Just Discovered Water on Exterior Walls - Help!

Old 01-30-05, 12:42 PM
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Unhappy Just Discovered Water on Exterior Walls - Help!

Hi! I hope someone here has an idea about moisture we just found in our "attic", as my husband and I are stumped!


After walking up the permanent staircase in the back of our 1920 home, you enter a finished (and insulated) room. The door exiting this room to the rest of the second floor enters into a completely unfinished (and completely uninsulated) attic section, which was never finished (this would be over the middle of our home). Then, near the front of our home, there is another finished (but insulated) room which we believe was done in the 40's. My husband knocked out this poorly done, uninsulated room near the front of the house. Everything was going along well until a few minutes ago when my husband took off the old drywall from the inside of what it the exterior wall of the front of our house and found obvious signs of moisture on the wood behind the drywall.


We have no idea where water could be coming from!! The spots are almost in the exact same spot of both sides of this wall, a good 10 feet below the roof ridge. This wall has a window, but the water spots are a good three feet away from the sides of the window on each side. We have a continuous ridge vent and we thought maybe water was leaking in below, but there do not seem to be any water marks near the ridge vent - the marks only begin halfway down from the roof peak. My husband stepped out the window in this room to the porch roof to check the house shingles, but they seem fine and, in fact, the water marks inside seem to start in the middle of a shingle! Besides, what are the chances that shingles failed in nearly exactly the same spot in such a symmetrical way?? My husband checked the drip (ice) guard (?) on the edge of the roof as best he could and didn't see anything...We had a new one put in a couple years ago.

We really can't imagine what is causing this, so any suggestions would be appreciated...We are mostly confused that the spots are symmetrical on each side of the window (yet far away from the window) and don't seem to begin until halfway down from the roof peak.

We live in Buffalo and have had snow, which is somewhat melting today. The water spots do seem damp, although there is no actual leaking water (at this point in time). I wouldn't think it could condensation, because the attic is totally uninsulated and basically the same temperature as the outdoors.

Sorry for the long post! Thanks for your time
Old 01-30-05, 01:13 PM
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Just for further information: Apparently, there WAS insulation on this exterior wall beneath the drywall. It was extremely thin and with no vapor barrier and again, the middle unfinished section of the attic is really cold, so how could this be from condensation? Is there some way that moisture could get trapped between the studs even in such a cold environment?

Thanks again
Old 02-07-05, 05:49 AM
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You mentioned stepping out onto a "porch roof". I can't visualize the layout of this in relation to your areas of moisture.
Generally speaking, failure of asphalt shingles are not likely to cause a leak. I say not likely because anything is possible.
If you have coresponding leaks, what, on your roof coresponds to those? Do the sides of the roof porch roughly corespond? Even on pitched roofs, water can find its own way down under and between "things" before it shows up. IF your porch in in some type of alignment with where water is showing up, I'd check the porch roof at all points where it abuts or otherwise ties in with any walls, shingles, railings, windows, doors, etc.
If you were to email a photo or 2 of the roof area, I might be able to give you an idea of where to look.

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