I am having a problem in my house that no one can seem to explain or solve. Our house is 6 years old with brick front facing south. We live in Omaha, NE so we have hot humid summers. The problem we have is that in the summer we are having moisture appear on the vapor barrier on the exterior walls. The moisture is forming on the outside of the barrier (against the bat insulation). We tore out all the drywall last summer, replaced the insulation, installed a new vapor barrier and hung new drywall. This summer, we started to notice a damp smell again. I removed a portion of the drywall and the vapor barrier was covered with water droplets (looked liked condensation on a window). We have had numerous contractors over and no one seems to know why this is occurring. We don't have any leaks in the roof (that we can or any contractors can find). It simply looks like the outdoor humid air is meeting the cool vapor barrier causing condensation.
If we hadn't had everything professionally redone last summer, I would have thought there may be problems with the insulation. The construction is as follows from the exterior in - brick, air space, tyvek, particle board, bat insulation, vapor barrier, drywall. Every article I read explains that this is the proper and necessary way to construct the walls to avoid moisture from forming.
Is the vapor barrier necessary and is it causing the problem. What would happen if we reinstalled everything without the barrier?
Any thoughts you have or type of contractor you could refer us to would be greatly appreciated.
The moisture barrier is in the wrong place. Its being done this way every where. You have moisture protected against your sheetrock, but you are subjecting your framing members to massive amounts of water. Unless your framing is Treated, this is rotting wood. If you tore everything out and put back what was originally done wrong, its still wrong. I am a bricklayer and know how to frame. I'm also a tilesetter so I know a lot about moisture barriers since I build showers. The best thing to do is first seal the brick with a sealer from a masonry supply company, they come in 'breathable' where they let moisture out but not in. Tyvek is breathable so its not keeping moisture out, period. Anytime something is frozen where theres any humidity, its technically wet. So when your brick freezes it radiates into your framing, then your heated sheetrock means that the heat exchange happens at the vapor barrier, so its basically raining right there. If you tear out the drywall again, expose the back of the brick and apply a liquid asphalt coating, or 'tar'. This is the same product used to waterproof basement walls and roofing. You could add vent holes to the top of the brick wall which would create a air loop. Or figure out how to apply the plastic Outside the framing. Or just go old school and omit the barrier and let the drywall dry out the moisture. Or fill the brick cavity with Isenine(spray foam).
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