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Old 08-13-2009, 12:27 PM   #1
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Moisture Behind Walls.


Hello Everyone, and thank you in advance for any help you can give me.

I live in a 3 year old, 6-unit, brick (not split-block) condo building in Chicago. Like many new construction condo buildings in the city, we have had issues with water intrusion - made evident in the form of trim/moulding splitting apart or baseboards coming away from the wall.

We had a professional inspection, and received many quotes from qualified masons. Just last week, our mason completed a 5-day job which included - spot tuckpointing of all walls, sealing of all exterior walls and roof parapet wall, replacing a portion of flashing underneath cap stones, and caulking all exterior fixtures. Our inspector agreed with the scope of the work. They seemed to have done a good job, but only time (and rain) will tell.

Now to my question. As I said, most of the water intrusion was manifest around window trim that was coming apart. However, in my master bedroom (west wall) there is a 4 foot long portion of the baseboard that dramatically peeled away from the wall. I should note that this portion is not near any windows or other exterior openings. A few months ago, in frustration, I tore off this portion of baseboard to see what was going on behind it. There was spotty black mold and dampness. I also tore off some of the drywall. Anyways, I cleaned off the mold and haven't looked at it since..

Last night, I happened to peer into the hole again, and noticed that behind the vapor barrier, the lower furring strip was pretty soaked, and the nearby insulation was also wet. I am confused because, while we did get some light rain last weekend, it was after all the masonry work had been completed. I tore away some more drywall, and opened up the vapor barrier to see if it would dry or stay wet. This morning it appeared to be drying.

My question is - could the moisture I discovered simply be from prior to our masonry work that was just "trapped" in the walls? And if so - what should I do? Seems I need to somehow open up the wall and let the moisture dry up .. I've already destroyed a chunk of the wall, so replacement work will be necessary anyway.

thanks!

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Old 08-13-2009, 12:51 PM   #2
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Moisture Behind Walls.


ooh, not sure. I don't think anyone would be able to tell old moisture from new.

My uneducated gut instinct would be to do more excavating... rip out more sheetrock and insulation until you only find dry stuff. then let the studs dry if they're damp. (inspect studs for any rot or buggies). Once they're dry, replace insulation and sheathing.... and wait for a few big rains. Check to see if anything is getting wet anymore. Then you'll know if the problem is resolved or not. Only then would I re-rock the area and paint.

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Old 08-13-2009, 01:00 PM   #3
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Thanks for your reply.. that is a good idea -- as then I'll be able to really tell whether or not new moisture is coming in. Any tips on ripping out drywall?
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Old 08-13-2009, 01:03 PM   #4
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Moisture Behind Walls.


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Thanks for your reply.. that is a good idea -- as then I'll be able to really tell whether or not new moisture is coming in. Any tips on ripping out drywall?

Haven't done it often... but I'd probably just gently smack the broken edge with a hammer, and be super cautious where pipes or wiring may be... since you already have an opening, you can pretty much tear it out without tools... just some gloves.
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Old 08-13-2009, 01:13 PM   #5
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Moisture Behind Walls.


Was a RILEM test performed after sealing the split block?

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Old 08-13-2009, 01:24 PM   #6
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Was a RILEM test performed after sealing the split block?

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When you say RILEM test do you mean the infared camera? If so - then yes, our inspector did it for our entire building. He did notice obvious areas of increased moisture - but said that it was not horrible looking - and that if we stopped the moisture coming in through the exterior walls, then the building would eventually dry out.
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Old 08-13-2009, 01:30 PM   #7
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Was a RILEM test performed after sealing the split block?

----------------------------------------------------------
I’m paid to be suspicious…

Since I see you are also in the Chicagoland area - you may know our inspector .. Will Decker.

He suggests cutting out drywall and removing the insulation.. then letting the walls dry for a few months and run a de-humidifier .. All the while checking during rains whether or not the exterior problem has been corrected. Then if no new water is coming in - and the walls are dry - having the foam insulation sprayed in, and then re-drywalled.
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Old 08-13-2009, 01:37 PM   #8
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Moisture Behind Walls.


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Originally Posted by jbennett66 View Post
Since I see you are also in the Chicagoland area - you may know our inspector .. Will Decker.

He suggests cutting out drywall and removing the insulation.. then letting the walls dry for a few months and run a de-humidifier .. All the while checking during rains whether or not the exterior problem has been corrected. Then if no new water is coming in - and the walls are dry - having the foam insulation sprayed in, and then re-drywalled.
I know Will Decker well, we refer business to each other when we can't cover it ourselves. His plan sounds reasonable to me.
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Old 08-13-2009, 01:40 PM   #9
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I know Will Decker well, we refer business to each other when we can't cover it ourselves. His plan sounds reasonable to me.
Small world! Well I am pretty sure I can get the drywall and insulation out without too many problems. Definitely no piping in that wall, and just one outlet. My only concern is that the baseboard that needs to come all the way off, is actually set so that it is behind and underneath the wood floor... Not sure how I would get that out?
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Old 08-13-2009, 02:45 PM   #10
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Moisture Behind Walls.


what would you guesstimate the outside backfill elevation is compared to the floor el which has the leaking wall ? ? ?

my guess's IF you stop the water inside you'll only force it to seek another entrance,,, water takes the path of least resistance & rushes to fill a void so try making a hole in a bathtub full of water never have been a fan of negative side work altho we did have success ! ! ! good luck ! ! !
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Old 08-13-2009, 02:48 PM   #11
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what would you guesstimate the outside backfill elevation is compared to the floor el which has the leaking wall ? ? ?

my guess's IF you stop the water inside you'll only force it to seek another entrance,,, water takes the path of least resistance & rushes to fill a void so try making a hole in a bathtub full of water never have been a fan of negative side work altho we did have success ! ! ! good luck ! ! !
Sorry - I have no clue as to what you are trying to say here.
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Old 08-13-2009, 03:24 PM   #12
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Moisture Behind Walls.


you may be trying to stop intruding water when you're below the waterline,,, water runs downhill & may be entering because the soil OUTSIDE's higher than your floor,,, if that's the case, i'd bet its very unlikely you'll have much success stopping it from the inside UNLESS you can relieve the source/pressure outside
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Old 08-13-2009, 03:34 PM   #13
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Moisture Behind Walls.


In an enclosed wall, wood and especially Fiberglass will hold moisture and not gry out because there is no air ciculation. Any wet insulation should be thown away.

The moisture could have been from an earlier time.

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Old 08-13-2009, 03:34 PM   #14
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you may be trying to stop intruding water when you're below the waterline,,, water runs downhill & may be entering because the soil OUTSIDE's higher than your floor,,, if that's the case, i'd bet its very unlikely you'll have much success stopping it from the inside UNLESS you can relieve the source/pressure outside
Oh.. well my condo is on the 3rd floor of a 4 story building.
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Old 08-13-2009, 04:27 PM   #15
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Moisture Behind Walls.


ck for wtr tracks on the 2x4 studs,,, could be a leak from the roo,,, after the mason finishish'd repointing, did he apply any silicone siloxane to the outside wall ? ? ? btw, this sounds as if its a landlord problem ! ! !

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