Remodeling Tips and Reviews

Preventing water from seeping into your walls from outside your home

Preventing water from seeping into your walls from outside your home

Oct 29, 2013

If you live in an area, like Texas, where we get sudden heavy rain storms, then you need to be concerned about possible flash flooding in your yard and water permeating your home through your walls from the sudden rise in water before it can run off. One of the simplest ways to create a barrier for this is to use metal flashing all the way around the home or just on the exterior walls that need it.

To accomplish this I recommend purchasing a large 50′ length of flashing that is 14′- 20″ wide. You will then need to dig a trench up next to the house’s foundation the width of the flashing minus 6″ or so. So 20″ flashing needs

trenching foundation flashing

about a 14″ deep trench. It is important to make sure it is a straight and pretty level trench so that the flashing can run straight and level. A small deviance at the beginning of the run can be several inches higher 50′ later. Once the trench is dug and level, you will need to unroll the flashing ( wear gloves, it’s sharp) and then set it into the trench. Once it is in the trench and ready to go it is a good idea to start in the middle at the level you want it at and work your way out from there.

Securing the flashing to the side of the home

If your  home is brick then you will have to pre-drill the holes with a hammer drill and then use concrete anchor screws to secure the flashing to the house. I also highly recommend a good flashing sealant that adheres to brick.  A nice 1/4″ thick bead will make sure you have plenty of seal when the flashing is secure to the home.  If you have a wooden home, then simply nailing galvanized nails or screwing exterior screws with adhesive will suffice. Take your time and get it straight so it looks nice and does not need to cut and readjusted 20′ later. The goal is not to have any seams, except where you must at the corners and where there are odd obstructions that you have to cut out.  Once the flashing is secure, you can then move the dirt back into the trench and pack it in.

 

Interior Water Damage to Walls

This section of the wall was rotten from years of heavy rains coming in from the outside of the house. You can see the remains of the mudsill under each vertical stud. We intentionally cut them like that to leave support for the studs while the wall dried out.

If you are adding flashing because you have already had water invading your home, you very likely have wood rot in the walls and need to inspect them for mold and rot. The first test is obviously to check the immediate

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After all the rot and insulation has been replaced, the wall is ready to be sheetrocked again.

floors for moisture, then using a screwdriver you should push firmly into the floor baseboard trim and see if it is weak. Even the sheetrock may be so damaged that you can easily punch a hole in it. If this is the case, then you will have tear off the sheetrock and replace the mudsill plate and any other rotten wood. You will usually have to cut the sheetrock 24″ from the floor to gain easy access to the sill plate and remove the last 2′ of insulation , which will usually be wet and possibly moldy. You may also have to tear out the rotten exterior sheathing on the backside of the studs. I recommend a sawsall for this job, being careful not to cut any wires in the wall. Once the wall has been cleared of all the rotten wood, the sill plate can be re-installed. We recommend only removing the old sill plate from under a few wall studs at a time so you don’t cause the wall to settle down. You should also use pressure treated wood since it is more resistant to bugs and water. To re-install the sill plate you will need to hammer it carefully back in under the studs, then use screws or nails to re-secure it to the studs and the foundation. We found it easier to use screws for the studs, and use a powder actuated nail gun which essentially fires a blast into the head of a nail and forces it into concrete.

Once the plate, exterior sheathing, and insulation have been reinstalled, it is time to sheetrock the wall and refinish it.