Do my old walls 'remember' the leaks?

acc0406July 20, 2011

My house was built in 1935. Most of the walls and ceilings are a plaster board coated with two coats of plaster, kind of a precursor to drywall.

About 8 years ago, we had a leak in our upstairs bathroom that damaged the kitchen ceiling below. Later, we remodeled the bathroom and haven't had any obvious leaks since. About 3 years ago we remodeled the kitchen and had the ceiling damage repaired so that it looked like new.

Recently, I've noticed the plaster in the same area starting to bubble and crack. I opened the access panel to the tub and didn't see any obvious signs of water. Am I missing the leak? What else could be causing damage in the same area? Because, I'm having the same issue in a bedroom wall behind the chimney, where we had water coming in years ago and finally had it repaired recently, I'm beginning to wonder if it has to do with the wall board rather than an ongoing leak.

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brickeyee

"Recently, I've noticed the plaster in the same area starting to bubble and crack. I opened the access panel to the tub and didn't see any obvious signs of water. Am I missing the leak?

Check tun caulking and the overflow gasket.

These are two common placers for leaks in tubs.

New water is damaging the plaster.

Once of the first uses of gypsum boards (similar to drywall) was in 16 inch x 48 inch panels that replaced wood lathe for 2 coat plaster work.
Wood lath took three coats to finish a wall, gypsum lathe replaced the wood and the first coat of plaster.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2011 at 2:33PM
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sombreuil_mongrel

I'm thinking perhaps the repair materials were not up to the task, or the substrate had not been properly dealt with and made ready to take the patching compound.
The water-damaged stuff needed to be scraped away to a solid base, and then sealed with bonding agent (Link, or Plasterweld) to be sure it was sound. You can't patch plaster onto a friable substrate.
Casey

    Bookmark   July 20, 2011 at 4:16PM
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