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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2012

    Default Brick exterior moisture barrier from the inside?

    I am trying to find information on the best way to replace a moisture barrier between a brick exterior wall and the interior of the house. We had a leak in the front of the house that drove water into the wall and ultimately resulted in mold. We are well into the remediation process but have come to a screeching halt due to the lack of contractors in the area wanting to do small jobs.
    While Servepro was conducting the mold removal it was determined that the lower 4' of moisture barrier needed to go. Once removed we found that the studs were rotted on the side where they were previously in contact with the barrier board. Now we are faced with replacing the studs and the barrier. I have a lot of experience with framing so the stud portion is not an issue. I don't, however, have any experience working with brick walls, masonry or the moisture barrier board that was in place.
    The house was built in 1969, so I am assuming that there may be a better/easier to install product on the market by now. I am also curious if there are any structural integrity issues due to the gap that was created between the studs and the exterior brick when the moisture barrier was removed.

    Thanks for any help or ideas,

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Portland, Oregon, formerly of Chicago

    Unhappy Re: Brick exterior moisture barrier from the inside?

    OK, I am completely beyond my area of expertise here but:
    Am I correct in thinking the walls are being opened up from the inside and that we are ending up looking at the back side of the bricks? If so, I can see that it would be difficult to work a ridgid barrier back into the void. Would not a closed cell foam sprayed into the void form a new vapor barrier as will as supply great insulation?

    Just a thought. Perhaps some of the carpentry contractors here would have an opinion?

    I ran across an interesting condition a few years ago. I had to remove a Mylar wallpaper wallpaper from a living room wall. Mylar is that absolutely impervious plastic that balloons are made from. Moisture will NOY go through it. It soon became obvious that the wall was thoroughly wet. I could pole my finger through the drywall. The insulation was wet and several studs were rotting. Apparently, a very porous variety of brick had been passing moisture into the wall and the Mylar was trapping it in the wall! We had to replace several studs and all the insulation. The homeowners were advised to seal the outside of the brick and not hang any vapor barrier wall coverings on that wall again.

    Something similar is now very controversial in the building industry. For the last few years it has been the practice to line interior walls with heavy, non-porous plastic right behind the dry wall. Now it is feared that a country full of newer homes might be vulnerable to something similar to the above situation. The homes in hot, humid areas where air-conditioning is heavily used might be trapping moist air which is trying to migrate into the cooler, drier interior air, and then condensating on the cool backside of the drywall.
    There are documented cases where the condensation was so severe, it wet the carpet inside the homes!

    I have plastic behind my walls Fortunately, Portland's summers are very dry.

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