Old house, wet brick
The picture pretty much says it all. We had terrible ice damming this year, as did just about everyone in my area; houses both old and new saw wet walls and rainy windows for the first time ever. My house was built in 1850, and I have to imagine this has been a problem before. But this was our first full winter here. I’ll try to explain the situation as best I can:
The house is balloon framed. All exterior walls finished on interior w/ plaster and in some cases plaster and drywall. Someone filled the walls with cellulose at some point in the house’s history. I assume they did so from the attic where there is a space between the wall framing and the exterior brick. It’s tough to get in there because the pitch so low and the eaves are what they are. There is about 10 in. of cellulose in the attic.
I had water coming in all of the exterior windows on both sides of the house this winter. At one point I went into the attic to find that in many places the attic insulation had piled up near the eaves and was touching the roof deck. I smoothed it out in those areas thinking I’d be allowing cool air to touch the roof deck as it was supposed to, thinking I’d help matters. I don’t think it made a difference because the attic isn’t vented properly at all. And anyway, nothing changed after I did that.
My main concern right now is that all the ice that had built up in the eaves over the winter has found its way into the wall cavities as is displayed by the wet brick. I dont’ see any signs of moisture on the plaster / drywall inside – only the wet brick. There hasn’t been snow on the roof in nearly a month. I’m positive there isn’t a leak causing this problem. It’s happening on both sides of the house. The roof is standing seam metal in good condition.
Do I leave the wet brick alone and hope the summer dries everything, including what’s likely mucky cellulose in the walls?
Do I drill weep holes in the mortar joints?
Do I rip away the plaster inside, pull the cellulose, and let the brick dry?
Any other ideas?
Thanks in advance,
as an aside, I’m thinking of blocking the eaves off and spraying the roofdeck with open cell foam. I’ve thought about venting the eaves and adding gable vents, but then I would have to dig up all the cellulose and search for all ceiling penetrations in second floor to seal them. The spray foam seems a more realistic option.
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