Leaking water in wall

Old 08-25-13, 04:52 AM
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Leaking water in wall


I am in a middle of a shower remodeling. My house exterior is stucco and like any stucco house we do have small cracks near windows corners.

When i took down the drywalls, i see 3 layers of tar paper, some kind of waterproof sheet behind it, then the cement of the wall. The tar paper is wet and the studs got some rot to it. Obviously there was a water leak there for a while and we didn't know about it.

While the tar paper is wet all the way to 4" above the floor, the studs are only affected at the bottom 10". I guess the water slide down the tar paper. At the base, there is about 5" of the sole plate affected by water.

I am trying to find a root cause of the leak of it to fix it and have few questions

1) from the outsides, I can see on small cracks in the stucco. Is that possible the water comes to the inside via those crack? I understand the cracks are usually at the stucco layer and there is another 1.5" thick of cement behind the stucco. The water has to go thru all that to come inside. I do see one small cracks near where I have water damage. Can a crack cause that much of a 5' wide area of damage?

2) How I can inspect and find leaks in a stucco wall? I can see the cracks from the outsides. How to check from the inside?

3) If I tear down the tar paper, do I need to put new paper back? I have no idea how to go about it since it's sandwiched between the studs and the outside wall.

4) In some areas, there isn't any waterproof sheet. I guess the builder did a sloppy job. Do I need some sort of waterproofing? Same as #3, how can I insert something here?

On the first picture, you can see the waterproof sheet. It has a letter M on it. In the second picture, there is no such sheet.

Please let me know, what are the possible way to go inspect this wall. It seems like a bad idea to tear down the waterproof sheet if that is difficult to put back.

It is also possible the water damage come from in the inside, but I'd to make sure the exterior wall is all fine. If I need to caulk any crack, now is the time.

Thanks much
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Old 08-25-13, 05:06 AM
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Is this house on a slab, or basement/crawlspace? The concrete we see in the bottom picture....is that a monolith wall/cmu?

First, waterproofing is done from the outside. Secondly, the tarpaper is forming a vapor barrier on the concrete wall, where it shouldn't be. Once more information is received, you will get a bunch more responses to this. I agree, the job was sloppy, the barrier is in the wrong place and you need to fix it before you continue. Let us know. Also, can you step back and give us shots of the wall that aren't close up? It will tell us much more.
Old 08-25-13, 06:02 AM
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Unfortunately it looks like you've started repairs and closing the wall when you took the pictures. Do you have pictures of the damaged area before you started repairs and hopefully some shots showing the floor

Am I seeing short sections of 2x4 nailed onto the bottoms of the rotted out studs?

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