Leak Detection

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Can anyone help with this. Water is seeping into the house we just bought. There is no sign of visible water on the ceiling or wall area. No window or door on the wall. It comes in on the floor area under the base boards every time there is a hard rain. This is a wood frame house, built in 1990, had a new roof 2years ago, but we don't know who put in on. We caulked all visible cracks outside in the stucco, and the expansion joint. Sprayed the hose at the ground area where the water first appears and soaked the ground, but still no water came in during the test. We had an inspection before we bought it, that included a roof inspection, they did not report anything wrong. Of course they didn't report a lot of problems we later uncovered. We don't know what to do to find where this water is coming from.
This is our first home, and its turned into a nightmare.
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On Sep 1, 8:10 pm, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

You need more help than some half baked home inspector can give you. You will need a structural engineer or architect to really get at the root of the problem. Expect to pay some serious wages to these people, but with their documentation it may be possible to recover damages from the gypsies that peddled the place to you. If you are budget constrained, then the other alternative is to bail out, and document your losses for 2009 taxes. Bad site grading is a leading cause of water leaks. Unless you are in an arid area, you may even be living over an old intermittent aquifer. There will likely be collateral damage in the form of mold since this is probably not a unique event. Sadly, the situation doesn't seem amanable to easy solutions, but you could get lucky.
Joe
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On Sep 1, 6:10 pm, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

How about some more information....
general location of the home photo of the leaking area (outside, at grade, roof & any flashing in this area)
any doors or windows in this area?
leaks during a hard rain might indicate a flashing problem or if the water pools near the slab, bad surface drainage (poor grading)
when you say hard rain..... thunderstorm? an inch in an hour?
cheers Bob
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No doors or windows in the area. No major water pooling there either, though the back patio on the other wall does have poor grading, and the patio roof leaks, but the water does not seem to come in from that side. And where it does first appear, is way down the other wall on the side of the house which is away from the patio. Heavy rain, that lasts about 1 hour is what it takes to have water appear.
To answer some questions asked by others about photos and our location: We do have some on our website about our horror story and the sorry inspection we had, www.badhomeinspections.info
Also this is a single story, wood frame/stucco. We're in So.Florida. The hurricane brewing in the Atlantic is making this urgent. So we're going to call a leak detection professional and see what they have to say.
Still interested in any input from here though. Thanks for the responses.
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Maybe putting some photos of the your yard and the outside of your house on your website would help. That may help people here see how the ground is graded, whether there are flower gardens etc. near the house that trap water, etc.
Also, when it rains, are there puddles on the ground near your house or does the water run off away from the house?

No doors or windows in the area. No major water pooling there either, though the back patio on the other wall does have poor grading, and the patio roof leaks, but the water does not seem to come in from that side. And where it does first appear, is way down the other wall on the side of the house which is away from the patio. Heavy rain, that lasts about 1 hour is what it takes to have water appear.
To answer some questions asked by others about photos and our location: We do have some on our website about our horror story and the sorry inspection we had, www.badhomeinspections.info
Also this is a single story, wood frame/stucco. We're in So.Florida. The hurricane brewing in the Atlantic is making this urgent. So we're going to call a leak detection professional and see what they have to say.
Still interested in any input from here though. Thanks for the responses.
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Re: Leak Detection:

Judging from some of the damage shown by some of the photos, it looks to me like a drainage problem allowing water to accumulate at the base of the exterior walls. From there it seeps into the house.
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On Sep 2, 7:03 am, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

The photos on the website helped.......
They are good detail photos, photos showing the "lay of the land" would also help.
But from 2600+ miles here's my best guess, looks to me like a site drainage is the issue...not the roof
like standing in a shallow puddle, your shoes eventually will "leak" & allow water to seep in

no water intrusion with a light rain?
this is not a new problem, it has existed for a long time and unless the problem was disclosed, constitutes fraud.
the husband of the previous owner died during the process of selling the home???? When was the disclosure signed & when did he die?
previous owner pleads poverty? what about the proceeds of the sale?
The sale is pretty fresh, I would seriously consider "un-winding" the sale. The realtor should have known the condition of the property, Century 21 has resources & the inspection company better have E&O insurance.
I hate to say this because the results are usually expensive & poor........
figure out what outcome you want ......
as my first attorney told me, there is very little justice....only money
How much would make you "happy"?
unwind the sale? a $5,000 check? a $10,000 check?
you have to know what you'll settle for before you make your claim, you'll only get one chance
Century 21 would likely cough up their commission in exchange for a release of liability. Was there only one realty firm?
Pay a lawyer to write a letter to all parties involved stating you position, your desires & your claim.
what is the limit in FL small claims court? You have three parties maybe you can sue each one cheaply in small claims & recover a small amount from each.
Personally I would have never purchased that property, unless I was getting a very good deal and then maybe not. Low lying structures are a PITA and I avoid them like the plague.
The AC unit noise was a real "miss" by the inspector. How much did the AC "fix" cost & did the tech give any indication of the units overall condition? Consider a small claims action against the inspector for some portion of this cost.
You don't need a leak detection company....you don't have a "leak". Water builds up around the house & seeps in.
You need to improve the property surface drainage, either do it yourself (if you understand the issue & can do it) or get a good landscaper to do it.
btw as CR mentioned stucco works in conjuction with tar paper....paint is of little use.
good luck Bob Bob

