The inspection was going pretty well, with only a few minor issues as I got to the last room on the second level. I was testing the window and something about the sill caught my eye.
Doesn’t look like much, does it? Just a little gap in the caulking. But there was a bit of a lumpy texture. So I pulled out my sharp probe to check if there was any softness in the framing.
Uh, I think there’s a problem there. The probe slid in with hardly any resistance, and when I pulled it out, I could feel dampness on it, indicating the framing was wet… and there hadn’t been any rain in about four days. The window next to it had the same result. Something was very wrong. So I pulled out the next tool in my arsenal: my moisture meter.
Even with the probes just resting on the sill, the meter showed high moisture. As I moved the tool around the frame, I kept getting readings well into the red zone.
Below the window, the moisture level pegged the meter, indicating a significant water problem behind the drywall. How far down did the problem go? I went to the first level and checked the windows directly below to see if there were any problems there.
The wall above the first level windows was also soaking wet, and rotting. What could have caused this to happen? The house had metal siding that appeared to be in fairly good shape for a 30-year-old structure. So I set my ladder up outside to take a closer look above the first level windows. As soon as I looked above the window trim, I had my answer.
The siding over the top of the window frame was completely sealed. Any water getting behind the siding had no way to drain out, so it simply soaked into the framing and caused it to rot. I also checked the trim over the front door, and it was sealed as well.
Here you can see the wood framing out the outside doesn’t resist the probe at all.
What’s the fix for this? Unfortunately, it’s not going to be simple, or inexpensive. It’s quite likely the entire front of the house will need to have the siding removed, all the framing checked and repaired or replaced, new insulation installed, and new siding put into place.
Water is the archenemy of a house, and it’s only by paying attention to the little things that we can help our clients avoid the big things.Tags: damage, exterior, framing, moisture, rot, siding, water