West Virginia University

West Virginia University
You Cannot Manage What You Have Not Measured.

Forensic Investigation of the Premature Failure of Exterior Envelope Historical Restoration

Stalnaker Hall • Morgantown, West Virginia

Client’s Objective:

Provide an assessment of the existing conditions.
Determine concise causes of multiple exterior system failures.
Determine the best course of action to resolve the current condition and minimize disruption to tenants.
Assist in the recovery process, to obtain fair and equitable settlement.
Services Provided:

Evaluation and Assessment
Laboratory Material Analysis
On Site Testing
Construction Document Audit
Assist in Selection of Qualified Legal Representation

Historic restoration of the Stalnaker Hall exterior, completed in 1995.


A thorough site evaluation of the roof and wall assemblies was conducted at Stalnaker Hall. The comprehensive evaluation revealed problematic conditions throughout the waterproofing envelope. Exterior brick, windows, cornice, coping cap and roofing systems were in various degrees of failure. Testing revealed evidence of moisture penetration of the walls and all roof elevations.

Test probes conducted to determine the existing composition of the seven year old synthetic slate roofing system revealed basic design and construction errors, resulting in detachment of the slate panels due to movement from wind and freeze-thaw. Low slope assemblies were noted to be moisture-laden, and the Hypalon® membrane appeared to be deteriorated. Review of construction documents revealed that the moisture entrained in the insulation layers was likely present since shortly after installation.

Microscopic evaluation of retained samples revealed premature deterioration of both the synthetic slate and the single ply membrane. Oven dry testing of the insulation below the low slope assemblies revealed moisture content well in excess of the maximum allowable standard set forth by industry standard, manufacturer requirements, and good roofing practice. Microscopic evaluation of the aforementioned insulation also revealed bio-growth within the insulation.

Wall and window findings included moisture infiltration resulting from improper construction practices, as they pertain to tuck pointing, flashing installation/maintenance and sealant installation.

A construction document audit revealed concise responsibility for each of these and other issues. Findings were submitted to the University with recommendations in anticipation of remedial design work.

Detached synthetic slate panels due to design error.

Visible moisture draining from Hypalon® membrane.

Improperly prepared mortar joints resulted in mortar loss.