation staggered and taped at the seams, and 1x4 furring strips to provide a nailing surface and ventilation gap under lap siding
    Figure 4. Plan view of exterior masonry brick wall retrofitted with furring strips, three layers of rigid foam insulation staggered and taped at the seams, and 1x4 furring strips to provide a nailing surface and ventilation gap under lap siding (Source: Building Science Corporation).
    Plan view of exterior masonry brick wall retrofitted with furring strips, three layers of rigid mineral wool insulation staggered and taped at the seams, and topped with metal hat channel that provides a ventilation gap and nailing surface under the lap siding
    Figure 5. Plan view of exterior masonry brick wall retrofitted with furring strips, three layers of rigid mineral wool insulation staggered and taped at the seams, and topped with metal hat channel that provides a ventilation gap and nailing surface under the lap siding (Source: Building Science Corporation).
    Many older brick homes are made with uninsulated, unreinforced masonry and are susceptible to collapse in an earthquake
    Photograph 1. Many older brick homes are made with uninsulated, unreinforced masonry and are susceptible to collapse in an earthquake (Source: Building Science Corporation).
    In this exterior wall retrofit of a masonry brick home, first the brick was covered with a fluid-applied water and air control layer (white), then 2x4 furring strips and two layers of rigid foam insulation (pink), then 1x4 furring strips to attach the cladding to
    Photograph 2. In this exterior wall retrofit of a masonry brick home, first, the brick was covered with a fluid-applied water and air control layer (white), then 2x4 furring strips and two layers of rigid foam insulation (pink), then 1x4 furring strips to attach the cladding to (Source: Building Science Corporation).
    This close-up of an exterior wall retrofit of a masonry brick home shows the fluid-applied water and air control layer (white), 2x4 furring strips and two layers of rigid foam insulation (pink), then 1x4 furring (attached to 2x4s with long screws) which provides a ventilation gap and secure attachment for lap siding
    Photograph 3. This close-up of an exterior wall retrofit of a masonry brick home shows the fluid-applied water and air control layer (white), 2x4 furring strips and two layers of rigid foam insulation (pink), then 1x4 furring (attached to 2x4s with long screws) which provides a ventilation gap and secure attachment for lap siding (Source: Building Science Corporation).
    Completed wall retrofit of masonry home (on right) showing new lap siding attached over four inches of rigid foam; windows were boxed with plywood to accommodate depth of foam plus 1x4 furring strips
    Photograph 4. Completed wall retrofit of masonry home (on right) showing new lap siding attached over four inches of rigid foam; windows were boxed with plywood to accommodate depth of foam plus 1x4 furring strips (Source: Building Science Corporation).
    Extension boxes of plywood built around the windows on this wall retrofit will be flush with the outer layer of exterior rigid insulation
    Photograph 5. Extension boxes of plywood built around the windows on this wall retrofit will be flush with the outer layer of exterior rigid insulation (Source: Building Science Corporation).
    Side and plan views of window-to-wall interface in masonry wall retrofit including three layers of rigid foam exterior insulation, box extensions, and flashing around new windows.
    Figure 6. Side and plan views of window-to-wall interface in masonry wall retrofit including three layers of rigid foam exterior insulation, box extensions, and flashing around new windows (Source: Building Science Corporation). 
    A flanged window unit is installed with straps that fasten to the interior surfaces of the plywood extension box; furring strips on each side of the window will be attached after the flanged window is installed and flashed
    Figure 7. A flanged window unit is installed with straps that fasten to the interior surfaces of the plywood extension box; furring strips on each side of the window will be attached after the flanged window is installed and flashed (Source: Building Science Corporation).

     

    Interior Energy Retrofits to Existing Masonry Walls

    Masonry walls can be insulated on the interior as a retrofit measure. However, there is a condensation risk at the masonry-to-insulation interface when insulated on the interior. Moisture-laden air that bypasses imperfectly installed interior air control layers (“air barriers”) could condense when it hits the colder brick wall, resulting in moisture problems in the wall assembly. To avoid this problem, excellent airtightness on the interior is essential. Options for installing an air barrier on a mass masonry wall include the application of a liquid-applied air barrier or a membrane and sheet good air barrier on the interior side, or the use of an insulation material that creates an air barrier.

    Seven possible approaches for retrofitting a multi-wythe brick or concrete block or clay mass masonry wall by installing insulation on the interior are described below. All of these options use a liquid-applied air barrier to keep interior water vapor from contacting the brick.

    Interior Approach One – Parge Coat, Spray Foam, Service Cavity (Figure 8)

    • Cementitious parge coat (“rendering”) on the interior of a mass wall assembly (multi-wythe brick or block or clay tile)
    • Fluid-applied water control layer (vapor semi-permeable) on the cementitious rendering
    • Spray-applied polyurethane foam (2 lb/ft3 density)
    • Interior framing (wood studs or metal studs) creating service cavity
    • Interior lining (gypsum wall board and interior finish).

