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Brown liquid dripping down over exterior of house


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Yesterday I was called to look at a house that had a Coca-Cola colored stain along one area of one exterior wall. The majority of the stain had already been cleaned off but I could see traces of what was there. Too bad I couldn’t see the original pattern of the stain or the actual substance before they cleaned it. The little that was left was hard to the touch - not gummy.

The house is a 2-story colonial, 11 years old, siding is horizontally oriented and painted cedar clapboard, and it is located in Redding, Connecticut. The stained area is on the west side gable wall from not quite the top of the roof, extending to the ground and about 10 feet wide. There is a 12 or 15-inch roof overhang on this gabled side.

The owner first noticed the stain back in December after a heavy rain. It has not appeared anyplace else or any other time.

When I entered the attic I immediately noticed drip spots on the floor and rusted roofing nails. Further observation revealed an excess of mold on the roof and wall sheathing covering about 200 square feet. This is in the corner of the attic adjacent to the affected exterior wall. Sure enough, the master bath exhaust fan was exhausting into the attic space beneath the attic floor deck plywood directly below this area.

I did not get onto the roof to check there for something that could be dripping SIDEWAYS off of it.

There have been no new appearances of the staining since.

How likely is it that the humidity in the attic is permeating the sidewall and creating something that is leaching out through the siding and dripping down the side of the house (assuming a typical wall structure there: plywood, building paper and siding)? Or, can anyone offer another possibility…

Thanks for your input.

Bob Camarda

Cornerstone Building Inspection

Fairfield, CT

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Originally posted by bobcamarda

. . . How likely is it that the humidity in the attic is permeating the sidewall and creating something that is leaching out through the siding and dripping down the side of the house (assuming a typical wall structure there: plywood, building paper and siding)? Or, can anyone offer another possibility…

Thanks for your input.

Bob Camarda

Cornerstone Building Inspection

Fairfield, CT

It's extremely likely. I think you've nailed it. I frequently see the coca-cola staining thing on the siding. Every time it's been a humidity/condensation issue. Around here, it's very common in houses from the '50s & '60s on the exterior side of the bathroom wall. In newer homes, it's usually a misplaced bath vent.

Nice description of the problem, by the way.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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I did a lot of building with cedar. The brown staining is probably tannin acid. It is what gives Cedar its rot resistance. It is not unuasal to have this staining on lighter colored stains. Moisture migrating out from the back side of the claboards will make this normal condition worse. This as you surmized is what you are seeing on this house.

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Check the lumber stamp (S-GRN? Surfaced 'green', i.e., not kiln-dried). Also check other things that could pump moisture up to the attic (water penetration into basements, perimeter drains that are open at perimeter, high water table, humidifiers, a lot of shower use, dryer exhaust terminus). Sounds like tannins leaching out. How about the paint...was it peeling off?

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The stuff I see isn't from tannins. While I see it on old cedar siding, I also see it on old fir siding.

And lately, I'm seeing exactly the same stuff on Hardiplank. I think it has more to do with asphalt from the tar in the felt paper.

Here are some pics from a house I inspected in mid February. The house is six years old.

This stuff ain't tannin.

- Jim Katen

Download Attachment: icon_photo.gif Stains 1.JPG

51.16 KB

Download Attachment: icon_photo.gif Stains 2.JPG

66.98 KB

Download Attachment: icon_photo.gif Stains 3 w Mushrooms.JPG

97.22 KB

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I have had some trouble with Protecto Wrap. This is a rubber based self sticking product that comes in rolls in 6" to 12" widths. It is real similiar to Ice and Water Shield but a heavier product. We would use this as a sealant over the flanges of the windows. I found that on a hot summer day that the product would break down and leak out a black substance.

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Originally posted by Rob Amaral

What else can you tell us about that place with the stains and Hardiplank? Weird.. Moisture issue indoors? Were you able to get at the gable ends (if any)?

The bath fan exhaust was ducted to the eave vent. That might have been part of the problem. Otherwise, the situation is exactly like what I see on '50s houses. Brown, syrup-like stains streaking down the siding on the exterior wall of the bathroom.

Given that this one had mushrooms growing out from between the siding planks, I told them to remove the siding in this area. My hunch is that the OSB sheathing is a mess underneath.

I never heard what happened.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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Originally posted by mwg27

Jim,

Is the use of tar or felt paper predominant in new construction in your area? Around here we get tyvek house wraps and our staining (normally through vinyl) results from improper fasteners being used on the wrap...

Maybe not predominant, but many of the builders are returning to it after bad experiences with Tyvek. Felt is cheaper, faster, more forgiving and, in the end, seems to work better. Did I say it was cheaper?

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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Originally posted by Jim Katen

Originally posted by mwg27

Jim,

Is the use of tar or felt paper predominant in new construction in your area? Around here we get tyvek house wraps and our staining (normally through vinyl) results from improper fasteners being used on the wrap...

