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  1. #1
    Ron Bibler's Avatar
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    Default Excessive moisture interior walls

    The problem... 10 Year old home EIFS exterior siding. The Images are from the interior West wall at 2:30 pm Direct sun load on the exterior from about 11:00 am on... Areas of the adjacent exterior stucco do have some cracks most are small. We have had rain in the past few day. Inspection day was dry and about 69 degrees outside.

    Look at the IR images posted. Areas were tested with 2 moisture meters.
    high moisture at studs with lower moisture readings in the bays.
    upper section of the walls have higher reading of moisture 40% and lower section of the wall are in normal reading 10% moisture.

    They have been after moisture problems with this home over the last 8 years. The builder has replaced the upper bathroom window thinking that was the problem with moisture.

    1. Why do we have a higher moisture content in the upper areas of the walls ? This condition applies to the first and second story sections of this west wall.

    2. Do you think the Sun thermal loading has any effect on the moisture of the walls ?

    2. The home has the same stucco construction on all 4 side. yet only the interior of the first and second upper parts of the west wall have high moisture condition.

    I'm recommending further inspection by an EIFS Expert with coring if applicable. And further inspection of the sheet rock. Small 3/4 inch holes and use a Ridge Probing Snake Cameras to look inside the walls.

    Any help guys... Thanks

    Best

    Ron

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  2. #2
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
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    Default Re: Excessive moisture interior walls

    10 Year old home EIFS exterior siding.
    RB: That usually means barrier EIFS which is a perennial problem.

    I'm recommending further inspection by an EIFS Expert with coring if applicable. And further inspection of the sheet rock. Small 3/4 inch holes and use a Ridge Probing Snake Cameras to look inside the walls.
    RB: This should always be the recommendation of any inspector when EIFS (especially barrier) is involved.


  3. #3
    Jerry Peck's Avatar
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    Default Re: Excessive moisture interior walls

    The photos with the shower in the corner ... that's what I would expect around and above a shower if it gets used much at all (even if used occasionally after a use until it dries back out, but if used more than occasionally the drywall never gets a chance to dry out after the moisture from the shower).

    While the moisture may not be enough to negatively affect the drywall, the moisture would likely remain and indicate elevated readings.

    Don't forget, with the sun beating on that wall for that long, the moisture area would likely read hotter than the surrounding areas as the moisture content would hold in the heat. The higher moisture areas would heat up slower, stay hotter longer, and cool off slower, than drier areas.

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  4. #4
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
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    Default Re: Excessive moisture interior walls

    The photos with the shower in the corner ... that's what I would expect around and above a shower if it gets used much at all (even if used occasionally after a use until it dries back out, but if used more than occasionally the drywall never gets a chance to dry out after the moisture from the shower).
    JP: If the shower were properly installed how would the drywall be involved?


  5. #5
    Jerry Peck's Avatar
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    Default Re: Excessive moisture interior walls

    Quote Originally Posted by A.D. Miller View Post
    JP: If the shower were properly installed how would the drywall be involved?

    All the steam and moisture rising up from the shower and collecting on the drywall.

    The same steam and moisture which peels the paint off the ceilings. You know it is in the drywall for a long time for it to peel the paint off.

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  6. #6
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
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    Default Re: Excessive moisture interior walls

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    All the steam and moisture rising up from the shower and collecting on the drywall.

    The same steam and moisture which peels the paint off the ceilings. You know it is in the drywall for a long time for it to peel the paint off.
    JP: There should be no drywall behind the walls of a shower stall - at least not where I come from. Additionally, bathroom walls should never be painted with flat paints. Semi-gloss and gloss paint surfaces do not allow for much (if any) moisture penetration.


  7. #7
    Jerry Peck's Avatar
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    Default Re: Excessive moisture interior walls

    Quote Originally Posted by A.D. Miller View Post
    JP: There should be no drywall behind the walls of a shower stall ...
    "above" the shower stall, as in what I said "All the steam and moisture rising up from the shower and collecting on the drywall."