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clipped

stucco on lath. It is stucco on concrete block, then paint.
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I just noticed the following on the OP's website about this house purchase:
1) "This is our horror story of a short sale, and an inspection done poorly for a home we just purchased in West Palm Beach, FL."...,
2) "On 8/22, we had a building inspector from the county do an inspection on the roof because we found that there was an open permit and it needed to be closed."...,
3) "While he was there, the inspector noted that the water that was not draining away from the house and patio but significantly downward, toward it."
I assume you didn't have an attorney representing you in this transaction. If you did, the attorney should have included info in the agreement of sale regarding any open permits. It would also have been a good idea for the OP to check on his/her own with the town regarding any violations or open permits.
Since it was a short sale, the sellers had to walk away with zero money after the sale. Otherwise, the mortgage holder(s) would not have agreed to a short sale. They don't accept short sale offers where the seller gets ANY money out of the deal.
I don't know who picked or suggested the home inspection company, but it does look like they did a poor job on the home inspection. Nevertheless, you probably have little or no recourse against the home inspector. You'll see that if you look at all of the disclaimers you had to sign to get the home inspection.
You probably have little recourse against the sellers, especially if the husband is now deceased. You won't be able to prove his state of mind when signing the disclosure form, so you won't be able to prove any intent to defraud you on his part. You can forget about going after his estate because, if they had to do a short sale, there probably are no assets ion the estate or the estate debts exceed any assets that may be there.
You probably have little or no recourse against the Realtor because they got a sellers' disclosure statement signed, plus you had your own home inspection done by a "professional" home inspector. The Realtor is not a building inspector, and the Realtor saw what you or anyone else would see when looking at the property.
None of the problems with the property were hidden problems that you could not have seen or discovered on your own or with the help of a competent home inspector. One huge problem, for example, was readily visible to the town's building inspector -- the problem with drainage going toward the house instead of away from it.
Once the deal closed, all of the prior contracts and disclosures "merged" with the deed, meaning all defects etc. became your problem as the new owner -- absent some major intentional fraud.
My suggestion is to chalk it up as a bad learning experience, get the problems fixed, and move on. My guess is that the drainage problem is fixable -- maybe by regrading, or creating swales, etc. to drain the water away from the house -- but no one can tell that from here without more info or better outside photos. Are there ANY parts of the property that are lower than the grade level at or near the house?
Good luck.
The photos on the website helped.......
They are good detail photos, photos showing the "lay of the land" would also help.
But from 2600+ miles here's my best guess, looks to me like a site drainage is the issue...not the roof
like standing in a shallow puddle, your shoes eventually will "leak" & allow water to seep in

