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Surfactant leaching in some drywall, from leaks along wall?

6786 Views 7 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  daluu
See photos for reference. Photo with #4 in it is one wall, the other 3 are another wall at different angles and lighting condition.

I got the house couple months back and noticed this short while ago. Not sure if result of past/present leaks along wall in house. Aside from this, no issues observed with the walls (so far).

The brown wall, the leaching is high up by the ceiling. The white wall is in garage where garage meets wall of room in house. Walls don't seem wet when the rain came, but is sticky residue. Though the brown wall leaching looked more visible after heavy rain but not sure, it hasn't happened frequently enough. Up on the roof, it's hard to spot the real source of any leak in that area (brown wall) other than to tear up the roof around that area or water pressure test it. How much does it typically cost to water pressure test part of roof?

Just wanted feedback if that's surfactant leaching and if you think that may be caused by water leakage or poor insulation resulting in moisture on wall.

The walls were painted before I got the house, which was inhabited at the time (not empty) so it's been a while.
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That looks like condensation --perhaps caused by a lack of insulation----

Brown sludge could be nicotine stains---try washing those places----check for cold walls---
Also check in your attic to make sure your soffit vents are open. I guess too make sure you have soffit vents. While in the attic take a bright light and look around for any signs of a leak. Look around good on the sheathing and rafters, because where it is coming out doesn't mean that's where it's coming in. And as stated try washing it, the sticky part makes me think it could very well be something along the line of a nicotine stain. Then the moisture from the condensation or leak is making it show up.
The house has open beam ceilings. So where the brown wall is, there's no attic above, no soffit vent in the area. The white wall in garage, I think garage used to be open beam too, not sure, they sealed it up w/ flat drywall ceiling, and where the wall is, used to be a different wall w/ door to bedroom, it's now sealed as single drywall w/ unused door on the bedroom side. Also no vents for garage roof.
Just noticed this yesterday, after heavy rain the day before. Noticed same wetness pattern on exterior wall, though the wetness didn't really feel sticky.

What does this indicate? Water leak along exterior wall from roof, etc.? Or some moisture was trapped in between? This was a day after heavy rain when the rain stopped. The whole wall wasn't wet, just parts of it.


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That does look like moisture coming to the surface. - I have no idea where a surfactant (soap/wetting agent) would be there or coming from.

Dick, if that wall with the horizontal moisture pattern is block, could the cells be collecting water from above and slowly weeping inside? That is what it appears to me, from the pattern. I'd say you have a water leak on the roof above the wall. Doesn't appear to be solar-driven moisture, as it's in the shade... Is that a house overhang (cantilever) that is not insulated or covered- or just a shed roof detail O.H.? I see the roof rake overhang with just the rafter framing, no cross-supports.

thanks for the input on the exterior wall. maybe I need roof replaced sooner than I thought. hope that's not a leak or a major leak.

by the way, above the wall are gable windows, so if there was leak from roof, wouldn't the leaking show through the gable windows as streaks of water/wetness, though perhaps they have been long dried up since and are in the walls now. I did not notice any water leakage at the windows, though maybe it occurred overnight while I was sleeping.

Also those windows are old single pane, so they do get moisture condensation when it's very cold outside. Maybe that might be a factor as well.
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