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French Door Installation Required Redusing size of Interior Opening

French Door Installation Required Redusing size of Interior Opening

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  #1  
Old 06-25-09, 05:47 PM
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French Door Installation Required Redusing size of Interior Opening

The previous owner of my circa 1900 home installed french doors into a former pocket door opening. It is located in a bearing wall separating the foyer and dining room. The french doors were as wide, but about 2-3 inches shorter. Before I repainted the dining room and foyer, I noticed uneven repairs and cracked drywall compound (?) at the top of the doorway.

I removed the casework, broke out the loose material, and found no backing. The original lathe wasn't there to begin with and the former owner just applied compound. I attached metal lathe across the opening and used a mixture of drywall compound and plaster powder. After a few coats, sanding, and filling low spots, I primed and painted. All was good for a couple of years.

Today, I noticed discoloring in the repair area. It runs across the entire top of the casework where the repairs were made to the plaster. The patch seemed moist to the touch. No paint is cracking, but there is a darker appearance and a different feel from the rest of the wall.

The room is over a full basement. The wall to the side of the french doors is used as a chase for electric lines to the second floor, so there is a gap in the 1st floor/basement ceiling. Basement concrete floor, painted sandstone basement walls. I don't have water leaking across the basement floor, but I do notice humidity in the spring/summer and keep a dehumidifier running then. During heating season, the steam furnace keeps nearly all the moisture out of the air and we need humidifiers throughout the living areas.

So my thoughts are that the plaster patch was somehow defective or for some reason it is pulling moisture from the air. It's an interior load bearing wall, there are no pipes in the wall, and no bathroom or roof near the area.

Sorry this is so long. Any help on diagnosing the possible problem or fixing it would be welcome. Thanks in advance.
 
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  #2  
Old 06-29-09, 07:45 PM
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Location: NY
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If in fact the problem was caused by the mixture you used, you might want to try a piece of green board, if you can mount it, with setting compound instead of drying compound. It may resist the dampness better. Insulation in the gap between the first floor & basement ceiling may help as well.
 
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