    This approach works in all climates with the following limitation – in zones where freeze-thaw damage is a risk, exterior rainwater control (“rain shedding”) must also be employed.

    Masonry wall interior retrofit with parge coat, fluid-applied water control layer, spray foam, and wood or metal stud service cavity
    Figure 8. Masonry wall interior retrofit with parge coat, fluid-applied water control layer, spray foam, and wood or metal stud service cavity (Source: Building Science Corporation).

     

    Interior Approach Two – Spray Foam, Service Cavity (Figure 9)

    •  Fluid-applied water control layer (vapor semi-permeable) on the interior of the mass wall assembly (multi-wythe brick or block or clay tile)
    • Spray-applied polyurethane foam (2 lb/ft3 density)
    • Interior framing (wood studs or metal studs) creating service cavity
    • Interior lining (gypsum wall board and interior finish).

    The only alteration from Wall Approach One is the removal of the cementitious parge coat. The use of the parge coat is dependent on the “smoothness” of the interior mass wall surface. Parge can be added to rough interior textures to enable the fluid-applied water control layer to effectively coat the wall surface. This approach works in all climates with the following limitation – in zones where freeze-thaw damage is a risk, exterior rainwater control (“rain shedding”) must be also employed.

    Masonry wall interior retrofit with fluid-applied water control layer, spray foam, and wood or metal stud service cavity
    Figure 9. Masonry wall interior retrofit with fluid-applied water control layer, spray foam, and wood or metal stud service cavity (Source: Building Science Corporation).

     

    Interior Approach Three – Parge Coat, Mineral Wool Board Insulation, Service Cavity (Figure 10).

    • Cementitious parge coat (“rendering”) on the interior of a mass wall assembly (multi-wythe brick or block or clay tile)
    • Fluid-applied water control layer (vapor semi-permeable ) on the cementitious rendering
    • Rigid mineral wool board sheathing
    • Interior framing (wood studs or metal studs) creating service cavity
    • Interior lining (gypsum wall board and interior finish).

    The alteration from Wall Approach One is the use of rigid mineral wool board sheathing in place of spray polyurethane foam. This approach works in climate zones 4 or lower.

    Masonry wall interior retrofit with parge coat, fluid-applied water control layer, mineral wool rigid foam, and wood or metal stud service cavity (climate zones 1-4 only)
    Figure 10. Masonry wall interior retrofit with parge coat, fluid-applied water control layer, mineral wool rigid foam, and wood or metal stud service cavity (climate zones 1-4 only) (Source: Building Science Corporation).

     

    Interior Approach Four - Mineral Wool Board Insulation, Service Cavity (Figure 11)

    • Fluid-applied water control layer (vapor semi-permeable ) on the interior of a mass wall assembly (multi-wythe brick or block or clay tile)
    • Rigid mineral wool board sheathing
    • Interior framing (wood studs or metal studs) creating service cavity
    • Interior lining (gypsum wall board and interior finish).

    The alteration from Approach One is the removal of the cementitious parge coat and the use of rigid mineral wool board sheathing in place of spray polyurethane foam. This approach works in climate zones 4 or lower.

    Masonry wall interior retrofit with fluid-applied water control layer, mineral wool rigid foam, and wood or metal stud service cavity (climate zones 1-4 only)
    Figure 11. Masonry wall interior retrofit with fluid-applied water control layer, mineral wool rigid foam, and wood or metal stud service cavity (climate zones 1-4 only) (Source: Building Science Corporation).

     

    Interior Approach Five – Framed Wall with Cavity Insulation (Figure 12)

    • Fluid-applied water control layer (vapor semi-permeable) on the interior of a mass wall assembly (multi-wythe brick or block or clay tile)
    • Interior framing (wood frame wall – 2x4 or thicker)
    • Cellulose, fiberglass, rockwool or mineral wool insulation cavity insulation
    • Interior lining (gypsum wall board and interior finish).

    The alteration from Wall Approach One is the removal of the cementitious parge coat, the use of cellulose or fiberglass cavity insulation in place of spray polyurethane foam, and the use of an interior wood frame wall. This approach works in climate zones 4 or lower.

    Masonry wall interior retrofit with fluid-applied water control layer and wood-framed wall with cavity insulation (climate zones 1-4 only)
    Figure 12. Masonry wall interior retrofit with fluid-applied water control layer and wood-framed wall with cavity insulation (climate zones 1-4 only) (Source: Building Science Corporation).

