moisture damage and plaster

lilly_2010March 12, 2010

Our home was build in 1938. Before we moved in it was gutted, everything looked new. There were no cracks in the plaster and the paint was fresh. After living in the home for two years, we have cracks everywhere; the paint is peeling off in sheets in places and bubbling in others; a portion of the skim coat of plaster is lifting above the fireplace; the paint is peeling off of the woodwork and, the issue that concerns me most is that in a few places on the exterior walls at the top of the wall, where the wall meets the crown molding, there are water stains and the plaster feels very damp.

The home is brick and it doesn't appear as though the exterior walls are insulated. Up until 4 weeks ago we had original single pain windows in the down stairs.

Can anyone make a suggestion on how to deal with these issues. Especially the moisture/water.

I've done remodelling in other homes, but that involved drywall not plaster.

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So the house was "gutted" by someone else? Then they replaced plaster with plaster? And now everything is cracking--and when it's not cracking it's wet to boot?

    Bookmark   March 12, 2010 at 1:05PM
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All of the renovations were done by someone else right before we purchased the house. We weren't involved in the renovations.

Some of the plaster has been replaced with drywall. However all of the exterior walls still have plaster.

It's cracking in lots of places throughout the house; however there are only two spots that look like they are being caused by moisture. One above the fireplace and the other is above a window in a bedroom

    Bookmark   March 12, 2010 at 3:10PM
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Start checking the roof and outside of the house for water entry points.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2010 at 5:00PM
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Our 1918 house has brick walls, no insulation, single pane windows, original plaster AND... no cracks.

As brickeyee suggests, check for water.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2010 at 9:23PM
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Ditto on checking the roof, particularly the chimney flashing. Most of the damage sounds water related.

Depending on how bad the cracking is, it could be from many causes. My bet is that the renovation covered up lots of surface defects with patching and heavy coats of paint. Now the real surface is coming through. Other causes could be structural changes the prior renovators undertook, normal or abnormal settlement, or simply repainting the plaster in a lighter colour that highlights the natural imperfections.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2010 at 9:01AM
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Are you sure no insulation was added to the exterior walls during renovation? The symptoms suggest added insulation with no vapor barrier on the warm side to me. It doesn't seem likely that water infiltration from exterior leakage would have shown up in so many different places and forms.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2010 at 5:54AM
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This is a serious matter and deserves the attention of a professional even if it is just a home inspector or a local contractor. I would be especially interested in the installation details of the new windows.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2010 at 8:09PM
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its a water damage and its a serious matter cause it can damage the whole property. just check that there is any leakage? if it is so then fix it. and do consult with an expert or water damage restoration company, which can provide all the needed services.
if there is moisture then it can grow moulds. moulds are a kind of fungus and are bad for health.
try to sort out this problem ASAP.

Good Luck!


Here is a link that might be useful: Flood Damage Repair

    Bookmark   June 25, 2010 at 9:36AM
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"if there is moisture then it can grow moulds. "

Can you use the moulds for Jello?


The water damage companies are not all the useful for this type of work.

They deal with flooding and major leak damage, not slow damage from outside the building envelope.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2010 at 8:00AM
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