I have been having some problems with ice/water on the framed part of my wall in the daylight walkout basement. I am not sure where water is coming from since I did not have any leaks in the basement when it rained in the summer. When I just went outside to see if I could see anything, I see down where the foundation meets the framed wall in the basement is a huge brown icicle which appears to be coming from behind my siding! I felt the siding and it appears that there is ice or something behind the sideing. This house is 1 year new. Anybody have any ideas what is going on here. I also noticed that the walkout basement door has some sort of brown looking moisture that had dripped recently and it appears to be coming from behind the vinyl siding. I need some help here to avoid some serious problems.
Might there be a window directly above the place where you see the icicle? The reason I ask this is because, often, water behind the siding happens when there isn't proper flashing above a window.
Another possible cause could be that, somehow, the framed basement wall has two vapor retarders, and moisture is condensing on the outer vapor retarder, which could be a rigid foam insulating board, or an insulating board or sheathing which has a foil face, or something of that nature.
A wall in a northern climate should have only one vapor retarder, which should always be on the winter warm side of the wall.
Architect (NY) and Home Designer (PA)
Thank you for the reply Richard.There is not a window on that wall. As far as more than one vapor retarder I am not sure. On the inside of the wall is insulation covered by plastic. I recently removed the insulation and plastic from one area of the wall and reomoved a couple of inches of ice. Last night I could see water seeping through the plywood of the wall and near the studs was starting to turn to ice. I am not sure what is going on here. RH in the basement is on 35%.
I wish I could be of more help. Is there a good local contractor you can trust, who you could ask to examine your wall? I've exhausted all my guesses.
Architect (NY) and Home Designer (PA)
I have seenthis caused by water not going into the gutter shingles short water going in back of gutter into the overhang down the wall in back of siding showing up on the wall below the siding. Check the gutters and shingles to see if they hang over and let the water into it.
My questions is: Is this a 1 story house? I have seen where a hidden roof leak could cause this. email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or go to www.restinpeacebugs.com Thanks.
If you have a power humidifer in the house on the furnace and its set to high you may have excessive condensation within the wall. Like Richard said a Dbbl vapor barrer can cause this, also no vapor barrier as well.
Please discribe the exterior of the house in this area. What kind of siding do you have? Also is there any baths where plumbing drains may be leaking within the walls?
One way, or another, water is probably getting behind the siding. The brown color either is from the wood, or the backer board, beneath the siding, or, possibly, from leaching of "tar" paper under the siding, since water is normally clear. Your having removed the vapor barrier, then the insulation (in that order, I hope) from the inside, and having seen ice at the plywood, confirms the foregoing, since there would be no vapor transpiration through a properly-installed 6-mil polyethylene vapor barrier, unless it was damaged. 35% Relative Humidity is not a problem with a properly detailed insulation/vapor barrier assembly. It should be easy to eliminate burst waterpipes from the equation, which would leak at all times, under all conditions. Having done so, I would next explore the same wall from the interior, perhaps by removing a section of baseboard, cutting away a section of drywall which would normally be hidden by the baseboard, then moving aside the insulation, to see if the drywall, the insulation, the bottom plate, or the inner surface of the plywood thus exposed, is wet. If so, again assuming that the insulation and vapor barrier were properly installed, then the water is coming in from above. It could be poor flashing, wind-driven rain ingress, an overflowing gutter, a roof leak, or any number of other sources of moisture.
As suggested, if you are not comfortable doing these things yourself, then hire someone competant, whom you trust. I would first, however, approach the builder, on a "one year new" house, and register my complaint with him, giving him opportunity to correct, under warranty, a problem which he may be unaware of, assuming that he is honest and conscientious. Photograph and document everything, with names, locations, dates and times, with observations as to weather and temperature conditions. If your builder is honest, he will attempt to find and fix the problem. If he's not, then the documentation will be essential in a court case.
My first thought is also my last thought. Get the builder involved, immediately. Your house is under warrant.
This one is going to be totally different than all the rest.Your problem reminded me of my own ...Could your brown ice cycles be hornets nest.If it,s winter in Maine there will not be any hornets living in them, just this long brown icicle shape.And yes they would absolutely nest behind your siding.Also the wet brown stuff could very well be wood bees.They also leave residue of this sort behind.They are the big ugly bees that buzz slowly around you than dart off at warp speed.When they nest up under the siding brown yukky stuff drips down from there hole.Let me know if this is what your problem is.Debby
Something isn't clear here. How would piercing of the sheathing allow water to penetrate the siding? How is the siding installed, if not nailed through into the sheathing?
Architect (NY) and Home Designer (PA)
Having been burned by a contractor here in Maine, I must suggest that you visit the State website - Maine.gov. I'm not saying that you had a bad contractor or real estate agent, but you need to know what everyone's obligations are (and were) at the time of sale or during & after construction.
Please navigate to the Consumer Protection section, which will be under the "Family and Home" tab.
Read Chapters 17, 18 and 20 of the Maine Consumer Law Guide. Those chapters are titled "Consumer Rights when constructing or repairing your home", "Attorney General's Model Home Construction Contract" and "Consumer Rights when you buy a home".
You can also access these chapters under the "Housing and Utilities" section of the Family & Home tab.
Arm & educate yourself before you make a call to your contractor or real estate agent.
And consider getting a home inspection done, if one wasn't part of the real estate transaction. If you had an inspection, CALL THEM FIRST. They have some explaining to do, and an obligation to. If you didn't have an inspection, may I suggest the company I used. They are excellent and in our area of the state. Marc Sirois of Hometeam Inspection Service: HomeTeam Inspection. You won't be sorry for the unbiased professional opinion.
It sounds like greg johns has the right idea.
I have seen similar situations where ice dams in the gutters cause water to back-up under the soffits and run down the walls under the siding.
The brown color could come from the tar paper and the water freezes when it comes back out from under the siding. hope your builder can confirm that or find/fix the problem.
Is it possible you simply have a dryer, bathroom, or air exchanger vent that did not have a vent kit installed on the extreior and is discharging humid air behind your vinyl siding and causing this issue ?
You don't happen to have baseboard hot water heat, do you? I know this sounds farfetched, but I had a solder joint fail on a a baseboard heat element, and the first place it showed up was outside with water running out of the bottom of the siding. Barring that, I would look for a roof leak. If you have plastic vapor barrier in the ceiling as well as the walls, then a roof leak may be making it's way to the outside wall. Good luck!!
Have seen similar when homeowner does not bleed off their outside faucet and/or sprinkler system. Water in faucet freezes and ice forms back into the pipe going through wall. Faucet and/or pipe crack in the wall, and water leaks out from under siding. In many communities, the municipal water dept is NOT responsible for any pipe issues on the homeowner side of the CURB BOX (usually at the edge of the street), except for the meter itself. In any case, they are never responsible for improper maintenance. So if this is what happened, you usually need to have it repaired at your own expense. Good luck!
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