     

    Interior Approach Six – Parge Coat, Framed Wall with Cavity Insulation, Smart Vapor Barrier, Strapped-Wall Service Cavity (Figure 13)

    • Cementitious parge coat (“rendering”) on the interior of a mass wall assembly (multi-wythe brick or block or clay tile)
    • Fluid-applied water control layer (vapor semi-permeable) on the cementitious rendering
    • Wood-framed wall (2x4 or 2x6) insulated with cellulose, fiberglass, rockwool, or mineral wool cavity insulation
    • Membrane “smart vapor barrier” installed on the interior of the frame wall
    • Second layer of interior framing (“strapped wall”) creating service cavity
    • Interior lining (gypsum wall board and interior finish).

    This approach works in all climates with the following limitation – in zones where freeze-thaw damage is a risk, exterior rain water control (“rain shedding”) must be also employed.

    Masonry wall interior retrofit with parge coat, fluid-applied water control layer, wood-framed wall with cavity insulation, smart vapor barrier, and wood or metal service cavity
    Figure 13. Masonry wall interior retrofit with parge coat, fluid-applied water control layer, wood-framed wall with cavity insulation, smart vapor barrier, and wood or metal service cavity (Source: Building Science Corporation).

     

    Interior Approach Seven – Mineral Wool Board Insulation, Framed Wall with Cavity Insulation, Smart Vapor Barrier, Strapped-Wall Service Cavity (Figure 14)

    • Fluid-applied water control layer (vapor semi-permeable) on the interior of a mass wall assembly (multi-wythe brick or block or clay tile)
    • Rigid mineral wool board sheathing
    • Wood frame wall (2x4 or 2x6) insulated with cellulose, fiberglass, rockwool or mineral wool cavity insulation
    • Membrane “smart vapor barrier” installed on the interior of the frame wall
    • Second layer of interior framing (“strapped wall”) creating service cavity
    • Interior lining (gypsum wall board and interior finish).

    This approach works in all climate zones.

    Masonry wall interior retrofit with parge coat, fluid-applied water control layer, rigid mineral wool, wood-framed wall with cavity insulation, smart vapor barrier, and wood or metal service cavity
    Figure 14. Masonry wall interior retrofit with parge coat, fluid-applied water control layer, rigid mineral wool, wood-framed wall with cavity insulation, smart vapor barrier, and wood or metal service cavity (Source: Building Science Corporation).

     

    Ensuring Success

    Consult a licensed architect or engineer to develop a detailed approach to retrofitting existing older masonry homes to withstand seismic activity. The seismic retrofit can occur in conjunction with energy retrofits where the retrofit approaches are complementary rather than incompatible.

    Climate

    Earthquake Areas

    The approaches to seismic control work in all climates. However, check local building codes for specific requirements as seismic risk and requirements vary based on location, see map below. Insulation requirements for thermal efficiency are climate dependent; see the Compliance tab and consult local code for requirements. The approaches for energy retrofits are climate-zone dependent, see the descriptions of each retrofit option for climate guidance.

    The International Residential Code (IRC) takes a building’s seismic risk into account based on location. The IRC contours the United States into seismic design categories, from low risk to high risk as shown in Figure 1, which designates the categories by letter: A, B, C, D0, D1, D2, and E, with A designating the lowest risk and E designating areas with the highest risk. The IRC has design guidelines for categories A through D2 as well as scenarios for when a building in design category E can be reassigned to category D2. If a building located in design category E cannot be reassigned to category D2 then it must be designed using the International Building Code (IBC), not the IRC.

    Seismic map of the 2018 International Residential Code adapted by FEMA to show Seismic Design Categories in color
    Figure 1. Seismic map of the 2018 International Residential Code adapted by FEMA to show Seismic Design Categories in color (Source: FEMA 2020). 

     

    Right and Wrong Images
    Image
    Failure of a freestanding concrete masonry end wall due to discontinuous tie-beam when exposed to hurricane force winds.
    Failure of a freestanding concrete masonry end wall due to discontinuous tie-beam when exposed to hurricane force winds.
    Image
    Rebar type and placement to reinforce masonry walls.
    Rebar type and placement to reinforce masonry walls.
    Image
    CMU construction can be reinforced with vertical rebar and horizontal steel reinforcement (left) or unreinforced (right), depending on structural requirements
    CMU construction can be reinforced with vertical rebar and horizontal steel reinforcement (left) or unreinforced (right), depending on structural requirements
    Image
    Right – The ties are bent at a 90 degree angle at the nail head and embedded into the mortar joint at least 1.5 inches.
    Right – The ties are bent at a 90 degree angle at the nail head and embedded into the mortar joint at least 1.5 inches.
    Image
    Wrong – Misalignment of the tie reduces the embedment and enables the brick veneer to be pulled away.
    Wrong – Misalignment of the tie reduces the embedment and enables the brick veneer to be pulled away.
    Image
    The walls of this unreinforced masonry house crumbled in an earthquake.
    The walls of this unreinforced masonry house crumbled in an earthquake.
    Image
    Example of masonry construction. Wall separated from building envelope due to inadequate vertical wall reinforcing in connection to horizontal tie-beam.
    Example of masonry construction. Wall separated from building envelope due to inadequate vertical wall reinforcing in connection to horizontal tie-beam.
    Image
    Wrong – These four ties were never embedded into the mortar joint, allowing the brick wall to be pulled away from the sheathing.
    Wrong – These four ties were never embedded into the mortar joint, allowing the brick wall to be pulled away from the sheathing.
    Image
    Improperly located masonry-wall-to-wood-frame straps.
    Improperly located masonry-wall-to-wood-frame straps.
    Image
    Right - Furring strips create an air gap to allow penetrating moisture to drain instead of wicking into walls; they also provide a nailing surface for siding.
    Right - Furring strips create an air gap to allow penetrating moisture to drain instead of wicking into walls; they also provide a nailing surface for siding.
    Videos

