Moisture in walls
Hi all, I am in need of some advice.
My home is situated on a cement foundation. I don't have an attic or a basement. This is not a new home, but these problems have started all at once.
I have recently noticed that one end of my house has a moisture problem. One of my walls has become "mushy". I felt it with my finger, and my finger went straight through. I pulled out a piece of drywall and it was soft and had beads of water on it. I was wet like a wash rag! Then 3 wasps came in through that hole, which is another story altogether....but terrifying...... The bathroom on that end is growing mildew on it's ceiling and the walls in it are condensing. The bathroom is seperate from the bedroom with the mushy wall, and the mushy wall is not the wall that has the bathroom on the other side. This is hard for me to explain... Just know that every moisture problem that I am having is happening on this one end of the house.
It's not a leak in the roof, because my dad has checked that already, and we haven't had any rain since I discovered this problem almost a month ago. Yet, the moisture is getting worse.
Today, I was painting along the bottom of a wall in my kitchen when I discovered water along the crack between the floor and the wall. This is the wall to my pantry.
I've noticed that my clothes dryer has a pool of water in it each morning. It's an astonishing amount of water! At least one cup of it! This is also a new problem. We've changed exhaust pipes and cleaned the insides of this dryer with the last 2 months, and the exhaust is perfectly un-obstructed.
It's funny that these things are happening now, because I've already painted the ceiling and floor of that completely ruined bathroom. I did this less than a year ago, and I'm going to have to do it again as soon as we can get this moisture thing figured out. I've just finished stripping, sanding, priming, and painting the 43 cabinet doors in my kitchen, and now the kitchen walls are springing a leak! I've been working steadily in here because I was planning on putting the house on the market later this year. Now all of these horrible things are happening and destroying my progress :)
If anyone has any experience with mysterious water appearing in someone's walls and dryer during a drought and progressively getting worse, any advice you can give would be so helpful!! I would call an expert to come in and assess it, but I'm extremely low on funds right now and I am afraid I won't get the money for it until the damage gets out of control. I can change the walls, but I just need to find out where this massive amount of water is coming from. Please please help me as best as you can!
Thanks so much!
If it is up in the walls, it is probably coming from above or from the walls (vapor barrier?).
Do you have a flat roof or a low pitch roof? Often you can have a roof that does not leak, but moisture can enter around openings, under flashing or accumulate because of poor ventilation.
Water on the interior only shows up until it has saturated the walls. If you have soft drywall and wasps, the problem did not just happen yesterday.
Walls and ceilings, especially those with fiberglass can accumulate large amounts of moisture and they never dry out. While inspecting hurricane Katrina damage, I saw many ceilings that came in when the house supposedly did not have a roof leak and only flood water on the floor.
The only way to get the real answer is hire an engineer (not a mold cure contractor that just want to sell a job) to determine the cause in your home. If you are near New Orleans, you should be able to find a "moisture intrusion" engineer or something similar.
Unfortunately, you are probably faced with tearing out the wet material since it will not dry out in your climate. Hard materials like cabinets do not absorb as much and are more stable, so they can be re-used.
My dad checked to make sure I had some sort of vent on my roof (I don't know what kind). It's definitely there. He's a roofing contractor and he's done this stuff all of his life, so I trust that there's nothing wrong with the roof.
You and he may have have crossed paths actually :) He went inspect commercial roofs in New Orleans after Katrina. Small world!
The moisture that I found was on the entire wall, high and low.
How much do you think an engineer would cost? I live about 3 hours from New Orleans, but maybe I could find one closer to Baton Rouge (I'm 45 minutes from BR).
I have no problem changing out everything, but I need to fix the problem so that moisture can't destroy the new walls I will have to install.
If the building was recently built, it may take 6 months for the walls to properly dry out, especially if the walls were painted without being allowed to properly dry out first.
Was the exterior of the building properly sealed/painted to prevent moisture from entering the finished walls? Since this is not your rainy season, it might be wise to carefully check all exterior walls to be sure everything is properly sealed and there is no drainage that would allow water to enter the walls. Resealing/painting may again be required.
Dehumidifiers will draw excess moisture from the walls. I would dry one room at a time and use 1 or possible 2 dehumidifiers (depending on the size of the room).
Once the walls have been dried your paint should fair much better.
for more info on removing moisture from wall go to homecontractorsdirect site base on bathroom remodeling and more...
I'll add my 2c.
The moisture needs to be coming from somewhere. Duh.
If you are sure you haven't had rain in recent weeks and your positive the roof is fine then you have ruled out one of the most likely causes.
Other things to consider as possibilities.
- Air-conditioning condensate - When and AC unit runs its like a dehumidifier. This water is directed outside. Sometimes the lines that carry out the water can get clogged and back up into ducts or elsewhere.
Humidity - If you don't have AC or dehumidifiers then you could just have high humidity. Doubt it would be localized to only one part of the house tho.
Plumbing - You don't mention the proximity of showers, tubs, sinks, drains, etc to where the moisture is. A possible leak?
Sprinklers or irrigation - Do you have an irrigation or sprinkler system? Neighbors water the lawn when u are not home? A regular hitting of a wall with a sprinkler could push water in around a window.
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