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HELP! - water on exterior walls leaking through to interior walls above backdoor

HELP! - water on exterior walls leaking through to interior walls above backdoor

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  #1  
Old 01-22-13, 05:30 AM
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HELP! - water on exterior walls leaking through to interior walls above backdoor

Hi all

I wondered if I could ask for some help and advice.

About 1 meter up from my back door the exterior wall is very wet. It doesn't go all the way up tot he roof or guttering. I have checked the guttering and its not blocked or leaking.

The water is coming down the wall and seeping through the wall above my back door. The interior wall above the back door is very very damp and dark and the wall paper has started to fall off.

The piece of wood above the door on the inside is soaked and rotten. There are drips of water falling both inside and outside at the top of the door onto the floor.

The damp color on the wall inside has occurred just in the last 2 weeks.

Not that I am pleading as an idiot here but I am female and haven't a clue about technical terms so go easy!

Any thoughts?


 
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Old 01-22-13, 05:45 AM
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Welcome to the forums Frances!

First we need to determine where the water is coming from. How old is the roof? Could it be wind driven rain. Is there a floor above the leak that could have a plumbing leak?
 
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Old 01-22-13, 05:48 AM
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Thank you for the welcome!

The house is Georgian so I would guess its a pretty old roof. I have lived here for 2 yrs.
The leak by the backdoor is located in the Kitchen; the bathroom is above the kitchen and the shower is directly above the leak. I know it sounds obvious that it could be the shower but I am unsure why the exterior wall is soaking.[/COLOR]
 

Last edited by Shadeladie; 01-22-13 at 06:51 AM.
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Old 01-22-13, 05:53 AM
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Water takes the path of least resistance. It's entirely possible that water will run along framing until it finds an easy place to come out. Is that bath your only one? If you could stop using that bath and the leak dries up - you'd know it's a drain issue with that bath rm.
 
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Old 01-22-13, 05:56 AM
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It could be a water pipe that has sprung a leak... it could be the drain pipes, it could be the tub needs recaulked, any number of things.

What was the weather like when it started? When you get sudden warm weather (melting) that can often cause an ice dam on the roof where melt water backs up under the shingles due to ice or snow on the roof above the gutters. This can then run down the wall behind the siding.
 
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Old 01-22-13, 06:15 AM
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We had a period of extreme rain then snow. The snow is melting as we speak (I am in London, England).

Is it a case of waiting it out until the spring when things dry up or will my wall crumble by then!?
 
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Old 01-22-13, 06:21 AM
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If this is the 1st time it leaked - you should be fine. What does concern me is your statement "The piece of wood above the door on the inside is soaked and rotten" which suggests this might have been an issue for some time.
 
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Old 01-22-13, 07:35 AM
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I would agree that the bathroom above is the likely source but I have a few questions that might give me a better picture. You stated that the outside of the wall is wet 3'-0" above the door. Assuming the door is about 7' and the ceiling height is about 8' then the floor to floor height is about 9' this would put the leak above the second floor line and make it difficult to believe the shower drain is the issue. (water can travel up a wall but it not typical)

What material is the outside wall? (Georgians in my area are typically brick exterior)

You said the wood above the door is rotten. Are you refering to a wood lintel buried in the wall, the wood at the top of the door frame or the wood trim piece above the door and on top of the wall paper?

Do you have any idea which way the floor joists run above this wall? Do the joists run parrallel to the back wall or do they frame into the back wall above the door. (water will travel along the joists but if they run parrallel than that possibility could be eliminated.)
Sorry I have more questions than answers but I am just trying to get a better picture of the situation. of course actual pictures might help as well.
 
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Old 01-22-13, 08:15 AM
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Hi

See attached pics of the issue - does this make anything clearer?
 
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Old 01-22-13, 10:12 AM
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It looks like water might be coming in thru the brick

You say there was no discoloration or plaster cracking/lifting before 2 weeks ago ??

Do you know if the interior side of your exterior wall is wood framed? or another layer of brick?
 
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Old 01-22-13, 10:16 AM
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its all brick.... I am totally clueless as to what this is. What do you reckon?

Who do I call to get this fixed? plumber? builder?

Thanks a million for your help on this as its really not something I know anything about...
 
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Old 01-22-13, 10:27 AM
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Repairing the plaster is a fairly simple job but stopping the water must be the 1st priority! I'm not sure what would be the best way to seal the brick wall. Products like Thompson's WaterSeal will do a decent job of sealing the brick if the water seal is flooded over the surface so it gets good heavy coverage - but it's typically a short term fix as it may need to be reapplied in a year or so. It's also possible it could be caused by an ice dam or water coming thru the interior of the brick. I would lean towards the water coming thru from the outside of the brick because one would think if the water was coming from above there would be evidence on the 2nd floor.
 
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Old 01-22-13, 10:29 AM
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Do you mean its not a leak from say the shower or something but a symptom of the weather?

the bathroom is a "wet room" with enormous tiles. I doubt any water could seep through so I wouldn't know if its coming into the bathroom.
 
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Old 01-22-13, 10:50 AM
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Generally if water is going thru a tile floor/wall it will go thru at the grout joints. Since your exterior wall is all brick [with a plaster veneer] the odds are more that it's water from outside. It is still possible that it could be plumbing related but more than likely, it's not.

I'm not sure who it would be best to call. Look in your yellow pages and see if there are any companies that do waterproofing. Generally estimates are free and they should be able to better pin point where the water is coming from.
 
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Old 01-22-13, 11:02 AM
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I cannot thank you enough for your advice.
 
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Old 01-22-13, 11:16 AM
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You are more than welcome! Hope you are able to get it taken care of soon. Let us know the outcome.
 
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Old 01-22-13, 12:12 PM
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Thanks for the photos it helped a great deal but at the same time leaves me without a simple answer. I do agree that the problem does not look to be from interior plumbing. I would guess it is water that is getting into the brick wall, traveling down, hitting the top of the door opening and being stopped from escaping and thus forced back into the wall.

There is no visual flashing at the head of the door but that is not surprising because I suspect you have a solid 12"thick masonry wall so there were typically no cavities within the wall and no flashing added to get water out of the wall. Masonry veneer walls (walls with a cavity/air space within the wall) require flashing but solid masonry walls were typically designed to work like a sponge. They get wet, they dry out, they get wet again. typically this process does not create large problems on the interior because the interior face of the masonry never got so wet that it leached into the interior plaster. For some reason you sponge is getting to wet to simply dry out naturally.

I would try having a tuck-pointer (sometimes listed as a masonry restoration contractor) look at the exterior of the house to see if they see something. A waterseal might be a temporary fix but it might be like treating the symptom and not the disease. That being said sometimes that is all you can do, at least in the short term.
 
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Old 01-22-13, 02:11 PM
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wow - thank you again! great help.
 
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Old 01-22-13, 05:30 PM
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I think the smart thing to do... since the drywall inside will need to be replaced anyway... is to open up the wall above the door and see how wet the wall is, and how far up it is wet. If it's wet all the way to the ceiling, it would be smart to open up the ceiling maybe 12" away from the wall to inspect the area under the bathroom. At that point you might find a leaking pipe or you might not. It won't be a lost cause if you find no bathroom leak... because you HAVE to eliminate that as the source. If there is no leak and the wetness continues up the floor joists, I think it is safe to assume the brick is the source of the leak.

And not necessarily water coming thru the brick (or the brick needing to be sealed, although its probably a good idea to do it) I would first suspect the sill of any window opening directly ABOVE the door. Or anything else directly above the door (roof cap?) No pictures really show whats way above the door so I'm just guessing.
 
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