Maybe not predominant, but many of the builders are returning to it after bad experiences with Tyvek. Felt is cheaper, faster, more forgiving and, in the end, seems to work better. Did I say it was cheaper?

- Jim Katen, Oregon

Then we'll see its return here shortly, I'd imagine...[;)]

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  • 6 years later...

Ok so I see he post is old but hope to get a response. So I have the same stuff on the side of my house. My house was just built in September and the North side has 3 "runs" down the side that look just like it (thanks for the pics). I am not sure what building code is (have to look) but it appears the bathroom exhaust fan isn't piped outside just into the attic so I agree it is some sort of condesation going to the outside. My question now is what is the proper fix?

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Have them install a rain cap with a male extension through the roof and connect the bath fan to the rain cap with an insulated connector; not an uninsulated foil or plastic connector. Don't allow them to leave any dips in the connector that will collect water and eventually overflow and flow back.

Make sure whoever does it knows how to keep the roof singles in proper drainage plane around the rain cap. If the word 'caulk' comes out of his mouth, get someone else - those can be installed completely caulk free and never leak.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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  • 8 months later...

I have a house built in 1983 with Seletex? sheeting and masonite horizontal siding. As soon as it gets cold outside, i also get that brown liquid coming out from the siding. it is the worst around the two bathrooms. To go with this, I have noticed the bottom 3 or 4 siding planks to have rusty nails, and you can see the siding bowing a bit higher up on the wall. The colder it gets (42 in the attic this morning) the higher the humidity which was 65%. No roof leaks, bathrooms vented, i put in a new ridge vent and increased the size of the soffit vents to increase flow. there are no water pipes or anything in the attic.. I will say that the house is constructed as follows: drywall, then sheet plastic, then the insulation &framing, seletex, and siding. I have already spent a ton of cash trying to figure this. also replaced all of the insulation in the attic as well. Al of the contractors around here give me a different answer...Oh yeah, the interior house humidity is never higher than 40-45% if that helps.

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I have a house built in 1983 with Seletex? sheeting and masonite horizontal siding. As soon as it gets cold outside, i also get that brown liquid coming out from the siding. it is the worst around the two bathrooms. To go with this, I have noticed the bottom 3 or 4 siding planks to have rusty nails, and you can see the siding bowing a bit higher up on the wall. The colder it gets (42 in the attic this morning) the higher the humidity which was 65%. No roof leaks, bathrooms vented, i put in a new ridge vent and increased the size of the soffit vents to increase flow. there are no water pipes or anything in the attic.. I will say that the house is constructed as follows: drywall, then sheet plastic, then the insulation &framing, seletex, and siding. I have already spent a ton of cash trying to figure this. also replaced all of the insulation in the attic as well. Al of the contractors around here give me a different answer...Oh yeah, the interior house humidity is never higher than 40-45% if that helps.

My bet would be on the plastic sheeting. It is holding the moisture in the wall cavity. The Celotex substrate if it is the one I recall acts as a moisture barrier so whatever moisture is caught in the wall cavity will remain. I know that in many parts of North America the plastic sheeting is used but only in much colder areas of the country. Whenever I find plastic sheeting behind the drywall in the areas I inspect I almost always find moisture problems associated with it.

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ok, so short of tearing down all the walls is there a fix? I had a guy use a moisture meter, and it was dry in the drywall, and on both sides of the plastic sheeting.. the inside of the Celotec was dry but as he pushed it through towards the outside.. the meter pegged bout half way through celotex. so it's weird that the inside walls are dry, but the moisture seems to be between the celotec and the siding.. The hunidity in the house is great and never overly high. I have 2 little boys, so its the mold that worries me.

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unsure.. we bought the house 4 years ago. it was freshly painted. didn't notice this till after we a really bad winter back in 2010. it seems very daunting of a job and really expensive to fix.. got a quote for redoing all of the siding and rewrapping house for about 40k.. no way i can do that..

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Hi,

What kind of Celotex is used behind the siding - foil-faced foam or Blue Ridge fiberboard? The Blue Ridge fiberboard is made from post consumer waste and is bonded with a vegetable starch material.

It sounds like extractive bleeding. Moisture-laden air from the interior is diffusing outward. It reaches the celotex and cools to dew point. When enough accumulates, it drips down the wall behind the siding and extracts color from the sheathing or any asphalt-based felt water resistant barrier between the sheathing and the siding.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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blue ridge fiberboard i believe.. Wouldn't the plastic vapor barrier prevent the moisture inside from permeating through though? And again the inside humidity levels are fine. Woke up this morning my attic temp was 44 with 69% humidity?? dry as a bone outside, I think its all a related issue, but have no clue even where to start.

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