We have been having an ongoing problem with an old exterior wall that has been parged and then painted. Somewhere in the past and addition was added and so this wall is now an interior wall. The surface has been bubbling and flaking so we are trying to track down the cause. We believe it is water seeping in from one of the following sources; the corner of the roof of the addition, which is right above this corner of the room, from the shower in the bathroom which is also more-or-less above this area, and finally, from the stack, which is just on the other side of the wall from this area.
When I opened up this part of the attached wall, I see that the stud that is attached to the old exterior wall is rotten at the top. What is not clear is if it was when this addition was finished ( judging by the age of the "real" 2 X 4 studs and the plank siding ) this could have been a mud room which was converted to a room. The house was built in 1902.
I am trying to get some insight into how to track down the source of the water ( very hard to tell where it is coming from ) and how to replace this stud as it is attached both to the old brick wall and the exterior planking ( which is covered with vinyl siding ). I have attached some pics and can supply more if needed.
To remove that I would just run a Sawzall up both attached sides of it, cutting through the nails. You'll probably 86 the blade but they are $4 at HD. That would be the most expedient way of doing it I think.
As far as where the leak is coming from, I usually subscribe to Occam's razor when diagnosing things that could have several different causes. That simply states that when confronted by various hypotheses, choose the one that is the simplest or requires the fewest assumptions. I would further qualify that by saying start with the one that requires the least work or expense to investigate. Without more pictures and a better sense of the structure it's very hard to suggest where to start.
That said, the stud looks basically OK to me but the siding appears to be water damaged at the top. To me that points to a failure of the siding or the room. Now that you have that opened up, maybe you can keep an eye on it in a heavy rain, or run the bath above it for a good long time and see if either of them produces any dampness.
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