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  1. #1
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    Default Moisture Readings Found Around Windows

    I am the agent for a buyer in Ladson SC. The home we are under contract with came up with high moisture readings 45-47% per our inspection. It had rained within 24hrs of our inspection. See attached pages 58-59. The seller who is also the agent listing the home, had her contractor come out three days later and his assessment was there is no water problem. Its probably just condensation and his readings were 30-35%. My inspector uses 7445 AccuMASTER Duo Pro Pin and Pinless Moisture Meter. The sheetrock was stained with moisture. He did use the pad sensor and of course now we are wishing he had also used the prongs. However there was visible moisture staining along the perpendicular sides of the window so there was really no question in his mind that what he was seeing was active moisture. Since this is a townhome, the HOA has called a third company out and that company is saying the issues is probably just construction materials interfering with the sensor readings. So we have 3 different opinions and no one has been willing to remove the trim from the window to just confirm that there is/is not an issue. Does anyone else have any thoughts? Do we have a problem or not? Will there be any way to really tell without taking the trim off the outside of the window?

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Fletcher, NC
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    Default Re: Moisture Readings Found Around Windows

    Have water spray test performed on all openings (windows, doors, anything which protrudes through the exterior of the wall). Take multiple measurements with pin, pinless, and infrared camera before, during, and after the water spray test.

    It could also be an issue with the exterior wall cladding not near an opening or penetration, or even a roof leak.

    A simpler and more cost effective way would be to cut out a section of interior drywall and actually see what things in the wall look like: insulation wet?; wood studs and sheathing wet or wood decayed?; water stains?; many options, but a good sized area, stud to stud and beyond each stud, as well as vertical size (where on the wall is the area and what is it near, etc)? Too many "ifs" with only the information provided.

    Jerry Peck
    Construction Litigation Consultant - Retired
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Moisture Readings Found Around Windows

    Thank you Jerry! Thus far the sellers are unwilling to allow us to poke holes, remove or cut anything out.

    I have suggested the spray test. At this point I am hoping they will agree to at least that. The sellers are trying to deny that there is a moisture problem and the stains and readings dont matter as there is no visible paint peeling/bubbling and the drywall feels structurally sound to the touch...

    I for one do not believe that these things must be present to have a problem.

    Unfortunately we have had to get lawyers involved to force them to do something as they agreed to to "thoroughly investigate seals, flashings, and casing" in the repair addendum.

    Do you think it would it be better to do this from the inside as you mentioned or by popping off the trim from the outside?

    Thanks again!


  4. #4
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    Default Re: Moisture Readings Found Around Windows

    Quote Originally Posted by Kristie Brown View Post
    Thus far the sellers are unwilling to allow us to poke holes, remove or cut anything out.
    Being as you have not yet completed the contract to buy the house, have your agent personally give a letter to the sellers' agent, with a statement your agent signs, and the buyers agent signs, that the letter was received by sellers' agent on (date), and that the letter is to be hand delivered this day to the sellers; stating that they either allow you to fully investigate the conditions under discussion ... or the sellers' can sign the bottom of the letter where the letter says "We, the sellers, (blank, blank, bank), hereby acknowledge that the buyers, (blank, blank, blank) are withdrawing their offer effective immediately as of this date (put the date following the previous date).

    If the sellers' don't allow you to do the investigation, the deal is off.

    Keep in mind that most contracts likely state (all contracts I recall having seen include something to this effect) 'buyer is responsible for all damage created by the buyer's inspectors'. Note: this is where the attorneys get to argue - (for the buyer) 'the inspector did not create said damage, said damage was "existing", having been created by the conditions the inspector discovered during the course of their inspection'. In a case like this, you would be responsible for what you "created", i.e., the 'cutting, patching, and painting' of the drywall. The conditions which were exposed by said cutting were "existing" and were caused by the conditions discovered.
    (Disclaimer - have your attorney write the wording to meet their legal requirements.)

