Condensation problem


Old 01-04-03, 04:42 PM
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Question Condensation problem

My daughter has a enclosed front porch on her house, the picture window in her living room looks out onto this porch. (possible heat source). The problem is, she has condensation on the walls farthest from the house wall, and all of the porch windows + the storm door of the porch are condensated. The picture window doesn't have condensation.
We were in her basement tonight, and found that water is dripping from the porch floor (concrete slabs) and there are chunks of concrete missing from the basement side. Her re-bar is showing. I noticed some vertical wall cracks also in the basement.
The outer porch walls are particle board w/ paint, the house wall is aluminum siding, and the concrete floor is covered with indoor/outdoor carpet.
Would we need to cover the picture window on the porch side with plastic sheeting, or do something with the porch windows?
Please help, we will have to do this ourselves, can't afford a pro right now. These Ohio winters can be pretty long, too. Might be awhile before I can do a permanent fix.
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Old 01-04-03, 05:13 PM
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: USA
Posts: 1,873
You have a serious problem when concrete separates from rebar. Rebar stands for reinforcement bar. To break concrete with rebar, even if you had a jack hammer, it would be difficult and a very tedious job. The force required to separate cement from rebar is tremendous and by your description, it appears to be freezing water. When water freezes, it expands approximately 12% in volume. This without question caused the chunks of cement to break off from the slab and the cracks in the basement walls. There are no other possible explanation for it. It is also the source for the condensation on your porch windows and if you do not correct this problem immediately the house can suffer structual damage, especially to the foundation (basement) walls.

There must be a source for the water under the slab. The most common source is poor drainage around this area, like leaders that end in that area. Extend the leaders further away from the porch to prohibit the water from getting under the slab. Another could be a water main leak or sewer line. In the basement look where you sewer and water lines penetrate the basement wall. If these lines are on the wall with the cracks, you should have them check out to see if they are leaking under the slab.

You must find the water source and stop it. If you allow this to continue, it is only going to get worse. Once you stop the water source the condensation on the porch windows will stop. In my opinion, this is the least of your problems.
Old 01-05-03, 05:44 AM
duct tape pro
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Hi resercon, thanks for your swift reply! I was kind of afraid that there would be more involved than just ventilation.
I don't understand what "leaders" are. This is a farmhouse, and the septic and well lines don't run from this part of the foundation, are leaders part of those systems?
Please advise on possible fixes, I know how to divert water away from a foundation, but that will have to be a spring job. I don't know what else to do.
Old 01-05-03, 09:39 AM
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: USA
Posts: 1,873
When water or rain runs off your roof it usually falls into gutters. At the end of the gutters there should be a downspout. This is called a leader. The leaders direct the water or rain in the gutters to the ground. A good grade is when the ground slopes away from the house. A poor grade is when the ground slope towards the house or allows water to pool around the house.

A common problem with farmhouses is there are no gutter or leaders. The rain water just falls off the edge of the roof. The problem is with this is as the water hits the ground, it has a tendancy to wash away the dirt around the house. This allows water to collect near the foundation and the problem that you are experiencing are one of the results of having water collect so close to your home.

If the home has leaders, then extend the leaders about eight feet from the house. If you do not have gutters, then install a low grade drainage system. The way this is done is by digging a shallow ditch 1 foot deep 6 to 8 inches wide around the area of concern about 1 to 2 feet away from the house. The ditch is continued to an area where the water cannot migrate back to the home. Lay 4 inches of gravel in the ditch and lay a drainage pipe (flexible) over the gravel. Lay decorative stones over the drainage pipe.

Water will always seek the path of least resistence. The shallow drainage system will provide that path. Different types of soil have different rate of absorption and drainage. It is apparent in your situation that the introduction of water to this area is greater than the soils ability to absorb and drain. The end result is the water is rising in the ground above the frost line and it is the freezing water that is causing the damage. Any type of drainage system, like extending the leaders or shallow drainage system should prohibit the amount of water in this area from being greater than the soils ability to absorb and drain.

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