    Compliance

    The Compliance tab contains both program and code information. Code language is excerpted and summarized below. For exact code language, refer to the applicable code, which may require purchase from the publisher. While we continually update our database, links may have changed since posting. Please contact our webmaster if you find broken links.

     

    ENERGY STAR Single-Family New Homes, Version 3/3.1 (Rev. 11)

    ENERGY STAR Single-Family New Homes requires that ceiling, wall, floor, and slab insulation levels meet or exceed those specified in the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) (2009 IECC for Version 3.0 and 2012 IECC for Version 3.1), with some alternatives and exceptions, and achieve Grade 1 installation per RESNET Standards. Builders must also meet or exceed the locally mandated requirements. Visit the U.S. DOE Building Energy Codes Program to see what code has been adopted in each state.

    Please see the ENERGY STAR Single-Family New Homes Implementation Timeline for the program version and revision currently applicable in your state.

     

    DOE Zero Energy Ready Home (Revision 07)

    Exhibit 1 Mandatory Requirements.
    Exhibit 1, Item 1) Certified under the ENERGY STAR Qualified Homes Program or the ENERGY STAR Multifamily New Construction Program.
    Exhibit 1, Item 2) Ceiling, wall, floor, and slab insulation shall meet or exceed 2015 IECC levels and achieve Grade 1 installation, per RESNET standards.

     

    2009-2021 IECC and IRC Insulation Requirements Table

    The minimum insulation requirements for ceilings, walls, floors, and foundations in new homes, as listed in the 2009, 2012, 2015, 2018, and 2021 IECC and IRC, can be found in this table

     

    2009201220152018, and 2021 International Residential Code (IRC)

    Section R301.2.1 Wind Design Criteria. Buildings shall be constructed in accordance with the wind provisions of this code using the ultimate design wind speed in Table R301.2(1) as determined from Figure R301.2(5)A. Where not otherwise specified, the wind loads listed in Table R301.2(2) adjusted f height and exposure using Table R301.2(3) shall be used to determine design load performance requirements.

    Section 301.2.2 Seismic Provisions. Discusses determination of seismic design categories based on building location. See the seismic map on the Climate tab.

    Section 606 General Masonry Construction. Describes construction of homes from brick, concrete, clay, shale, and stone. Section R606.11 provides anchorage requirements. Section R606.12 provides seismic requirements. Section R606.13 describes multiple-wythe masonry.

    Retrofit:  2009, 2012, 2015, 2018,  and 2021 IRC

    Section R102.7.1 Additions, alterations, or repairs. Additions, alterations, renovations, or repairs shall conform to the provisions of this code, without requiring the unaltered portions of the existing building to comply with the requirements of this code, unless otherwise stated. (See code for additional requirements and exceptions.)

    Appendix J regulates the repair, renovation, alteration, and reconstruction of existing buildings and is intended to encourage their continued safe use.

    More Info.

    Access to some references may require purchase from the publisher. While we continually update our database, links may have changed since posting. Please contact our webmaster if you find broken links.

    References and Resources*
    Author(s)
    Lstiburek
    Organization(s)
    Building Science Corporation,
    BSC
    Publication Date
    Description
    Report covering interior energy retrofits of masonry buildings.
    Author(s)
    Lstiburek
    Organization(s)
    Building Science Corporation,
    BSC
    Publication Date
    Description
    Report covering exterior energy retrofits of masonry buildings.
    Author(s)
    Federal Emergency Management Agency
    Organization(s)
    FEMA
    Publication Date
    Description
    Fact sheet describing recommended practices for installing brick veneer that will enhance wind resistance in high wind regions and examples of proper installations and brick veneer tie spacings; also published in FEMA P-499 “Home Builder’s Guide to Coastal Construction: Technical Fact Sheet Series.”...
    *For non-dated media, such as websites, the date listed is the date accessed.
    Contributors to this Guide

    The following authors and organizations contributed to the content in this Guide.

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