    Additionally, bathroom walls should never be painted with flat paints. Semi-gloss and gloss paint surfaces do not allow for much (if any) moisture penetration.

    "do not allow for much"

    Over time, they do allow enough, which is why I said "around and above a shower if it gets used much at all (even if used occasionally after a use until it dries back out, but if used more than occasionally the drywall never gets a chance to dry out after the moisture from the shower)."

    With a once-in-a-great-while use, the paint itself gets wetted, then dries out, and if you measure for moisture before it dries out you will get a reading on your moisture meter. With frequent use, the drywall will take on an elevated moisture level.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  8. #8
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
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    Default Re: Excessive moisture interior walls

    With a once-in-a-great-while use, the paint itself gets wetted, then dries out, and if you measure for moisture before it dries out you will get a reading on your moisture meter. With frequent use, the drywall will take on an elevated moisture level.
    JP: Point taken.


  9. #9
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    Default Re: Excessive moisture interior walls

    might also be that the wall plate is not isolated - wicking effect of the studs (acting like straws), and stack effect/absolute mc differential as the wall cavity heats up with sun influence. Moisture source in the wall cavities could be multi-fold - from below - from inside (incomplete moisture/vapor barrier on the inside, leak from shower), from above (attic cavity?) and from outside intrusion.

    Bathroom vapors being exhausted effectively? High pitch above the shower - outside wall - see no mechanical exhaust - and even if operable window is open - the warmer humid air wouldn't naturally exhaust effectively and likely transmit and condense in the wall cavity, esp. in the morning or on cooler days.

    Last edited by H.G. Watson, Sr.; 01-16-2010 at 09:05 AM.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Excessive moisture interior walls

    If you look closely at the third photo, I think you'll find that's the SOB responsible.

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  11. #11
    John Kogel's Avatar
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    Default Re: Excessive moisture interior walls

    Nice pics, Ron. Some good-looking studs there.

    I had a bathroom with a similar ceiling in our previous home. Moisture from the shower accumulates in the peak of the ceiling. What Jerry said. Recommend an exhaust fan for that area. It may not solve their EIFS problem, but it will make an obvious improvement.

    Your shower pic shows a higher temperature in the upper area, that's normal.
    Your meter shows high moisture at the upper levels, but if that moisture was inside the upper wall cavities, would that not lower the temp, darker color, in your IR shot?

    The dark band around the window could very well be a stucco leak. I think you're right to call for the drill.

    Last edited by John Kogel; 01-16-2010 at 11:50 AM.

  12. #12
    Joao Vieira's Avatar
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    Default Re: Excessive moisture interior walls

    ahhhhh! I see a alien in the shower infra pic..


  13. #13
    Michael Garrity's Avatar
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    Default Re: Excessive moisture interior walls

    Install an exhaust fan and leave it running for 20mins after the shower has been used.You will see a big difference.


  14. #14
    Jerry Peck's Avatar
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    Default Re: Excessive moisture interior walls

    John,

    Your post sounds like you are self-promoting your business here as an ad, and this is not the place for that.

    Last edited by Jerry Peck; 02-11-2010 at 07:53 PM. Reason: removed quoted advertising link
    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  15. #15
    Ron Bibler's Avatar
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    Default Re: Excessive moisture interior walls

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Garrity View Post
    Install an exhaust fan and leave it running for 20mins after the shower has been used.You will see a big difference.
    The moisture problems with this home are not just located in the bathroom.
    Its the complete west side of the home upper and lower floors.

    After further inspection of the west walls... The problems were located at the window flashing, cracks in the stucco and roofing and gutter condition driecting water at the West face stucco walls.

    The builder is going back over all the windows a walls to correct the moisture.

    Thanks for yourinput guys...

