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Dovetail Greene
Dovetail Greene, General Contractor
Category: Home Improvement
Satisfied Customers: 387
Experience:  Licensed Building Contractor & Certified Building Designer
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Problem with moisture in wall near windows. Stucco house, painted

Customer Question

Problem with moisture in wall near windows. Stucco house, painted 3 times, Thompson Water Seal around one window without much improvement.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Home Improvement
Expert:  Dovetail Greene replied 2 years ago.
Good morning.
My name's Kel.
Are there signs of water intrusion on the interior? Like brown stains?
If so are the leaks on all sides or just one?
How,old is you home?
Are they original windows or replacements?
Do,all the windows have metal flashing on the top which protrudes slightly?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
The house is 15 years old in Jacksonville, Florida. I do not see any discoloration inside or on the outside stucco. Some windows register more moisture on one side than the other. The entire community has had problems with fogged windows and I have replaced glass in several. Two past roof leaks have been repaired, and the roof is about 5-6 years old. The window I have been following had paint fall off the wall near its base. That is when the roof was repaired.
I do not know the window frame material. There is little overhang. The repair people resealed the outside of the window near where there was a roof leak. The base board was removed for a drying unit two years ago. I have been monitoring the area yearly. In February the company applied Thompson Water Seal around the window. He could not see any visible cracks, for that matter anywhere on the house.
Expert:  Dovetail Greene replied 2 years ago.
When you write there's a moisture problem in the wall -- that could have one of two,sources or both.
I was thinking rain, but it could also be poor or missing insulation, poorly performing glazing or lack of a vapor retarder.
Has any building professional confirmed there's a vapor retarder on the outside of the wall under the sheathing? Could be insulation board with aluminum skins or poly sheeting. Without a vapor retarder warm moist air penetrates the wall and condenses when it hits the cooler surfaces inside the wall. The moisture then Mats the insulation further degrading the performance. Have any of your neighbors who had the same builder discovered any problems like that?
Has anyone tested the internal moisture levels in the wall surrounding the window with a moisture meter?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Unaware of neighbors with issue, but suspect they have not checked. I had the roof leak and have checked since repair. Moisture meter not picking up moisture above windows or farther along the wall. I have not had anyone else in to confirm any construction issues.
The community tried to sue the builder over numerous fogged windows, but we're too late in filing the issue.
There is the concern in finding someone to follow up, who just wants to create extra work.
Need to know who to call next.
Expert:  Dovetail Greene replied 2 years ago.
There are two possibilities with fogging windows. Either the seals are failing and their performance is,radically diminished or they were poor quality windows to begin with. The windows need to have a sufficient insulating value so warm moist air doesn't condense on them from the cooler air conditioned side.
As far as who to call next -- restoration contractors like Servpro or Servicemaster have a lot of experience drying out buildings and repairing them. You need one that's strong in building science to diagnose the problem and define a solution. That's harder to come by. Both organizations are national franchises. You can call and describe your problem and see what kind of answer you get. Regardless of who does the work make sure there's some sort,of performance guarantee in the contract.
Some remodeling contractors are good at solving these problems. Check out Angie's List for candidate firms.
If you'd like a professional to do an assessment and write a scope of work do an online search for 'environmental hygienist'. They won't up sell you. You'll be their client not a customer.
Does this make sense?
Have I answered your question?