Need house advice - recurring mystery water leak (LONG)

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by CapnSharpe, Jul 14, 2002.

  1. CapnSharpe

    CapnSharpe Stunt Coordinator

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    When I purchased my house in October, 2000, there was a mystery water leak by the fireplace that the previous homeowners claimed to have no knowledge of (ya right). [​IMG]
    The fireplace is a metal pre-fab job, so there's no brick or mortar to be concerned about and it's fairly easy to see what is sealed and what's not. (Link removed due to Yahoo bandwidth constraints)
    I had the roof around the chimney literally re-done TWICE by two different roofers and I had the chimney caulked THREE times. The second roofer found that there was no felt or tar paper around the chimney - it looked like the builders ran short and just nailed the shingles in, out of sight out of mind. The second roofer applied the tar/felt paper, reshingled and resealed the areas around the flashing and chimney. There hasn't been a leak for over a year (not counting the debris that hit the chimney during Tropical Storm Allison and caused another seal to break, hence the third sealer - some odd silverly stuff on the chimney proper).
    Yesterday, during a rain storm with wind-driven horizontal rain, the leak came back. I can't see anything around the chimney that suggests there is a leak there - all the caulking looks good to me. The flashing is a little rusty, but no where nearly enough to let water in.
    Unfortunately that's the not the end of the story. I also had to have a french drain installed by that corner of the house due to very bad drainage that apparently can't be solved by re-grading the itty bitty backyard. Today I found out that the french drain is clogged with mud and didn't work during yesterday's rainstorms. Also, one side of the ditch appears to be either collapsing or flowing into the french drain, through the rocks. The landscaper said he would come back out and do some "maintenance" on the french drain.
    Could the french drain back up and cause a leak identical to what I used to see when the roof leaked? There's no drywall damage - whatever is happening is occurring behind the drywall without damaging it.
    Is there something I have overlooked that could cause a leak around the chimney? The only other oddity is that the rain magically came through my storm door and hit the back door, but the floor around the back door is dry.
     
  2. Todd Hochard

    Todd Hochard Cinematographer

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    I'm not totally clear on where you see the water at (and I can't view the pic- you gotta love Yahoo's bandwidth limits), but-

    I had a leak in the front of my home that confounded me for a few years. The wall(at the bottom) and carpet in the closet were soggy, but for the life of me, I couldn't figure out where the water was coming from. I finally noted that water was pooling in that corner of the house outside, and it was wicking up the concrete block, and then soaking into the drywall/carpet from the outside. I did two things-
    1. I installed a gutter to redirect water from that corner.
    2. I regraded the soil to keep water from pooling against the house.

    Your story of the French drain may be something similar to what I have.

    If you have any water pooling on the outside, in the general vicinity of where the leak is, consider that pool as your source.

    Todd
     
  3. CapnSharpe

    CapnSharpe Stunt Coordinator

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    The water is appear by the baseboard between the corner fireplace and the backdoor - an area that offers lots of potential explanations. The french drain has me a little freaked out. It's obviously not working and allowing rain to pool up into it. Problem is, the landscaper put the drain at the same level as the foundation footing. There's a stair step crack growing nearby indicating that the house sinking - possibly because of the non-functional french drain. Naturally the landscaper is much too busy to come out and fix his problem before Tuesday or Wednesday. In the meantime, it's started raining again. More opporunities for more damage. I wish I'd never bought a house in this god-awful Enron state. [​IMG] [​IMG]
     

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