Friday, December 5, 2014

Water Damage

For the most part, as we have removed the siding, the sheathing has been in decent shape, especially when you consider that it is blackboard and not made from wood products. As I mentioned before, there was a time when they used blackboard because it was cheap and thought to provide insulation to make up for its short comings. Since that time the short comings have trumped the cost savings and you never see the stuff anymore. Above is one reason why. It doesn't hold up well to moisture damage.

Below the deck seen in my previous post, there is a patio that has been poured, I'm guessing sometime after the original build. Who ever poured it did a terrible job in a number of ways. First they poured the small pad in eight different pours and left their form boards in between each pad to rot away with time and then leave gaps in the surface. It wouldn't be so bad but they then added landscaping on the edge of the pad building it up to a higher level so that these gaps now instead of draining water to daylight act as catch basins. This feeds into the second problem and that they poured the concrete pads about 3 inches higher than the wooden sill plates of the house so the previously mentioned gaps can drain water back towards the house and as you can see in the first picture, it has happened in the past. Somewhere along the way someone figured out what was happening and made little dams at the end so that water didn't drain into the gap next to the house but the damage had already been done. Since we've moved in, I've never seen water inside the basement in that area so I'm guessing the damage is all old damage.

Short term, I'm going to remove all the damaged blackboard and replace it with new plywood. The sill plates though water damaged, appear to be in fairly good shape so that is good news for me. I think for a temporary measure, I'm going to fill the crack up with mortar and then flash over it before putting up the siding. That should keep things dry for now and prevent further damage. Long term, I am going to tear out that pad, dig things down a few inches so that any water collected is under the level of the sill plates. This will require some extensive regrading to get the water flowing away from the house and perhaps putting in some French drains. But the earliest any of that is going to happen now is next summer.

This picture shows some more water damage caused by another building error. We are looking up at the bottom side of my deck. As you can tell, they did add flashing that ran from behind the siding above the deck over the rim joist attached to the outside of the house. This prevents water from running behind the rim joist and attaching the house. It doesn't however, stop water from dripping underneath the rim joist and above where the old siding was. So before we side this area, I will have to loosen the lag bolts holding the deck to the house, slide some flashing in under there and then bend it so any water goes on the outside of the siding instead of between the siding and the sheathing as it has done here in the past. Because water can't stream in, there hasn't been much damage but with time, it could have done more serious damage.

Finally in this picture, you can see some of the wiring changes to the house while the siding is off. When the house was built, they provided for just a single light on the top side of the deck and there were no electrical outlets on this side of the house. Previous occupants didn't like that so strung up conduit on the outside of the house running power from the above light, down through a hole in the deck to another light below the deck. The conduit continued down to an outlet a foot up from the concrete and the whole circuit was run from a light switch in the upstairs living room. Because we sometimes go out on our deck at night to enjoy the night light, we usually keep the light and thus the outlet below switched off. Thus when a need to use that outlet arises, we have to go inside and turn it on upstairs before coming back out and doing what needed to be done. Of course the entire time you used that outlet, the lights then needed to be on.

So with the siding off, I ripped the conduit from the side of the house and fished new wire down inside the stud cavity so you don't have ugly conduit on the outside of the house to look at anymore. Fortunately for me, I was able to access the cavity between floors from a hallway with a removable panel ceiling. The ceiling that was there when we moved in had been of the permanent nature which is probably why they ran the conduit instead of doing what I did. It was also water logged from a leak which is why I tore it out and since there was plumbing above, put removable and replaceable panels in place should another leak every happen.

Both the lights are still controlled by the light switch upstairs in the living room which is fine with me. Because I like having an outlet on the backside of the house, I cut out the outlet in the bedroom on the other side of the wall and drilled a hole through the wall and ran a new wire. That wire is down near the concrete. It will be on the same circuit as the bedroom on the other side of the wall and will now be on continuously which means no more having to run through the house and flipping a switch every time I needed to use it.


sage said...

You're making a lot of progress. If you become skilled at repairing water damage, you should move to Savannah--I saw so much water damage while looking for a house.

Ed said...

Sage - It doesn't take much skill to fix it, just a lot of cutting and patching. However it does take skill to prevent it from happening again and since this is my first rodeo on a house I owned, we will see if all my built up knowledge on water damage prevention will work.

Leigh said...

I'd groan, but having to fix the mistakes made by previous builders and owners just seems to come with the territory.

Ed said...

Leigh - I chalk it up as a learning curve. Forty years ago when this house was built, they probably built every house that way. These days we are most definitely building houses a whole lot better.