    Best

    Ron


  16. #16
    Stacey Van Houtan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Excessive moisture interior walls

    If you don't recommend a stucco inspeciton. Give the owner my name I would love to be a expert witness for this home, It has been a long time since i have drank wine in this valley

    The timex EIFS meter does not give moisture content. And the other meter will not tell you if the sheating only is wet. And the IR cameras is only some what helpfull but normaly useless in a EIFS inspection.

    You need to probe the EIFS to determine Moistue content.

    This will also tell you if you have substrate damage.

    ASSUME the windows leak. That means that a reto-fit pan flashing (damsill or equal) would be needed and caulking would not fix the issue.

    You have about 42" of rain per years, similar to where i am.

    This is a big issue $$$$ Reto fit pan flashing run $125.00/LF and caulking $50 per window

    Plus all the other issues the home may have.


  17. #17
    Ron Bibler's Avatar
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    Default Re: Excessive moisture interior walls

    This year is big for excessive moisture condition. Home are setting vacant no heat cold and damp winter. Next year we are going to see some many homes full of mould. I did one today... Old hard coat stucco going into the ground. exterior walkways directing rain run off at the exterior walls... All these vacant Bank Owned homes are full of moisture...

    Check you wall...

    Best

    Ron


  18. #18
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    Default Re: Excessive moisture interior walls

    First, I will start by saying that we don't have a lot of EIFS homes in the southern Ohio area. However, we do have a lot of brick homes. Some of these have developed problems with excess moisture in the interior west walls due to water vapor migration into the wall cavity. The problem pretty much always occurs when a vapor barrier is installed on the interior wall face. The mechanism involved is that the sun drives moisture in the brick, in our case, toward the interior wall. On the interior surfaces of the brick, the water evaporates to water vapor and travels into the wall cavity. When the water vapor meets the interior vapor barrier, it condenses on the vapor barrier when the vapor barrier surfaces is below dew point temperature, which is primarily when the home is using air conditioning. The condensate usually runs down the vapor barrier causing moisture problems. Now, I have not heard of the problem occurring with EIFS; but I suspect that the problem could occur for EIFS that was installed without a proper drainage plain. I could also see the problem occurring with EIFS that somehow has water getting inside the exterior surface. Finally, I could see where the wall cavity could have excess water vapor without condensation. The moisture conditions only have to be elevated to the proper level for whatever mold that likes those moisture conditions to grow. For Penicillium and Aspergillus, that moisture level is not so high, and these molds will let their presence be known via their odor. You did not detail what moisture problems the owners have been having with the wall or what areas of the wall are involved. That information might be useful.


  19. #19
    Stacey Van Houtan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Excessive moisture interior walls

    MK EIFS may help prevent what you are describing , what many call reverse vapor transmission. If the dew point can be maid to fall out side of the wall cavity or within the foam this issue is gone. google dew point anylsis to get a better understaing


  20. #20
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    Default Re: Excessive moisture interior walls

    Actually, I do know about the analysis. It is actually a variation of the heat transfer analysis we mechanical engineers learn in our heat transfer courses. However, you don't want the dew point even inside the cavity if possible because that basically means that condensation will occur inside the wall cavity. The goal is to have it at the exterior drainage plane. Even with the best design intentions, the dew point location can vary according to the interior and exterior conditions. Therefore, condensation can occur within a wall cavity. The goal then becomes one of minimizing the amount of condensation that can occur and giving the moisture a way to exit the wall cavity.

    With some of the earlier EIFS systems and probably some that are being installed incorrectly now, the moisture was (is) trapped inside the wall cavity. If the moisture gradient is too great toward the exterior side of the wall and a vapor barrier has been installed on the interior side of the wall, moisture can become trapped inside the wall. In some cases, exterior sheating materials can also be vapor barriers. As an example, water vapor can travel readily through OSB exterior sheathing. If it condenses inside the wall cavities sheathed with OSB and then flows into wall cavities that are sheathed with foam board insulation, the moisture can be trapped within (or at least at least have its exit path retarded from) that wall cavity if a vapor barrier has been installed on the interior side of the wall. I make that statement because I have witnessed it firsthand.

