Moist T-111 siding with Mildew

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Old 10-05-04, 09:18 PM
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Moist T-111 siding with Mildew

I had T-111 on the one side of my 3-unit and it became very mildewy and soft. I thought of replacing it with vinyl siding but decided to just replace the T-111. Now after a few months I am sick to death that the NEW siding is soft and mildewy again and coming thru the paint. I just thought the 20 year old T-111 was just getting aged so I didn't suspect a problem.

So now I am thinking of replacing the T-111 with white matching vinyl siding (the 2nd story has white siding already). But if vinyl siding needs sheathing under it, it will simply rot from moisture just like the current T-111 is (sigh).

I would also appreciate any ideas on where the moisture could come from since I have NO IDEA myself. I am getting a new roof installed in 4 weeks, so a leaky roof will be ruled out then. I suppose it could be getting in the 2nd-floor siding somehow duing rainstorms or possibly a plumbing leak.

Thanks in advance!

-Tony
 
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Old 10-07-04, 07:18 PM
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Water normally starts at the top and work its way down. You will benefit from solving this problem before installing the vinyl ,so that you don't have the problem working underneath the vinyl.
 
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Old 10-07-04, 07:42 PM
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T-111 Siding Decay

Make sure gutters and downspouts are clear and carrying away excess water. The best way to check out such problems is to put on your rain hat and go outside during a heavy rain. Could be that gutters and downspout are clogged and water is getting pushed out of a full gutter onto fascia and behind and down siding. If problem is on the end of house rather than side, it could be the builder did not leave enough overhang. Perhaps the roofer never installed the drip guard along edge of roof. Again, the only way you can find out what is going on is to go outside during heavy rain.

Additional concerns should be if studs and insulation have been subjected to moisture and decay as well. Then, there are the mold & mildew concerns. Inspect attic for adequate ventilation. Make sure if you have soffit vents that they are not covered by insulation. If you are on a crawl space, make sure soil is covered with at least 8 mil polypropylene (plastic) and that it is well-ventilated and no dead air spaces.

While T-111 is one of the more inexpensive sidings, it is high maintenance and must be kept sealed to prevent it from absorbing moisture. It is a plywood product. When exposed to moisture the plies will separate.

Another thought comes to mind. Some builders, when they install the foam insulation board on exterior of structure, they don't tape the joints properly. It acts as a channel for water to run into the sheathing. I believe today that most builders use house wrap on the exterior and make sure that openings around doors and windows are properly wrapped. Poor flashing, no flashing, or excessive rain water that has not been accounted for is a common culprit for siding problems. Most complaints tend to be with improperly installed vinyl siding products. Lack of caulking and improper installation tend to rank highest as the reason why moisture issues are reported with vinyl siding. A waterproof system behind siding is important.

Vinyl siding is perhaps a more durable option if properly installed. If you have other problems, and it sounds like you do, then vinyl siding would not solve your problems.

Check with your local building inspector for what code requirements are in your area. You will find him/her a wealth of information re: code requirements and permits.
 
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Old 10-08-04, 11:10 AM
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Thanks for the reply; I have some more info.

Firstly, I have a photo at: http://www.tonytonini.com/apt2.jpg

Note that the T111 is on the side of the bldg (right side in the photo). The overhang's length for that side and drip edge are probably OK since the problem just developed within the past year.

Luckily, the 1st story is block and not studs. There are 1" furring strips and styrofoam between them and then the T111 is screwed to the furring strips. And there is no crawl space; it is on a slab.

I also made sure that the T111 is not touching the ground at the bottom at any spot. Someone did a good job of putting aluminum flashing at the bottom of it preventing any moisture from soaking upward from the ground. I left it in place when I replaced the T111.

Also, the blackish mildew is appearing perfectly uniformly on the 4x8 sheets. And keep in mind, this is happening only 2 months after priming, and painting the T111. The latex paint has millions of small openings that have formed where the moisture has come thru and where all the blackish mildew is appearing. If the mildew was in certain places, I'd have at least one clue where to start, but it's perfectly uniform over all three 4x8 sheets! WOW!

I also checked with the tenant living in that unit and he says that he sees or smells no problems.

There is flashing where the vinyl siding transitions to the T111 and I caulked that zealously, even though none is needed.

Now, since the mildew is totally uniform, I wonder if that's a clue that the problem starts very high up. If it started say, in the middle (4 feet from the ground), wouldn't the mildew be more pronounced closer to the bottom? Also, couldn't that also mean that the problem may be in the 2nd story?

I'm hoping that the new roof coming in 3 weeks fixes the problem, although that menas I'll have to repaint it and wait for mildew to see if it was fixed.

Any thoughts or comments are appreciated, thank you!
 
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Old 10-08-04, 02:14 PM
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If it is uniform over the panels and is showing through the paint two months after installation and painting, I think the original panels must have been contaminated.
 
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Old 10-08-04, 02:48 PM
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Wink

I looked at all your post I didnt see if you said if it was wood T-111 or not. All of the homes here that had the same problem with T 111 masonite siding. Had to have it pulled off. In fact code here now you can not use the masonite siding at all.
Also why did I see the nail heads on that small over hang. on the lower level . I see no flashing comeing out from under the vinyl siding there Cant tell for sure if they put a good Z bar over the T111 before they started the vinyl siding on the rest of it.?

My .02 cents ED
 
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Old 10-08-04, 07:01 PM
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Yes, there is Z-bar transitioning from the upper white siding to the wood T111; it's what I was referring to in the last post when "I caulked that zealously even thought none is needed."

As for the nailheads: they are caulked well. The way that was set up: the water drips from the siding onto that row of shingles; it's cauked heavily forcing the rain onto the shingles. That side of the house has no moisture problem at all. It's all 20 year old wood and is still in good shape.

By the way, there's wood T111 all the way around the home and the east wall is the ONLY spot with this problem. IT's sad because here in Pennsylvania all of the rain and snow come from the West and this wall is completely shielded from it!

chfite: I'm not sure what you mean what is contaminated, and contaminated with what ...mold/mildew? If the originals were contaminated why would the new ones be? Thanks!
 
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