Wet Bathroom Wall


I'm sure this has been covered before, but I didn't see it with a quick search-- if you'll forgive a noob--
I've got a wet bathroom wall, tiled surround, outside wall. I've pulled off some of the tile and backer board and the studs are also wet/damp to different degrees, worst around the nails which were so corroded they practically crumbled. There is roll-style insulation with foil backing-- I can see by poking around the edges of it, that the insulation is blackened and the outside wall has some black on it too.
The studs don't appear to be badly rotted but it is softened. It's worst around the nail holes, soft and black.
So if I pull out the insulation, spray down the walls with bleach, let dry, then replace everything, does that seem adequate? Is there a good test of how wet is "too" wet?
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"Nicola O." wrote

Not good, heard of worse though.

No, sorry but until you find out how the water is getting back there, it's not done. Being an exterior wall, it could even be from the roof. If there's a window on that wall, could be there. Not enough info here to know if the shower line runs through that wall as well but if so, thats another point of possible water.
You need to first stop the water from getting in there, then dry it completely and have that wood checked. It's fairly simple to sister a stud if it's not badly damaged yet. (That means to add another stud along side).
Ignored, you will lose the wall and floor. Can happen pretty quick too.
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Oh, I should've said, the wall got wet from the inside out. I think the previous owner muffed the grout job, especially on the soapdish... which fell off of its own accord a couple weeks ago. The wall gets drier the further away from the soapdish you go. The grouting was starting to deteriorate all over the surround though; it probably wasn't sealed.
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"Nicola O." wrote "cshenk" wrote:

Probably it then but while you have the wall down, check all fittings. Might want to replace some as it's a cheap fix just then. Check the wood carefully and don't get cheap about replacement. It's the golden moment where it's cheap to fix from the sounds of it.
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I've found putting like one of those 20" box fans on it for many hours accelerates drying a lot.

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Nicola O. wrote:

The wet wall is tiled surround? Shower? Most likely the tile grout had cracks or pin-holes that allowed water intrusion, which has happened to other units in our condo. I don't know "how wet is too wet", but it wouldn't hurt to sister in a couple of 2x4's since you have to open up the wall. For sure, spray with bleach and allow to dry very sell.
For sure, look at attic and exterior of wall, including fascia and soffits, to see if any signs of leaks before you close up the wall. I've seen a lot of water come in through small gaps in fascia. A leaky roof can shed water far from the leak, such as if the water follows a rafter or wiring across from where the water comes in.
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snipped-for-privacy@earthlink.net wrote:

If that is the case. outside wall sheathing is said to be black somewhat. Sounds like exterior wall is not air tight as well as tiled wall has water leak. Whatever exterior wall finish is, underneath there should be wrap like Tyvek and sheathing ans insulation and blue sheet rock and tiles. Careful investigation will reveal the cause(s).
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wrote:

Thanks for the tips! I may call in a pro to do the inspection while I have everything opened up.
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Agreed. Doesn't that sound like possibly a problem with multiple vapor barriers too? That should be a prime consideration when closing up the job, at any rate.
Just a thought,
Twayne`
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On Mon, 7 Sep 2009 15:09:08 -0700 (PDT), "Nicola O."

Did you find the leak?!?
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Phish, no, nothing specific. I have the long wall (the outside wall) demo-ed except for the insulation, which is where I've stopped for the day. The two end walls appear drier (the wall where the fittings are and then the one opposite there) so it's more work to pull down the tile and wallboard there. The wall seems dry where the fixtures are, but the grout looks really crappy. It'll come down, and we'll see what we shall see.
Tony, thanks for the tip. I haven't pulled the insulation down yet to check if there's a problem with the sheathing. What I see is bare wood behind the roll-type insulation. I'm in late 60's construction, so not sure what there is for a moisture barrier.
cshenk, the studding is at least doubled in almost every location. There's like 6 verticals in the back corner (!!) and two sets of nail holes. We moved in just 2 years ago -- I'm thinking the owners did for resale exactly what I'm doing-- now sistered in the studs, retiled, and did a crap job on the grout.
Thanks for the advice, I appreciate it.
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"Nicola O." wrote

Humm, thats bad news. It's fixable still depending on how handy you are.
Are you comfortable framing a wall? If you are already sistered, you can't add a 3rd layer.
A few questions on things that are not clear to me then my best guess on advice.
Q1: This is an outerwall which is also a shower tile enclosure where the tile goes up pretty close to the ceiling right? The shower spigot comes out within the tile?
A: if both right, it may be a pressure leveler gone bad behind that time with a slow leak which caused the grout to go bad. Sealed on outside, not on inside. This is what you hope for as it's the cheapest one to fix. Rip all the tile down and turn on both hot and cold at full blast while looking at the pipes. What you hope to find is a pinhole leak.
Q2: This is an outerwall and you can see the outside wood (clpabord or whatever) is right against the insulation that hasnt been pulled down yet.
A: this is cheap construction but it was done then. The answer isn't completely cheap but if you were thinking to reside the house, they add the water barrier to the outside of the vinyl siding. Older houses that predate this can get some help from adding it internally but you'll find the wood siding is nailed to those framing parts so you have to remove them to add a water barrier between them and the outside. Proper caulking and angled siding removes that problem as long as the gutters are functional.
Q3: None of the above seem to pertain.
A: you may have a roof problem. A seller will not tell you this and will cover damage for a fast sell. To discern this, you need a big hose and hit the wall and roof for a goodlie time with someone else inside. If it's the roof, you'll see it pouring or dripping in. This may well be along the edges where the window is (traveling over to the shower) or from above and just dripping down. Be patient. This check takes a good soaking. What you are hoping for is if this happens, it's when you hit the window or just under the roof. Caulk may fix it.
Thats the best I can do other than to mention we get alot of wood boring bees here so we tend to develop holes along the wooded part of the 'just under the roof' eves. Also, if already sistered and those are bad, you really need to reframe tht part but not til the water ingress is identified. Rule out the rest and it may have been bad internal grout, the the existance of already sistered studs, indicates otherwise.
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I'm not sure why you seem so sure that it's anything other than water from the shower getting back into the tile and onward?
The wall I have pulled down is the "long" wall on a standard tub surround. It's an outside wall, with a small window. The tile goes up to about, oh, 16" or so from the ceiling. The wall with the fixtures including the showerhead is perpendicular to this wall. I haven't pulled it down yet so I don't know if it's wet or not. It doesn't look wet, but the grout is crumbling so it probably is.
The window and sill, miraculously, appear to be tight.
Q2 is a "yes." Residing isn't happening any time soon though, and as I said, I'm not convinced that the water is coming in from the outside.
Sure appreciate all the tips. The fixture wall is coming down next and I'll definitely follow your tip to look for pinhole leaks.
Red Green, I was thinking about box fans *and* maybe some heat lamps.
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