    That being said, how many architects, designers, etc. do you think actually go through the dew point analysis? Even if they do the analysis, how many do you think perform the analysis for all the conditions the structure is likely to face? Then, on top of that there is the accuracy of the assumptions made in the analysis. And, how many builders do you think will install that structure exactly as designed according to a dew point analysis? In most cases, I am betting that structures are at least designed strictly according to the current codes without any kind of dew point analysis. I have to wonder if a dew point analysis is not more often useful after the fact to determine why a structure is having problems rather than at the design stage. But, sometimes those codes are not up to date, as in the case of the internal vapor barrier, which was (is) actually required in some Ohio building codes.


  21. #21
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    Default Re: Excessive moisture interior walls

    Several issue with your statements MK, When i sold insulation, for cold storage and metal buildings, I had the plesure of working and educating several ME's. Although educated as sciencetienst, the emprical method of finding what works in buildng desige on hold merit and this is very true on building envelope issues.

    First the main issue with EIFS is NOT condensation. It is liquid water entering thru the missing flashing details and windows. This is a all together a differet issue. My point was, with foam on the outside of the wall the chance of reaching dew point inside the wall is reduced in all conditions.

    Although i would never recommend it, we had a period of building in KC where we used vapor barrier on the inside with foil faced foam on the outside. This did perform without any condensation issue.

    What is so often overlooked is that with vapor barriers installed, any liquid moisture is now not able to be absorbe into the home.

    This is not a vapor barrier problem. I still say that vapor barrers are a good thing to have in many climetes.

    OSB is, a boderline vapor barrier, I think the perm is 1.0 this, from a design standpoint, would make a case to add a vapor barrier.

    One of my firs bosses taught me a lot about the cold storage industry.

    His opinon was , in my climate, to try to have a 10:1 (inside utside) ratio on cold storge vapor barriers, and 5:1 for other buildings,

    Due since we have stared usning osb a decrease on the inside wall permability could be a good thing.


  22. #22
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    Default Re: Excessive moisture interior walls

    BH, I can agree with some of what you said and disagree with other parts. For EIFS, I agree that moisture intrusion is a major reason for moisture getting inside walls. However, where there is a path for liquid moisture, there can be a highway for water vapor. Water vapor basically acts as a gas, meaning that it acts like air. Air can readily get through gaps that would retard moisture transmission.

    Further, the EIFS stucco coating can also readily absorb moisture if not adequately protected. The original post said that the stucco surface had cracks, which could indicate that the stucco may not have been properly maintained and could be absorbing moisture. The sun can drive the moisture through the stucco to the insulation panels where it will find a bunch of gaps between the insulation panels. These gaps can provide water vapor a path into the wall structure, that is unless the builder sealed those gaps. Once through the insulation, water vapor can travel through some of the exterior sheathing materials. If it reaches an interior vapor barrier, it can condense on its interior wall surface, as previously discussed. BTW, once the water condenses inside the wall, it is also free to re-evaporate and travel throughout the wall structure, as well as move in liquid state to other areas.

    Your statement about OSB having a perm rating of around 1 is also not totally correct. The Engineered Wood Association has a publication comparing the perm rating of various panel materials (PDF Download | APA - The Engineered Wood Association) based on the ASTM perm testing. In it, you will find that OSB has a perm rating of 1 up to about 35% relative humidity. From there, the perm rating changes rapidly to the maximum in this chart of about 10 at 85% relative humidity. In the OHIO area, about the only time OSB has a perm rating of 1 is in the cold of winter. During the rest of the year, you can pretty much be sure the perm rating is much less.

