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  1. #1
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    Default Tracking Down Moisture

    I've got a call back on some mold found in a lower level bedroom. The floor is about four feet below grade. The outside grade is pretty good. Definitely sloping away from the house on this side. There is a chimney and fireplace directly above the area.

    First photo shows the area where the mold showed up behind the baseboard once it was removed. The lower part of the wall is saturated with water. About two feet up it's down to 14%, and then back to normal levels.

    The chimney above may be the culprit. The flashing isn't great, but there are no signs of any water damage on the inside of the fireplace, where i would expect to see it. There is no cricket, but overall the flashing is in pretty good shape.

    Is is possible for enough water to fall down through the open flue to create a saturated sheet rock situation below the fireplace? I've never seen that before, but I don't normally have a room under the fireplace, either.

    Any thoughts on where the moisture may be coming from. They are going to strip off the bottom 24" of sheet rock to see what the back looks like, and to see if the studs tell any stories.

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    Jim Robinson
    New Mexico, USA

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Tracking Down Moisture

    My guess would be the chimney, there doesn't appear to be any flashing at the roof chimney wall juncture. On the other hand it could be the result of a foundation crack/damage. Definitely requires further investigation.


  3. #3
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    Default Re: Tracking Down Moisture

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Robinson View Post
    The floor is about four feet below grade.
    I would suspect something from outside that wall, such as waterproofing, lack of, or damage to, on the exterior side of that wall.

    Also, depending on how the foundation/wall/slab was constructed, there may be a cold joint there allowing water to seep up and in.

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

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Tracking Down Moisture

    Per chance is the foundation concrete block?


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Default Re: Tracking Down Moisture

    I have seen many ash pits filled with water. typically the ones with no cleanout door below. Shine your light down the cleanout hatch and see if any water is present.


  6. #6
    Ron Bibler's Avatar
    Ron Bibler Guest

    Default Re: Tracking Down Moisture

    A few Question.

    1. when was the last rain?
    2. how much rain was there?
    3. an sprinklers in the adjacent Yard?
    4. Is there any condition that would cause a condensation problem?

    I think you have a wicking problem from a small void or cracks or cold joint in the foundation. You stated the moisture stops just above the foundation stem wall.

    I would open the wall to expose the foundation... Look for cracks or a cold joint at the slab and the floor.. put a heater on the area dry it out and run some water in the adjacent yard. I bet you will find you moisture condition.

    Best

    Ron


  7. #7
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    Default Re: Tracking Down Moisture

    If the sheet rock is pulled off of the wall, can you waterproof from the inside?

    I would have thought it was the uphill part of the chimney, but there are no signs at all of water on the upper floor ceiling. It's possible it is running behind the stone on the interior of the chimney and all of the way down to the lower level.

    Jim Robinson
    New Mexico, USA

  8. #8
    Ron Bibler's Avatar
    Ron Bibler Guest

    Default Re: Tracking Down Moisture

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Robinson View Post
    If the sheet rock is pulled off of the wall, can you waterproof from the inside?

    I would have thought it was the uphill part of the chimney, but there are no signs at all of water on the upper floor ceiling. It's possible it is running behind the stone on the interior of the chimney and all of the way down to the lower level.
    I would bet its from a cold joint or a crack in the foundation.
    It may be a monolithic slab foundation system but I bet its a cracks or a cold joint. and yes there are new products that can fix this condition.

    Is this a complaint for you ? If so you need to trun this around fast. there is no way this just happen out of the blue. see if the seller disclosed these condition. Get the new owners to under stand that you are there best friend and show that these condition should have been disclosed.

    Get back to all on the board about the condition on this.

    Best

    Ron


  9. #9
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
    Ted Menelly Guest

    Default Re: Tracking Down Moisture

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Robinson View Post
    If the sheet rock is pulled off of the wall, can you waterproof from the inside?

    I would have thought it was the uphill part of the chimney, but there are no signs at all of water on the upper floor ceiling. It's possible it is running behind the stone on the interior of the chimney and all of the way down to the lower level.
    Maybe...Maybe not. It depends on the source type of the leak. In any case you will be able to tell where it may be coming in from.

    I inspected a roof the other day where a valley came down by the front entryway and butted into the side wall of the entry and it just looked like a leak waiting to happen. Flashing did no9t look good. A few shingles torn. Th flashing against the side wall not going up that far behind the siding.

    I went inside and it was ten foot ceilings and I just kept stairing at the ceiling and side walls toward the top of the walls looking for signs of leaking. Absolutely nothing. Later in the inspection when I was not so engrossed in the roof and ceiling and upper wall and even an interior header where I thought water would be coming in...I looked down at the floor and realized the wood floor had a very slight warp and looking further realized the base board appeared to have maybe gotten wet and dried in the past on several occassions.

    Nothing looked wet at all. I put my moiture meter pins first into the drywall just above the baseboard and then into the baseboard and then into the wood flooring...You got it...Absolutely saturated and I never bothered looking down trying so hard to see a leak higher up on the ceiling and tops of the walls. The water was coming in exactly where I thought it would have been but did not show anywhere you thought it would until it made its way to the very bottom of the wall.

    Long story short. Check the attic if you can get to the area at the back of the chimney and when all else fails (rocks gotta come off anyway) pull the lower rock off and see if it is coming from higher up or the base of the wall.

    Leaks S*CK...They hardly ever tell you exactly where they originate with out some digging.


  10. #10
    Join Date
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    Caledon, Ontario
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    Default Re: Tracking Down Moisture

    The lack of chimney cap is also a concern in that rain will run down over the exterior of the entire chimney. A concrete cap which extends out over the sides of the chimney would definitely be a big improvement.


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