Water leaking at basement rim joists into house - how to find problem?

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Old 09-09-13, 09:52 PM
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Water leaking at basement rim joists into house - how to find problem?

Hi all,

I moved into my house (built in 2005) in January of this year.... After a long rain yesterday, I noticed water droplets in the floor of my basement. Looking at the rim joists, I could see some wetness. I just had my rim joists spray foamed days ago, so I haven't yet seen the extent of the water on the joists.

Question is, what should I be looking for? I've got brick siding all the way to the roof on the front side of the house. And there are water droplets along most of the front of the house, leading me to believe its not from 1 specific spot. Other sides look fine..

Should I be worried about water running behind the brick? I know the builder installed little spouts throughout for exactly that.. I do know we've got lots of clay in the ground, so I wouldn't be surprised if it were pooling..

I can provide more info and pictures if it'll help.. Any guidance would be helpful. Thanks,

Tom
 
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Old 09-10-13, 05:49 AM
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Pictures would be a big help.
Not sure what you mean by "spouts" more often there's just weep holes. (a spot where there's no mortar.)
Was the foundation waterproofed below grade on the outside before back filling?
 
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Old 09-10-13, 06:30 AM
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Type of siding, rim joist construction or sealing shouldn't matter. The issue is water against the wall. Slope your soil for water run-off, install or maintain the gutters & install downspout extensions to get the water away from the house. This is the cheapest/easiest/most effective way to eliminate basement leaking problems.

I dug a shallow trench at each downspout (removed the elbows) and buried 4" pvc for about 15 feet leading to pop-up emitters in the yard. Set flush in the lawn they're nearly invisible & I can drive right over them with the mower.
 
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Old 09-10-13, 10:37 AM
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@joecaption1: Sorry, spouts was the wrong term. I should have said weep holes. There is something that looks like a straw sticking out of the mortar, meant to drain any water that gets behind the brick.

@guy48065: Thanks for the input. I already have at each downspout pvc piping leading away from the house. I should confirm they aren't clogged, but I don't believe they are - at least when I last looked.

I do plan on sloping the soil for water run-off. Since this only happens on the front wall of my house, which is all mulch, I was thinking of digging a 1-2 foot deep trench and filling it in with gravel. Is that worth it? Should it solve the problem?

Thanks! And I'll send pictures later today, as I am at work now..
 
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Old 09-16-13, 12:06 PM
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More information.

Ok, so I have some more information - with pictures..

I had a roofer guy come by to take a look just in case water was getting behind the brick near the top of the house. He doesn't believe this is a roofing issue. However, here is what he and I did find:

The picture below shows where the leak is coming in... You can see the oil stains (that's not water, but oil from the foam). I've drawn a line where approximately the ground starts. The roofer is the one who noticed this. So, there must be water behind the brick!

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Here is a closeup of that leak:

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And here is a look at all the leaks.. I have quite a few across the front of the house, all circled in red.. The top left one is the one I have shown in the previous picture (it's been cutoff)

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Here is a picture of the outside. I do plan on improving the sloping, that may make the problem go away. However, given the previous picture, if it is sloping that is the issue, the water must be climbing up behind the brick a bit! I do have clay soil that doesn't let the water through easily though?

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Any ideas what the problem might be? Roofer doesn't think it's the roof, and we couldn't find any problems in the brick (there were a couple small holes, but I'd be surprised if lots of water could get through them.

I did check the gutters and they are ok (I also have a pipe from the gutter to 15-20 feet away from the house and it is fine as well).

Any help on ideas would be greatly appreciated.. Thanks!
 
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Old 09-16-13, 12:42 PM
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The first thing I could suggest is water getting behind the primary moisture barrier

It could be associated with a roofing/flashing problem or poor window installation ( a very, very common problem) for most homes. Around and above a window, water can get behind the primary moisture control layer/Tyvek and run behind it along the wall surface. Water can run down (the normal route), laterally long distances in any direction and even upward (pressure or absorption) and it does not always show up immediately, but can take time to show up.

Foam can do a good job at stopping leaks, but not perfect and the weakest points allow some water inside to accumulate and it shows up in strange places.

Brick veneer with proper weeps is very good for water control, but projecting courses for architectural details (such as the course on your wall) can interfere with the normal moisture control unless built properly.

If the problem is severe, a good moisture control expert can usually pick up the source of the leakage with a very few long 1/8" probes inside with a quality moisture meter (pricey!!! unit) to pinpoint where the water is coming from. The fact that fiberglass never really dries out makes it easier to map a wall.

If it is just a ugly inside basement wall, you can live with it unless the moisture in the wall above causes more severe problems.

Dick
 
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Old 09-16-13, 04:59 PM
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Thanks for the great response...

One question, though.. You said if it's just ugly, don't worry about it. I'm all for this, but don't I need to worry about the rim joists eventually dry rotting? Since the water seems to be leaking in between that and the concrete, I'm worried it's getting wet. Last thing I want is carpenter Ants (or even worse - termites) deciding to make a home our of the dry rot. Maybe I don't need to worry about this?

Thanks,

Tom
 
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Old 09-16-13, 06:46 PM
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I would try to solve the problem that is the leak into the walls of the structure. If you do that, you have eliminated the cause (the leak) and the problem is eliminated and there will be no water between the foundation and plate. Then go about removing the scars (the stains).

According to your comments and photos, the leak is coming from above the outside grade level.

Dick
 
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Old 09-17-13, 07:40 AM
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I agree, the WRB (builders paper) is directing water (from solar drive- is wall warmed by sun?)to the bare wood rim joist/joints of mudsill/concrete.http://www.buildingscience.com/docum...n-brick-veneer

Could have been leaking prior to this time. Possibly; before the SPF, the mudsill/rim joist was drying to the inside, being constantly evaporated away due to basement air currents (before= just showing at the joint with wood rim saturated; now airflow is restricted allowing it to run down wall face). The air infiltration was supplying the stack effect from the attic; http://www.wag-aic.org/1999/WAG_99_baker.pdf After SPF, the rim is not leaking incoming air but more importantly; it is not allowed to dry inward due to low perm rating of foam. The wood is holding moisture longer, expect mold under optimum conditions. Verify the brick weep holes in mortar are open for air drying; fig. 6; BSD-012: Moisture Control for New Residential Buildings — Building Science Information

1" airspace for drainage; http://www.buildingscience.com/docum...and-air-spaces

Any OSB present? http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j...lq5FcRrBpJlTuw

You can get also get water capillarity draw through brick/concrete/CMU with plantings near concrete (porous- think sponge) not so much in your case- though I would remove the bark (water storage material) from contact with brick/foundation wall; Photo 6; BSD-108: Investigating and Diagnosing Moisture Problems — Building Science Information

Gary
 
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