We all know that houses can last decades and decades. My family lived in a 1923 wood frame bungalow with stucco exterior for over 30 years. During that time I did a fair amount of remodeling to the home…additions, window replacements, roofing, etc. I never found any area where the wall or roof sheathing was rotten due to water intrusion. The carpenters back then used very good methods to keep water from walls and areas where it should not be. Unfortunately, we see deterioration from moisture penetration far to often on some fairly new homes that we work on. Unfortunately, most of the time the owners of these homes do not know that there is a water problem in the house walls.
This photo shows the siding on a home less than 10 years old. It looks fairly normal with just a little discoloration on the exterior surface. We didn’t think too much of it when we started work on the home. The carpenter in the picture is pointing to the spot where the roof edge butts into the siding of the house….pretty much concealed behind the gutter. He opened up the wall on the inside and discovered that the wall sheathing had started to deteriorate from water penetration. He then removed the siding and discovered that water had been flowing behind the siding and house wrap. It was able to enter this area because there was no ‘kick-out’ flashing where the roof edge terminates against the siding. Without a ‘kick-out’ flashing in place, water running down the roof can easily migrate behind the siding.
As we continued work we discovered that the deck ledger board was not properly flashed to keep water from getting into the wall cavity. This created another area where the wall sheathing deteriorated.
When bulk water like this gets into a wall cavity it can cause serious structural problems with a home. In addition, it can create a perfect environment for mold and mildew to grow.