Preventing Potential Moisture Problem in Masonry Walls
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1739watson



Joined: 29 Mar 2011
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Tue Mar 29, 2011 3:47 pm    Post subject: Preventing Potential Moisture Problem in Masonry Walls Reply with quote

We recently bought a house dating from approx. 1880 that has had many modifications over the years. The house started as a one-story frame house and then was raised with a 2nd floor and basement added. The 2nd floor is siding and the 1st floor has a brick veneer. As FYI - we are in the Midwest so we have the temperature extremes.

We are in the middle of a gut renovation of the house. The problem we are grappling with at the moment is on the 1st floor with the brick veneer. I'm attaching a picture of an example of what this area looks like. On the inside we are right down to the brick veneer. The inside had been trashed...been sitting empty for a few years and then had squatters living in it...so we had to tear everything out. The brick is in excellent condition but we are not sure how to provide some type of vapor barrier between the single layer of brick and our insulation and allow for any water condensation to drain away. Since the usual order of things is to work from the inside out but here we are working from the outside in we are unsure of the best option.

Our mason suggested using plastic stapled to the 2x4's but our architect feels that could create condensation issues.

Any suggestions from previous experiences with similar situations would be appreciated!



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TDL



Joined: 13 Dec 2008
Posts: 254

PostPosted: Tue Mar 29, 2011 7:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

From my experience I'd listen to a skilled craftsman over an architect. If there is one person I could eliminate from this industry it would be the architect. They do not have enough in the field experience and are easily persuaded by marketing and corporate bribes. There are some really good architects out there that are expert preservationists but this is not the norm.
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johnleeke
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Joined: 20 Aug 2004
Posts: 3009
Location: Portland, Maine, USA

PostPosted: Wed Mar 30, 2011 6:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Since the house has stood for 130 years, the house itself is proof of what construction details are effective and durable. If you reconstruct the house with the same materials and details it will probably last for another 130 years.

Installing modern materials and systems from the modern building technology will cause conflicts with the traditional building technology systems. I deal with case after case where these conflicts result in problems and limit the life of the systems and the building.

To decide where (or if) a vapor barrier should go in the wall you have to consider the exterior climate and weather, interior heat and moisture, and how heat and moisture will travel through the wall and throughout the building.

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