Stumped !?!? Can't find leak in house


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Old 01-14-05, 06:00 AM
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Stumped !?!? Can't find leak in house

I have a pretty bad leak -- a drop in less than a second whenever it rains -- that I cannot find the source for. It's coming into a closet on the main floor and dripping into the basement. It's been happening the past several months and getting worse. The closet is a standalone closet in a double-story foyer. I don't have water stains or signs of water anywhere around closet. And I don't see any issues on the exterior -- I've caulked all the outside gaps I can find.

I had the roofers come out to see if they saw anything (roof is a year old) and they said everything looks OK. I did have a problem around the main foyer window a few months ago. I caulked around the bottom sill and that solved that problem. The window is about 6' from the closet and about 3' higher. Could rain possibly leak around the window up top -- travel horizontally that far and then down the stud cavity? I'm starting to get a strong mold smell and need to get this leak stopped.

What's the best way to try to find the source of the leak?
 
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Old 01-14-05, 06:13 AM
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Very seldom does a leak start in the same place as where you see it. It can travel and the joists are a great highway. I agree that you need to find the leak and the mold. Have you checked in the attic? The window could be the culprit and the reason the roofers didn't find anything. Good luck.
 
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Old 01-14-05, 06:35 AM
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I've looked in the attic a couple of times and haven't seen anything. But I didn't walk all the way out to the wall -- just about 4 or 5' The joists are 2x4s spanning 12' or so and are 18' feet above the main level -- wasn't sure if they would hold me since there's not much suport and it would be a long drop. I have a high-powered flashlight and didn't see any signs of moisture.

I forgot to mention my house is hard-coat stucco. Any common problems with that?
 
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Old 01-14-05, 06:40 AM
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No "common" problems I know of. It IS possible that it has a crack but you should be able to see a crack that lets as much water in as you have.
 
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Old 01-14-05, 06:51 AM
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I'm not sure if the leak is coming all the way down from the top or not. I figure, correct me if I'm wrong, that the two-story foyer basically has two 9' walls stacked together, each with a top and bottom plate. I'm thinking the water may be coming in somewhere, running down and top and bottom plate, and then leaking into the stud cavity. Guess I'll work with the garden hose this weekend and see if that helps.

Have a few hairline cracks, but nothing big enough to let that much water in. It rained about 2" yesterday and the leaking was pretty badly. Once I get it stopped, I'll need to replace the carpet pad in the closet. From the basement, I can see subfloor damage, so I may need to replace a section of that as well.
 
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Old 01-14-05, 06:57 AM
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Visit this post later today. We have some professional roofers that answer questions and one of them may have more info for you.
 
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Old 01-14-05, 07:38 AM
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Will do. I'm scheduled to get my house caulked and paint in March -- I just talked to the painter who is willing to prep the front of my home early next week, which may help. I'll see if any roofers have any ideas.
 
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Old 01-14-05, 03:32 PM
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visual

Mark,
It is difficult to visualize what exactly you are trying to describe.
You should find a site to post some photos to so we can get a look at it.
Have you tried going into the attic and following the trail of moisture to its source?
Find the spot where the ceiling of the closet is damaged and look up for where it is dripping from and there should be a noticable trail (dust cleaned off or stain) you can follow to the source.

Good Luck!
 
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Old 01-14-05, 06:58 PM
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How about caulking the top of the window, where it meets the stucco.
Jim
 
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Old 01-18-05, 05:58 AM
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I think I found the leak. It's not the window but near where a fascia board butts up against the sheathing. Looks like there is about a 2" hole at that corner without stucco. Since the gutter attached to the fascia was about 1/2" away from the wall, any water that ran into that corner could run into the whole and get between the stucco and sheathing. I pulled up the carpet in the closet where I noticed it was wet and ended up taking out the drywall on the leak side. The wood has noticeably rotted a bit.

The hole was hard to get to, so I pulled the gutter away and filled the whole area with Great Stuff expanding foam, which should seal it well. I also built up a little of the foam to fill in that 1/2" joint so the water will run past the hole and drain onto the porch. Wish me luck -- I've got some fixing to do. Anything else I should do there to keep it sealed?
 
 

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