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Old 03-01-2012, 05:36 PM   #16
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Join Date: May 2011
Location: San Antonio
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Leak from roof or brick?

You think the walls are full of moisture? Or the next rain will cause a leak? OR both?
(Sorry for the size of the pics, no matter how I resize them they always post as gigantic.)
here are some pics after I skimmed some ready mix joint compound on there and then scraped the compound off and primed it and then scraped the primer off. The plaster is crumbling into a fine powder and two areas are stained. But are they stained by a leak or by the moisture in the joint compound?

It's been raining lately but the leak was never so obvious that I could see it. It's brick and only bubbling paint and crumbling plaster gave me any clue there was a leak. In fact, the paint never felt wet.
But this joint compound isn't drying completely after 10 days so I've decided to scrape off all the wet compound and leave it exposed. If there is no leak then it will dry out eventually and if there is a leak then those areas will show signs of moisture.
I accept that it is too soon to repair anything on that wall but there's never a dry heat in St. Louis. It's always humid.
Now I've taken it down to the plaster again and sanded it. Would mineral spirits clean the surface?

Last edited by oggy bleacher; 03-01-2012 at 06:57 PM.
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Old 03-02-2012, 06:37 AM   #17
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Somerset, England
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Leak from roof or brick?

One of the problems with damp walls is that they are colder than the dry areas and more likely to attract condensation. Also if any hygroscopic salts have contaminated the plaster they will bring even more damp from the air.
What we usually do with damp solid brick walls is to hack of the plaster and allow the brickwork to dry out. The wall is then replastered with 3/1 sand/OPC mix and added salt retarder/waterproofer.
Hyrgroscopic salts are quite common in plaster around damp chimneys. They can attract condensation at a relatively low R/H.
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Old 04-01-2012, 10:26 PM   #18
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Leak from roof or brick?

Can I say that anyone who has old plaster walls really needs to make sure their roofs don't leak because fixing the leak is only the beginning of the problems. The plaster is no longer damp but everything I do ends up with all the paint peeling off the plaster in big sheets. Including when I do nothing and the paint I never touched is sloughing off. The Joint compound definitely didn't dry even though it hasn't rained here in weeks. But the plaster itself is basically solid except it forms a thin film of crumbling powder on it every day. So whatever water damage happened is still causing problems. What I have done to prepare the surface isn't working. I've sanded it, wiped it down and put joint compound on it. In a few spots I have put latex Killz and it appears that the stainblocker has dried completely and is not bubbling.
I am at the point that after over a month waiting for the plaster to finish drying out that I'm going to scrape all the paint off that entire corner since it isn't adhering anymore to it anyway and then sand it and clean it and let it dry all summer until it can accept only Killz stainblocker. And when it can do that then I can paint it. I can see why one recommendation is to tear out the plaster and then replaster it because if you think you can fix water damaged plaster in one day then replacing the plaster is the only way that will happen.
I'm going to be patient and scrape all the paint off and wait for the plaster to stop developing that crumbly film.
Part of my desire to do this mysef is because I fully expect a painter to come in and charge me to paint the plaster and it will look good for a day and then three days later it's all going to fall off and that will begin a series of events where I try to get this fixed but I don't think it can be fixed in one visit. If I want to paint this plaster then it has to totally dry out and that looks to be taking three months.
furthermore, there's no need for joint compound since the texture is how the plaster turned out. The only cracks have been patched and for some reason they didn't bubble up and the paint didn't peel and the joint compoud all dried up like rock. But everywhere else is a train wreck. I say this to chronicle my trials and maybe help someone in the future.

Here you can see a few white spots of Killz that have dried well. But all the old paint is falling off.

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Old 04-10-2012, 08:15 PM   #19
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Va Beach, VA
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Leak from roof or brick?

That roofline needs to be torn up completely. ALL exterior damage (IE roof paper, sheeting) should be replace. Next, the entire rooflline needs to be flashed, shingled and then tarred. Thats your fix dont let anyone else tell you other wise. Dont put a bandaid on a knife wound. I would estimate this at about 4-700 dollar repair with material (done right first time)

Last edited by beenthere; 04-12-2012 at 06:35 PM. Reason: Removed link
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Old 04-26-2012, 02:13 AM   #20
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Leak from roof or brick?

I'm sure the roof needs work and I'm thankful for the advice when that time comes. The walls haven't leaked yet but we'll see next winter if it's still waterproof. As for fixing and painting the plaster walls it was a difficult process because the plaster wouldn't accept primer or paint for three months. Finally, I scraped off every bit of old paint and dug into the plaster. I didn't use a wire brush but I think that would've been a good tool to remove all the damaged plaster. That's all I can recommend but I'm no expert. Remove all the paint, even paint that looks like it has bonded with the plaster. Any new primer that was put over the old paint bubbled up and stained the primer brown.

Unless you want to start over by removing all the plaster then I would say the first thing is to remove all the paint and any plaster that can be taken off. The texture on my wall is so rough that I didn't need any joint compound in the first place. I thought it might help smooth out the lip between 80 years of paint (like 10 layers of paint) and bare plaster but the joint compound never dried so the primer never stayed on the joint compound and I had to scrape it all off anyway. This was from accumulated moisture trapped in the wall so it wasn't a quick fix.

Scrape all the paint off, any plaster, let it dry out for a month or two and then prime it in spots and see if the primer dries. Then prime the whole thing and see if it dries or bubbles. Then finally paint it all. The joint compound never dried in my case but technically that's a solution for the noticable lips in the paint. I don't think fixing water damaged plaster is something that can be done in a day or two. This plaster took three months to dry and it was totally stripped bare.

Even right now, at the very bottom of the wall by the floor molding at a place where I never dug in with the scraper I can see the primer and paint bubbling up. Everything else looks good where I was painting on bare plaster but anywhere the old plaster was still crumbling away now is bubbling up and probably won't last the summer. But the majority is done because it was getting annoying having a drop cloth in the entranceway for three months.
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