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GSBN:Loadbearing sb with moisture damage
Dear GSBN folks,
I want to ask a general question first, as that is my main need, but
will describea few of the nitty gritty details of this project as I feel
it's another good "learning experience". So, the general and most
important question is, has anyone ever had to replace bales in a large
portion of a load bearing wall, supporting the roof and had success
working around windows, electrical, etc.during remediation ? And, have
you had to install posts permanently?
Now, for a few details. I have recently been called in as a consultant
on a home in western Colorado. It is under contract to be sold by the
owner, who's husband built the home about 8 years ago and passed away a
few months ago. The buyer's home inspection turned up a moldy smell and
suspected moisture damage. An indoor air quality test was done and high
indoor mold counts were shown. The home is a loadbearing and timber
frame concrete stucco straw bale with parapet gable walls (which extend
above the roof line) and no gutters on the eaves which allow splashback
onto the walls from the concrete slab porch that was added on three
sides. It was built with a rubble trench foundation and toe up but it
seems there was concrete poured between the toe ups and not sealed
before bales were placed.
(I hope that none of us are still seeing homes being currently built
with the parapet style. I have consulted on three of them now, all with
I inspected the home and was only allowed by the owner to drill and do
moisture tests in 6 locations in the north wall. A local contractor had
done the same three weeks earlier. When he took readings, the stucco was
wet from splash for the lower 2'. His readings showed elevated moisture
which was worst at the exterior surface in the lower portion of the
wall. My readings, which were taken on a dry but bitter cold day three
weeks later, showed the highest readings also in the lowest part of the
wall, but now higher in the middle of the wall. I was not allowed to
drill in other suspect places, such as under the ladder frames on the
parapet gable ends where there were obvious holes through the stucco,
black paper and showed the now well weathered wood of the ladder frame.
I am in the process of writing up my observations and recommendations
for my client, the buyer. I will be recommending things such as a step
by step process of remediation work on the north wall, gutters, parapet
caps, more moisture testing, crack repair, a treatment of siloxane, and
other detailing and odds and ends.
I am so very open to any and all feedback, cautions, anecdotes as well.
Thanks for any feedback.
Sustainable Building Consulting & Education
P.O. Box 912
Carbondale, CO 81623