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Old 02-02-2011, 09:49 PM   #1
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What to do with damp exterior walls


I'm in the middle of renovating my kitchen, and upon removing the plaster walls in the kitchen, I found that the exterior wall is damp. I'm assuming ice/water are getting between the wallboard and the faux stone facade on the front of the house somehow. It's been like this for a while I'm sure as there was evidence of ice damming before I bought the house 5 years ago. I'm going to do everything to prevent the ice damming from recurring short of replacing the facade, but I was wondering what I should do prior to finishing the walls with drywall. Just in case there is dampness in the future should I use greenboard for this wall, or perhaps even use Hardibacker first? Also, would it be advisable to use foam insulation (either pieces or spray in)? Any input would be appreciated.

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Last edited by cartfan; 02-02-2011 at 09:55 PM.
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Old 02-03-2011, 07:45 AM   #2
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What to do with damp exterior walls


Where is the exterior wall damp??? On the inside of the sheathing?? Not good, there could issues with sheathing rot if this has been going on for a while. Let it air out as long as practical(use warm air fans if available), and correct the ice dam issue quickly. Inspect the sheathing for problems with a knife, ice pick, etc., for soft spots. If yes, that becomes a large other problem.

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Old 02-03-2011, 08:50 PM   #3
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What to do with damp exterior walls


Bill, thanks for the reply. Yes, the sheathing is definitely damp on the inside. The sheathing is still pretty solid, not crumbly or mushy, which is good. The only fix I can do right now to minimize the ice damming is adding insulation to the attic. There's ice in the gutters right now, preventing me from making sure the drip edge is intact and well positioned, and from checking that the fascia is covered with ice shield, and that it goes back far enough. I definitely can't swing replacing the front faux stone, so my primary concern is to prevent damage to the drywall I plan to put up. Thanks again.

Rich
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Old 02-03-2011, 10:10 PM   #4
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What to do with damp exterior walls


Where are you located? You may need a vapor barrier or retarder....

Use a quality insulation, not a low density; http://www.diychatroom.com/f98/how-b...ulation-90438/

Seal the drywall to prevent house air from getting in the stud cavities; http://www.buildingscience.com/docum...wall-approach/

Gary
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Old 02-04-2011, 08:28 AM   #5
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What to do with damp exterior walls


I'd pick up a moisture meter to confirm moisture and not just cold with surface moisture which might be from lack of insulation during construction.
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Old 02-04-2011, 06:04 PM   #6
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What to do with damp exterior walls


All great bits of information. Thanks for the replies. I'll do my homework and see what I come up with.

Gary, I'm in Buffalo, NY. So, the weather here can be a bit "iffy" lol.
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Old 02-05-2011, 04:19 PM   #7
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What to do with damp exterior walls


So, I went into the attic to get some insulation up in there and noticed that the sheathing above the front entryway is crumbling and that the moisture barrier is damp on the inside, hence the deteriorating sheathing. I can also see the ice damming once I pulled the insulation away from the edge of the attic there. You can actually see frost on the wood in the corner. As well, there is no ridge vent in the roof above the entryway here (although there is no soffit here either).

After looking through the suggestions/links from you guys, I decided to use foam insulation followed by a vapor barrier. Would this be advisable to do here also? The entire entryway is lined with faux stone as well, so I can't do anything with that.

I've included pics so that you can better see what I'm up against. The white stuff on the brown paper material in the first picture is actually frost. To the very left of the paper is a chunk of ice. Ugh.

Thanks again & sorry for the awful formatting...

Rich

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Old 02-05-2011, 04:46 PM   #8
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What to do with damp exterior walls


You can't do anything until you fix these leaks. I know it's winter but closing up the walls while they are still getting wet is the wrong thing to do. That's not solving anything. If you can't fix it the right way now, you have to wait.
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Old 02-05-2011, 04:58 PM   #9
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What to do with damp exterior walls


I see crumbling sheetrock. Is that what you mean?
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Old 02-05-2011, 06:36 PM   #10
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What to do with damp exterior walls


Yes, sorry. I was referring to the sheetrock. I can wait to fix this part until spring. I'm just not sure what the fix will entail. There are no gutters on the house where the sheetrock is crumbling, so the faux stone may have cracks in it, or the awning that is there is damming up the ice, or it's a roof issue. Not sure.
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Old 02-05-2011, 08:40 PM   #11
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What to do with damp exterior walls


Quote:
Originally Posted by cartfan View Post
Yes, sorry. I was referring to the sheetrock. I can wait to fix this part until spring. I'm just not sure what the fix will entail. There are no gutters on the house where the sheetrock is crumbling, so the faux stone may have cracks in it, or the awning that is there is damming up the ice, or it's a roof issue. Not sure.
This wetness will have seeped down into the wall cavity. You'll have a few issues that come along with trapped water. You might need to open some areas to see the extent.
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Old 02-06-2011, 10:20 AM   #12
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What to do with damp exterior walls


I've opened up two walls below this area. One is the kitchen wall where I'm renovating and one is in a closet adjacent to it. Both areas have damp sheetrock. The other wall shows no evidence of dampness. I don't want to fix it half assedly, but I simply don't have the cash to strip and reface the front of the house.
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Old 02-06-2011, 10:36 AM   #13
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What to do with damp exterior walls


Quote:
Originally Posted by cartfan View Post
but I simply don't have the cash to strip and reface the front of the house.
Understood, but you still have to fix the leak and CANNOT cover up the walls before you fix the leak.
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Old 02-06-2011, 10:48 AM   #14
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What to do with damp exterior walls


Gotcha. It'll have to wait a month at least then. It'll likely take me that long to do the kitchen working on it little by little.
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Old 02-07-2011, 01:03 AM   #15
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What to do with damp exterior walls


What is the brown paper that is between the plaster/asphalt building paper? Does it have a glass fiber insulation attached?

"After looking through the suggestions/links from you guys, I decided to use foam insulation followed by a vapor barrier. Would this be advisable to do here also?"--------- Do not use a vapor barrier inside the attic. Read up on vapor barriers/ vapor retarders here, you have 3800 Heating Degree Days; http://www.energysavers.gov/your_hom.../mytopic=11810

They install next to the heated side of a living space, not in the attic at all....

Gary

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