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Old 02-11-2009, 08:52 PM   #1
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Rusty screws in exterior walls

I am hoping to get some insight to a problem that I ran into today. Here is a little background. I have a single family ranch style house that is aproximately 6 years old (located in Illinois). About 2 - 3 years ago, I hung a couple of lamps in my son's room on an exterior wall with a southern exposure and a picture in the master bedroom with a western exposure. I am in the process of preping these rooms to get repainted (changing decor) and when I removed these screws, three of them were rather rusty. Two of the eight in the southern exposure wall were rusty and the one in the western exposure wall. This seems to tell me that this is some sort of moisture in these walls, but I am unsure as to how much. All three of these screws were set into anchors in the drywall and were not directly in the studs. I am assuming that the best thing for me to do is to open the wall near the floor in these spots to inspect the insulation and the backside of the drywall and house sheating. Anyone have any other ideas for me or anything else that I should look for? There are no visible signs of mold on any surface in our house, but I have had another issue with moisture in the house. I had to replace the front door in the house because the framing had rotted and started to fall apart. Any tips or other suggestions will be greatly appreciated. Thanks


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Old 02-11-2009, 10:00 PM   #2
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Tearing into the wall is one option, but you never know what if anything you'll find.

Something that might be worth looking into would be to have an inspection company come out and use an infared camera to "look into" your walls. The IR cameras easily identify air leaks and water infiltration, as well as poorly insulated areas. The nice thing is that they work just like a video camera and don't require you to make holes in the wall.

Your home may simply lack a moisture barrier of any kind under the siding, which would make it a lot easier for humidity from the outdoor ambient air to enter the exterior wall cavities. It could be a leak or two. It could be nothing. Perhaps those screws weren't treated with zinc or anything at all to keep them from rusting really easily.


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Old 02-12-2009, 06:44 AM   #3
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Since not all of the screws were rusted, I would lean toward the possibility that the screws weren't all finished or plated in the same manner. If you have a concern about moisture or air infiltration, then I would definately do as Termite says and have it scanned before I would demo anything.
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Old 02-12-2009, 07:15 AM   #4
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the screws also could of penetrated the vapor barrier of the insulation? BOB
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Old 02-15-2009, 01:26 PM   #5
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Thanks for the things to think about. I think that you guys hit it on the head. I guess that I saw the rusted nails and jumped to the worst. Thanks for bringing me back to earth before creating more work than needed...
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