    I have suggested the spray test. At this point I am hoping they will agree to at least that. The sellers are trying to deny that there is a moisture problem and the stains and readings don't matter as there is no visible paint peeling/bubbling and the drywall feels structurally sound to the touch...
    Any moisture problem "found" by the spray test were not caused by the spray test, the moisture problems "found" were "existing" and were simply exposed by the spray test.

    Do you think it would it be better to do this from the inside as you mentioned or by popping off the trim from the outside?
    The spray test is, naturally, done on the exterior.

    The investigation should first be done on the inside as that is where the issue was showing itself, followed by (depending on exterior cladding/siding and what is found inside) investigating the exterior sheathing behind the exterior cladding/siding. If there is moisture getting to the inside, then the exterior sheathing is likely much worse.

    However; keep this in mind: if nothing is found after cutting out some drywall inside, (which is less costly for for you to repair), then the likelihood for exterior damage is less (investigating the exterior will be much more costly for you to do and repair).

    "Likelihood for exterior damage is less" ... means it could still be there, and if could be there anywhere else around the exterior where nothing shows up inside - it is the risk one take in buying a house ... the only thing anyone can "guarantee" is that there "will be surprises" which will set you back.

    Jerry Peck
    Construction Litigation Consultant - Retired
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Moisture Readings Found Around Windows

    Think of it from this point of view:

    - the inspector observed evidence of a potential issue

    - the inspector confirmed the observed evidence by testing with a moisture meter

    - the area was again tested with moisture meter prior to performing a water spray test to establish a "before" measurement

    - a water spray test was performed

    - the area was tested again with a moisture meter after the water spray test was completed to compare to the "before" measurement

    - the moisture meter reading of the area after the water spray test was completed was (greater than/less than/approximately the same as) the moisture meter measurement "before" the water spray test.

    What occurs next depends on what is found above.

    Jerry Peck
    Construction Litigation Consultant - Retired
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  6. #6
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    Orlando, FL
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    Default Re: Moisture Readings Found Around Windows

    Quote Originally Posted by Kristie Brown View Post
    My inspector uses 7445 AccuMASTER Duo Pro Pin and Pinless Moisture Meter. The sheetrock was stained with moisture. He did use the pad sensor and of course now we are wishing he had also used the prongs.
    Not familiar with that meter, it isn't a top-tier model, but not probing with the pins is an odd choice from my viewpoint.

    However there was visible moisture staining along the perpendicular sides of the window so there was really no question in his mind that what he was seeing was active moisture.

    Do you think it would it be better to do this from the inside as you mentioned or by popping off the trim from the outside?
    Then the area needs to be checked more carefully by someone, from the inside, to verify the concealed wall cavities condition.

    Thus far the sellers are unwilling to allow us to poke holes, remove or cut anything out.
    Then consider exercising your client's right to walk away. Too much is unknown right now.


  7. #7
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    Default Re: Moisture Readings Found Around Windows

    Quote Originally Posted by Dom D'Agostino View Post
    Not familiar with that meter, it isn't a top-tier model, but not probing with the pins is an odd choice from my viewpoint.



    Then the area needs to be checked more carefully by someone, from the inside, to verify the concealed wall cavities condition.



    Then consider exercising your client's right to walk away. Too much is unknown right now.
    I concur. Not a recognized brand. I use TREMEX MRHII and Delmhorst TechCheck Plus.

    Very shallow non-destructive readings. 20mm. From the manufacturer. Pinless mode - 0.1 - 100% (for all materials.)

    As well, no Sq-Ft grid measurements. Window frames are notorious for false positives due to fasteners in the framing members.

    Gravity would be at play. A thermogram would be better suited to detect moisture and air leaks.

    Robert Young's Montreal Home Inspection Services Inc.
    Call (514) 489-1887 or (514) 441-3732
    Our Motto; Putting information where you need it most, "In your hands.”

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