Friday, June 04, 2010

Leaking Workshop Wall

Every time it rains, a little standing water appears in my workshop corner. I am adding drywall to the workshop (and drywall + moisture = bad), so I decided to finally fix it.

My workshop is an addition by a previous owner. The stud walls of my workshop rest on a short brick foundation wall and for some reason the builder decided to use a pressure-treated 2x8 as a sill plate for this wall, while they foundation and stud wall are one brick/one 2x4 thick. The overhang created is framed with 2x4's and covered with plywood. This framing is not technically load-bearing, as the actual bottom plate of the stud wall rests over the brick which transfers the load to the footing. Perhaps it was done to provide more lateral stability. Or the builder was smoking crack. Hard to tell.

I pulled off the plywood and removed a couple of the short studs, using my reciprocating saw to cut the nails. One of the studs, located at the site of the leak, was rotted halfway through. Mmmmmm...FIBER!

I had to remove a section of the pressure-treated bottom plate to gain access.

After much elbow grease, I ripped it out. It was rotting too, but less so than the stud.
The problem became apparent after I removed a pound or so of dirt/mud that had built up in the corner. When the workshop was added, the new brick foundation wall was only built to within 1/2" of the adjoining foundation wall in the corner. A small amount of daylight is visible at the top of this gap. What I didn't realize till later is this gap runs the entire height of the foundation wall, so about half of it is below soil grade.

I found this out by digging down on the exterior of the wall, where there just happens to be a downspout from a gutter and a poorly interfaced and half-clogged drain tile, which is clearly the source of the majority of the intruding water, and the subject of a future project. Back inside, with the earth excavated, I could then see daylight all the way down to the slab. So much for craftsmanship ;)

After brushing and cleaning the brick on the inside I mixed up some hydraulic cement to plug the gap. The particular brand hardens in 3 minutes after adding water, and is only workable for 90 seconds after mixing. It was a bit warm that day so that cut the working time to 45 seconds. I stuffed it in by hand (wearing nitrile gloves, of course) and used a putty knife to smooth it. I also tamped some into some mortar gaps nearby that may be contributing to the leak.

I dampened the area for 24 hours to ensure the cement fully cured, and dried it with a box fan overnight. Stay tuned for part two of this exciting adventure..

1 comment:

benthomasson said...

dude, thats a huge crack