no water intrusion with a light rain?
this is not a new problem, it has existed for a long time and unless the problem was disclosed, constitutes fraud.
the husband of the previous owner died during the process of selling the home???? When was the disclosure signed & when did he die?
previous owner pleads poverty? what about the proceeds of the sale?
The sale is pretty fresh, I would seriously consider "un-winding" the sale. The realtor should have known the condition of the property, Century 21 has resources & the inspection company better have E&O insurance.
I hate to say this because the results are usually expensive & poor........
figure out what outcome you want ......
as my first attorney told me, there is very little justice....only money
How much would make you "happy"?
unwind the sale? a $5,000 check? a $10,000 check?
you have to know what you'll settle for before you make your claim, you'll only get one chance
Century 21 would likely cough up their commission in exchange for a release of liability. Was there only one realty firm?
Pay a lawyer to write a letter to all parties involved stating you position, your desires & your claim.
what is the limit in FL small claims court? You have three parties maybe you can sue each one cheaply in small claims & recover a small amount from each.
Personally I would have never purchased that property, unless I was getting a very good deal and then maybe not. Low lying structures are a PITA and I avoid them like the plague.
The AC unit noise was a real "miss" by the inspector. How much did the AC "fix" cost & did the tech give any indication of the units overall condition? Consider a small claims action against the inspector for some portion of this cost.
You don't need a leak detection company....you don't have a "leak". Water builds up around the house & seeps in.
You need to improve the property surface drainage, either do it yourself (if you understand the issue & can do it) or get a good landscaper to do it.
btw as CR mentioned stucco works in conjuction with tar paper....paint is of little use.
good luck Bob Bob
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Thanks for the input on legal recouse. I made another post that addresses my thought on that. We are looking into it. But actually the two contractors that came today said the property slopes up from the street which they said is more important and where a flood would occur. I was focusing on the back yard, it does puddle a little back there and come onto the porch, but not the area of the leak. So that's one thing I will take down off the website, I thought it was more of a problem than it appears to be.
The air conditioner is 5 years old. Which we thought should be fine. The paid the tech $100, he charged it with freon, and said there's no way to really know how long this unit can last, to just wait and see. But the leak detection company who came today is also a home inspection company, and said we of a freon leak. Too bad they didnt' do the original inspection.
It was a short sale, no proceeds went to the owner. We did get a good deal on the house, if we can get these things corrected. An affordable single family house, in a good neighborhood, with low HOA fees is hard to come by in this area still. That's why we took a chance even though we knew it wasn't perfect. But we didn't count on a mystery leak and few other things the inspector should have found in my opinion.
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. . . . . But actually the two contractors that came today said the property slopes up from the street which they said is more important and where a flood would occur. . . . . --------------------------
If the property slopes down from the street toward the house, is it possible to create swales that would cause the water to run to the side of and around the house out to the back?
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

The water could be coming right through the stucco... I once lived in a condo that had this very problem, seems the builders added a surfactant to the stucco to make it easier to apply and they applied it way too thin, this technique was later found to make the stucco even less water resistant than normal. There are literally thousands of homes and buildings around here leaking due to this crap.
Get a professional opinion then seek any legal recourse you have as soon as possible.
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

water comes in. If it comes in under an exterior wall during heavy rain, you probably have a downspout too close to the wall, ground improperly sloped toward the house, or a roof leak. Have you inspected the attic during heavy rain?
Home is on a slab? Slab exposed? If so, check the bottom edge of stucco to see if it needs caulking. Concrete block and stucco? Stucco painted? Any plumbing in the leaky wall? Under the slab?
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

In addition to the other hints, water may be entering from a location far removed from the area it appears. Once water enters, it can flow down through conduit, joists, wiring, vents, plumbing raceways, ductwork, the underside of the roof, insulation, or any other thruway.
Or, as another poster pointed out, the water may be comin UP from some bizarre source.
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On Sep 1, 9:10 pm, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

If you can find a 'forensic' architect or engineer in your area, they may be able to help. An architect who specializes in residential renovation might help.
In the mean time, look at the location of the leaks in relation to windows, doors and outside paved surfaces. Windows are, in the Charleston SC area, a major source of leaks. The joints between stucco and window frames is a frequent problem.
T
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snipped-for-privacy@bellsouth.net wrote:

lasting memories from hurricane news was the story of damage in Florida homes from wind driven water going THROUGH stucco walls. Older homes, with more coats of paint, didn't suffer that effect. Almost all modern homes here are concrete block and stucco.
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wrote Re Re: Leak Detection:

Stucco is not a moisture barrier. The barrier is provided by the "tar" paper under the stucco and wire lath. I guess if you paint stucco that might provide some moisture barrier, but that is not how stucco is designed to work. It's the underlying tar paper (felt) that provides the moisture barrier.
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From your pictures I see some water damage that has occured over most of the 18 years the house has existed. The problem was there before the new roof was installed.
I also see pine needles in your gutter and roof drainage areas. You lost a great deal of credibility when you took those pictures. Get off your lazy ass and clean out your gutters. That's home owner maintenance chores and something you should have done the day title passed to your name.
You can hire professionals, but I'd be doing it myself. It is quite easy to trace an active leak. It may mean doing a little sheet rock work after you start cutting holes to trace the leak source, but that's quite easy to learn with lots of help right here in the forum.
So get off your lazy ass and get busy.
On Mon, 1 Sep 2008 18:10:11 -0700 (PDT), snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

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Just a matter of time before your ilk shows up in these forums to shoot of their big mouth before getting the facts.
#1 patio is cleared of pine needles and debris. we did that as soon as we bought a ladder and saw what was up there. #2 we took the pictures BEFORE cleaning it to show what the inspection didn't address
#3 go crawl back under you rock
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Try spraying the roof. I've seen water run down a vent pipe, across the ceiling and down a wall. You have to make it leak to find the source.
--
Blattus Slafaly ? 3 :) 7/8

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