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Window leak - how long to dry out?

Posted by otmsheffield (My Page) on
Fri, Oct 17, 08 at 15:59

A short while ago, we discovered a minor leak at a window that gets the brunt of heavy wind-driven rain. After several weeks of dry, sunny weather, the exterior of the window was recaulked and repainted (the house is brick.) I could detect a musty odor in that room, but dh could not smell it. A dehumidifier was run and the avg. RH stayed about 42% - 45%. Finally, dh agreed that we should cut into the drywall and investigate. We'd only had a couple of light sprinkles since the work was done, so it really hasn't been tested. When we cut out a section of drywall, we found damp insulation. Moisture meter readings of the wood studs ranged from 18% to 25% and there are signs of mildew/mold on the back of a portion of the sheetrock.

Tonight, we plan to remove the sheetrock from the lower 4' of the entire wall (windows cover about 3/4 of the wall), dispose of the insulation, and clean the area with a Borax solution. Afterwards, the plan is to run a larger dehumidifer plus a heater in the closed off room. Our hope is that by Sunday afternoon, we can install new insulation and sheetrock.

Is it reasonable to assume that the current dampness is due to water intrusion before the recaulking? Is it also reasonable to assume that the wall will dry out enough with the help of the heater & dehumidifier to replace the insulation and sheetrock within 36 - 48 hrs. of removing the old damp material? I've gotten conflicting advice about what moisture reading to look for on the wood. Some say 16% max while others say <19% is okay.

Thanks for any help.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Window leak - how long to dry out?

A fan will help more than the heater. Too bad you've re-caulked already. With the interior wall open, I would spray the perimeter of the window with a hose. Leaks are sometimes hard to detect, they can enter some distance from where they are finally detected. Give it a chance to dry completely before you close it up.


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RE: Window leak - how long to dry out?

the damp insulation could well be from teh old leak. after a recent flood we thought we were fine at work once the water receded(only got 2" in most areas though one part got over7" deep). 3 weeks later we opened a wall in one area where the water barely got 2" and found soaked insulation. last week we found a small area we had not opened and it was still wet enough to drip water when we pulled the insulation, and the flood was Sept 3rd!


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RE: Window leak - how long to dry out?

Well, I still haven't found a definitive answer on the wood moisture %, but things are looking up, although the job has taken longer than planned. We tried the hose test as suggested and did not see any moisture intrusion. I hired someone to apply Siloxane to the brick exterior, as an added precaution. The sheetrock was removed, the studs and trim wood cleaned & treated, and a mildewcide applied everywhere. Moisture readings are down dramatically after several days of airing out then running the dehu at night. We're holding off on the new (MR) insulation and drywall until this Saturday because heavy rain is expected Friday and that should be a good test. If all goes well, I hope to have the wall repaired and painted by Monday morning.


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