    Maybe I did not make my point originally. I am not saying that sun-driven moisture is the sole reason for the moisture problems inside the original post's walls. I did want to indicate that I have encountered similarities with brick structures that I have investigated. As I said, EIFS is not used extensively in this area for residences. The few residential builders who forayed into that area, pretty much got their ears clipped by the legal system. Only a few well-publicized lawsuits were needed to end that foray for most builders.


  23. #23
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    Default Re: Excessive moisture interior walls

    I understand the variability of the perms for osb is moisture dependent. A well tarpaper used for underlayment, this can be a good and and a bad thing.

    But when the osb would have a 1 perm, which is considerd a vapor retarterder . is when we need it to NOT be a vapor barrier. This was my point and why there is a agrument for a interiour vapor barrier. I not necessarly recommending this all the time. but it can be used in as a desigen elment successfuly if incorperated correctly with other elements.

    As to vapor entering from the stucco surface. The surface of EIFS is around 5 perms, this would allow water vapor to enter the wall caavity somewhat, but what many and my self have found it is simply not the case.
    As i said for any stucco, EIFS or hard coat liquid moisture is the main issue. On rare occasions condensdtaiong is a issue but this is very rare.


  24. #24
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    Default Re: Excessive moisture interior walls

    Can't wait to read one of your reports, Stacy.
    Can you either type slower, or proof-read before you post? You have good points to share, but the spelling and grammatical errors detract from your posts. After all, you're holding yourself out as an "expert".
    Consider it constructive criticism.

    I'm a dyslexic agnostic-Don't believe there is a dog...

  25. #25
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
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    Default Re: Excessive moisture interior walls

    Quote Originally Posted by John Carroll View Post
    Can't wait to read one of your reports, Stacy.
    Can you either type slower, or proof-read before you post? You have good points to share, but the spelling and grammatical errors detract from your posts. After all, you're holding yourself out as an "expert".
    Consider it constructive criticism.
    JC: Actually, in my opinion, SVH's deplorable spelling and grammar add a bit of the common man's charm to what would otherwise be pure, unmitigated blather.


  26. #26
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    Default Re: Excessive moisture interior walls

    JC
    I do take it as such, will try to slow down and proof. This week became very busy, i had to teach and the inspections picked up. I hope it is a sign of things to come.

    As far as the expetness, I for some systems and issue (moisture intrusion for one). BUT I am on this site to learn and raise my level of expertness. I find that defencing ones position can clarifiy ones thoughts and opinions. I here not to boost my selfesteem. (but it appears that i do boost AD's self esteem )


  27. #27
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    Default Re: Excessive moisture interior walls

    Oh, my.....

    I'm a dyslexic agnostic-Don't believe there is a dog...

  28. #28
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
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    Default Re: Excessive moisture interior walls

    Quote Originally Posted by Stacey Van Houtan View Post
    JC
    I do take it as such, will try to slow down and proof. This week became very busy, i had to teach and the inspections picked up. I hope it is a sign of things to come.

    As far as the expetness, I for some systems and issue (moisture intrusion for one). BUT I am on this site to learn and raise my level of expertness. I find that defencing ones position can clarifiy ones thoughts and opinions. I here not to boost my selfesteem. (but it appears that i do boost AD's self esteem )
    SVH: Ungawa, Bwana . . .


  29. #29
    Jerry Peck's Avatar
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    Default Re: Excessive moisture interior walls

    After saying this:
    Quote Originally Posted by Stacey Van Houtan View Post
    will try to slow down and proof.
    He said this:
    i had to teach ...
    Which probably means that electrical he said he was going to teach.

    Apparently he did not proof what he had just written above, or below - all in the same post too:

    As far as the expetness, I for some systems and issue (moisture intrusion for one). BUT I am on this site to learn and raise my level of expertness. I find that defencing ones position can clarifiy ones thoughts and opinions. I here not to boost my selfesteem. (but it appears that i do boost AD's self esteem )
    If that is an example of his professional, expert, teaching, proof read, slow writing ... OMG!

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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