Please help - my house leaks

Old 11-30-04, 09:01 AM
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Please help - my house leaks

My wife and I purchased our first home a few months ago (existing place about 12 years). The other morning I noticed that the sheet rock along the baseboard /moulding near my front door looked damp. Upon closer inspection an inch or so of dry wall above the wall (extending about 3 feet away from front door) was indeed very damp Ė damp enough to press my finger straight through. It has rained a ton here lately by the way.

I removed the moulding, cut a small hole in dry wall and removed some damp insulation to get a better look. After my investigation (and making the hole in my wall progressively larger Ė now 4íX5í) I was surprised how extensive the damage was. The 2X4ís that comprise the framing in this particular area were rotted, so rotted that I was able to remove most of the damaged wood by sucking it into my shop vac. I cut out the remaining boards (werenít bearing weight anyway) and screwed in new pressure treated lumber using steel plates to connect the new wood to the existing undamaged wood. This area now looks very solid.

I have located and addressed sources of moisture. I installed some gutters (my first DIY project) repaired some flashing on my roof, did some caulking (especially around an exterior electrical outlet) etc. It has subsequently rained and Iím pretty confident Iíve got everything sewn up on that front. Iíve also looked around the rest of the house, knocked some more holes in the dry wall, and determined that my moisture problem was limited to this particular area.

Now my question is putting all of this back together again. When the house was built, all that was between the framing and the brick veneer was cheap looking black paper material. Obviously in this area it was completely degraded. Now Iíd like to install some foam board rigid insulation material. (Iím thinking this will do a better job of keeping moisture out) Hereís the catch, I donít want to take the brick veneer down to nail it to the outside of the framing. Thatís way beyond my ability to do myself and I canít afford to have someone else do it.

And another catch: I donít want to install this material all the way to the ceiling (which is very high by the way Ė 16 feet or so up to the second story) I just want to do a ďband-aidĒ job in this localized area.

After I get that foam board in, I will install fresh installation, dry wall and then hopefully Iím done.

But I thought before I do this Iíd get some input and suggestions. Whatís the best way to get that foam board in there? How can I affix it to the 2X4ís w/o going through the brick veneer? Am I crazy just to apply it to this localized area w/o going all the way to ceiling? Anything else I should know? Any particular materials I should use? If you canít tell Iím not very handy Ė just learning as I go. And since we just bought the place we donít have a ton of cash lying around for this Ė especially around Christmas. Thank you very much.
Old 12-02-04, 01:44 PM
shinstr's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Berkley Michigan
Posts: 227
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts

Sorry no one has replied to your post... I'll give it a shot.

You say this is at the front door, is there not a front porch or overhang to cover this portion of the wall? I don't understand where the water came from, the base of the wall, the wall itself or from the roof.

At any rate; building paper(was) standard for a moisture barrier behind a brick facade. Now there are 1-way breathable moisture barriers and "house wraps". These were developed because it is not a good idea to totally seal the outside walls of your home. Keeping moisture out is good...keeping moisture in is BAD.

Indoor moisture is generated by many things. The normal perspiration and breathing of a family of four adds about Ĺ pint of water to the air every hour. Cooking three meals a day adds four or five pints of water to the air. Each shower contributes Ĺ pint. In fact, every activity that uses water, (like dishwashing, mopping floors, doing laundry) adds moisture to the air. Experts say that the daily living activities of a family of four can add more than 18 gallons of water a week into the air of a home. Air moisture will flow toward drier air to equalize itself. This equalization process actually forces the indoor moisture through the ceiling and exterior walls.

Your home must be able to "breath".

Hope this answers some of your questions.
Old 12-02-04, 07:39 PM
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Question more info..2 questions .breathing house

Thanks for helping out. I've made a little progress and I think I should get all this back together soon. I would like some feedback on my gameplan to make sure I dont mess this up too badly. I have 2 main concerns at this point.

As for your question...moisture coming from wall itself... the front patio is covered but that cover is 2 stories up. As you walk out the front door the garage is on your right. That part of the house is only one story. And that roof dumps a bunch of water on my front patio. (or it did until I installed some gutters) now it just dumps a little water.

You said that black paper was the standard. Ok... but now in this 4'X5' area there is none. So how to replace it becomes the question because even I know that placing fresh insulation against the slightly less leaky veneer is a bad idea.

I dont want to take down the brick veneer down to install replacement material because that'sbeyond my ability / means / and my wife's patience. (she's getting pretty upset at this point b/c theres a giant hole in the wall and all she sees me doing is making it larger and pulling out insualtion and generally tearing things apart.)Anyway...I need to install something from the inside.

The black material isnt degraded about 4 feet up the wall. I bought some of that pick board insulation (extruded polystyrene? )and here's what im thinking.(and this is my first question) I need to get that fixed into the frame cavity somehow (and again it cant just be nailed to the exterior b/c brick is in the way) I'm not sure how to do this - some kind of epoxy to stick it to the 2X4's? Id appreciate some suggestions on this point.

Anyway I only run it as high as the black paper and place it inside that paper. (any moisture that runs down the paper should run on the outside of the the pink board) Next step - i bought some 3 1/2 insulation (i think the same stuff that was in there. Obviously I want to put this over the pick board and behind the drywall. But since I'm working with 1/2 inch less space in there now (b/c pink board is in cavity not outside it) that space will be more compressed. And that brings me to my second, perhaps a very silly question. Will the insulation push against the drywall and make it look any different than the other walls? I've heard about walls "bowing" b/c of too much insulation. Could my improvised cheap solution to this problem cause it?

The breathing house thing is a little over my head, but Ill take your word for it. Since Im only rigging this one part of the house do I still have to be concerned? If not the the house can breathe somewhere else. I'm more concerned about my soggy wall.

In any event, thank you very much for helping. I appreciate it.
Old 12-03-04, 05:23 AM
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Taylors, SC
Posts: 9,261
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
There will be some bowing where the insulation is too thick. You might just trim the thickness down some to prevent this problem. I found that trying to compress the insulation overmuch will cause problems in attaching the drywall in the first place.

Rather than the styrene board, you might use the same tarpaper and staple it to the insides of the stud and avoid the problem with thickness overall. The moisture in the wall is not such that it would run down this liner. The moisture is usually in the form of water vapor. This is why the barriers used as for breathing, that is allowing moisture to transpire through the membrane but not return. Overall, the breathing of a small area such as you describe is trivial. I would concentrate on repairing it and making the wife happy.

Discovering and remedying the cause of the problem was the most important step you could have taken.

Hope this helps.
Old 12-03-04, 05:48 AM
Hellrazor's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Eastern USA
Posts: 948
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
Something for you to check yet, did you put a level on your patio and make sure its pitched away from the house? That could be the reason for your problem near the doorway.

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Your question will be posted in: