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Thread: Wet Walls

  1. #1
    Sherrill Jeffcoat's Avatar
    Sherrill Jeffcoat Guest

    Default Wet Walls

    I just inspected a house with interior sheetrock walls that appeared completely dry but when I checked them with a moisture meter, some of the walls pegged my moisture meter and other interior walls indicated normal moisture. All of the walls looked the same. No moisture stains except inside the garage. The lady of the house previously complained of moisture intrusion inside the garage. She did have a roof leak that damaged a garage wall. So, to be safe, I checked all of the interior walls and found some that pegged out my Tramex non-invasive moisture meter and others with normal moisture. I checked to make sure there were no metal wall studs. I also checked the attic of moisture intrusion and there were none. I do not have an explanation of this. In my 13 years of inspecting, I have never see this condition. Anyone seen this before.

    Sherrill Jeffcoat

    F.I.R.E. Services

  2. #2
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    Mar 2012
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    Northern Indiana
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    Default Re: Wet Walls

    Quote Originally Posted by Sherrill Jeffcoat View Post
    I just inspected a house with interior sheetrock walls that appeared completely dry but when I checked them with a moisture meter, some of the walls pegged my moisture meter and other interior walls indicated normal moisture. All of the walls looked the same. No moisture stains except inside the garage. The lady of the house previously complained of moisture intrusion inside the garage. She did have a roof leak that damaged a garage wall. So, to be safe, I checked all of the interior walls and found some that pegged out my Tramex non-invasive moisture meter and others with normal moisture. I checked to make sure there were no metal wall studs. I also checked the attic of moisture intrusion and there were none. I do not have an explanation of this. In my 13 years of inspecting, I have never see this condition. Anyone seen this before.

    Sherrill Jeffcoat
    Probably caused by excessive EMI.


  3. #3
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    Mar 2007
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    Default Re: Wet Walls

    If pegging the moisture meter only happened on exterior walls, I would say that it could be foil faced insulation, but ... you said interior walls a few times and I doubt the interior walls would be insulated, and if they were insulated, the insulation would be for sound so they would have used batt insulation.

    I inspected a house once years ago which, when I walked in, smelled of mold (mould).

    The builder had framed many of the interior walls without top plates - the studs extended up to and were nailed to the ceiling joists. This left the stud cavities open to the attic.

    Not only was that a big framing no-no (the stud cavities were not fireblocked at the ceiling), but the moist and humid air in South Florida (Coral Gables) was down into the stud cavities ... the inside surfaces of the drywall were*covered with mold.

    The seller didn't smell anything, my client didn't either, but the odor was so strong the agent and I had to keep going outside for fresh air.

    As I recall, there were many other things wrong with that house too. I believe the client bought it anyway as it was a large house on a large lot in a desirable area in Coral Gables (as though there are "undesirable" areas in Coral Gables).

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  4. #4
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    Aug 2007
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    Default Re: Wet Walls

    Sherrill,

    My SWAG is a Major Water Event. Burst Pipe, W.H. ( check moisture levels low and high on the walls.)

    Disgruntled Mortgage Holder plugged drains and ran the water ?

    Pull back some carpet and check for moisture.

    It Might have Choked Artie But it ain't gone'a choke Stymie! Our Gang " The Pooch " (1932)
    Billy J. Stephens HI Service Memphis TN.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Wet Walls

    This is a good time to have a pin-probe moisture meter, to verify the results of the sub-surface scan.

    Either the walls were wet/damp, or they weren't; no way to confirm that remotely. Recent burst pipe, interior flood or large leak, etc. Or anomalous readings that aren't moisture.

    Dom.


  6. #6
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    Spring Hill (Nashville), TN
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    Default Re: Wet Walls

    I know of entire subdivision that the builder used a silver Mylar wrap on all exterior walls and then the drywall. Every single time I have tried to check moisture, it pegs every single non invasive moisture meter I have.

    Did the home have A/C? When was the last time it rained?

    What are you located, this helps big time..

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  7. #7
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    Spring City/Surrounding Philadelphia area
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    Default Re: Wet Walls

    I agree with the others. I always use the contact pins to backup the findings of my meter when scan mode indicates elevated levels. Metal will throw moisture meter readings off.

    "It takes a big man to cry. It takes an even bigger man to laugh at that man". - Jack Handey

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Wet Walls

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Patterson View Post
    What are you located, this helps big time..
    Must be out working ... or maybe his hyperspace connection is down?

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  9. #9
    Sherrill Jeffcoat's Avatar
    Sherrill Jeffcoat Guest

    Default Re: Wet Walls

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Must be out working ... or maybe his hyperspace connection is down?
    Been out working.... just go in. thanks for all the responses. Again, these were interior walls. Some of the walls would show high moisture readings and others with no moisture / normal moisture. I even checked the next door neighbors interior walls and they were ok. To be more specific, 3 or the 4 the master bedroom walls show high readings while the other did not.


  10. #10
    Sherrill Jeffcoat's Avatar
    Sherrill Jeffcoat Guest

    Default Re: Wet Walls

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Patterson View Post
    I know of entire subdivision that the builder used a silver Mylar wrap on all exterior walls and then the drywall. Every single time I have tried to check moisture, it pegs every single non invasive moisture meter I have.

    Did the home have A/C? When was the last time it rained?

    What are you located, this helps big time..
    I am located in Alabama. There must be some kind of Mylar wrap on the interior of the walls. Yes, the A/C was on and operating properly. We have had a very wet summer in Alabama, so that could have contributed some way.

    I am going back today and look for a top plate like Jerry mentioned.

    Sherrill Jeffcoat


  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
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    Charlotte NC
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    Default Re: Wet Walls

    Quote Originally Posted by Sherrill Jeffcoat View Post
    I am located in Alabama. There must be some kind of Mylar wrap on the interior of the walls. Yes, the A/C was on and operating properly. We have had a very wet summer in Alabama, so that could have contributed some way.

    I am going back today and look for a top plate like Jerry mentioned.

    Sherrill Jeffcoat
    I have seen this condition several times. It has always been an older home, built prior to central air conditioning being the standard. All were brick veneer on vented crawlspace with pier and curtain foundation walls. The walls in this era were not well insulated and warm humid air could enter the gap between the rim joist and the brick. After installing central air the cold interior walls condensed moisture on the minimal insulation, which then sagged from the weight, allowing the moisture to condense on the back side of the drywall or wood panel. Also found this condition at walls around fireplaces, wet walls, and chases at the interior of the home.

    The beatings will continue until morale has improved. mgt.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Wet Walls

    As has already been posted, you need to have a pin meter in addition to a noninvasive meter. The noninvasive meters measure in a loop from one pad to the other and about 1.5 inches deep so they measure more than what you see.

    Jeff Zehnder - Home Inspector, Raleigh, NC
    http://www.jjeffzehnder.com/
    http://carolinahomeinspections.com/

  13. #13
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    Maryland
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    Default Re: Wet Walls

    If it's an older house the interior walls may be of plaster construction. Plaster can register as wet when it really is not. Perhaps the exterior walls had been stripped and redone with gypsum to gain access to add insulation and that's why they don't indicate moisture.


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