Thursday, March 14, 2019

Home Sweet Home

See under the peak
and across?
March 1st was ours first anniversary in the house. It's been a very fast year, yet in some ways it feels like we've been here forever.

Apparently we have now been here long enough for the house to throw a significant repair at us, and I'm going to deal with it before it gets worse. It's probably going to be a shared job with our next-door neighbor, because it's to do with the chimney between our two houses, and the stucco that covers it.

About a week ago, I noticed some wet marks on the stucco high up on the chimney. It had rained a day or two before, so I didn't think too much about it, but the next day, it still looked damp. And there was an area of wetness under the peak of the roof, where the chimney joins the house. It looked the same on his side, so whatever it was, we both had it.

December 2017
I called a contractor I'd used before, who found a mystery leak from our bathroom window (entry point) to our kitchen window (exit point), figuring that he could diagnose the problem even if it wasn't something that he could fix. He came tonight, and yes, he saw the problem right off, and no, it's not in his wheelhouse. We need a proper mason/stucco guy to handle it.

The problem is two-fold -- the silicone caulk connecting the flashing to the chimney has deteriorated and has wide gaps in it, and there are large cracks in the stucco itself, both on the chimney above the roof and for about 3 feet below the roof level. His suspicion is that water has gotten down behind the stucco because of the flashing and then frozen and cracked the stucco, which then will let in more water because of the cracks.

Unhappy stucco
It's going to involve all new stucco for the top several feet of the chimney, at least that's what we think at this point. Which could be worse.

At least there's no water actively coming into the house at this point, and I will do anything to stave that off. If there's anything the old house in West Philly taught me, it's that water is evil, and it goes where it wants.


Sue in MN said...

Arghh! Not a good thing - but good that you are vigilant and caught it early. However vital water is to life, in the wrong place it wreaks havoc. In Minnesota right now (where our house and kids are, but we are not) there are water crises around every corner due to extreme snow loads, followed by days of rain, coupled with rapid thawing. One daughter has water in her basement, the other a leak from her condo roof (and a long line waiting for the roofer to repair), and she is managing ice dams on our house and snow melt in our yard (no water inside thankfully.) A friend here in Texas just heard her niece's family evacuated from their community in Minnesota to a shelter, complete with newborn baby. Our Nebraska neighbors here are holding their breath to see which towns/counties will flood next, and have been told to stay away. What a year!

Nancy K said...

My house is 34 years old and we are the original owners. We love this house, but honestly sometimes I think that the builder was an idiot. Our chimney runs up the end of the living room to the ceiling 25' up. I noticed that there was water dripping from the molding around the chimney where it met the ceiling. Problem? The idiots who roofed the house used a mix of copper and aluminum. That caused an electrolytic action where it overlapped and disintegration and thus, leak. We were lucky it wasn't too bad to fix it. Vigilance is definitely necessary as home owners! I hope that you solved your leak. There is nothing as damaging or insidious as water.