08 June 2010

Why the Painted Plywood?

See the shiny spots at the top of the roller? Yeah, that'd be rainwater! It seems to be coming in from the top of the window and running down between the frame and the header trim. Seems we may be missing some flashing or caulking or both.
At least we finally know where the water is coming from. When I bought the house we soon discovered that there was a sheet of plywood under this set of windows (as well as under the set in the front bedroom) indicating that some sort of damage had occurred and someone was too lazy to do anything about it. Aside from the natty painted plywood quick fix. You can see in this picture that was taken before we did any work to the house that their paint-over-plywood trick wasn't holding up too well either.

We discovered that there wasn't the appropriate flashing, etc. around the bottom of this set of windows and remedied that. Then we re-plastered. Imagine our dismay when the new plaster in this area began to effloresce. We were at a complete loss. No idea where the problem lie. Then it seemed to stop, so we forgot about it. Until the rocking rainstorm Friday night.

I really figured we would lose power, so I cleared the kitchen table and set lit a candle in the center. Then I headed upstairs for the small flashlights we keep in the night stand. I usually have one under the kitchen sink, too, but couldn't find that one. Must remember to track that down.

As I was going up the stairs it occurred to me that I should shut the air conditioner off, as it was cooling outside, and if the power did go off, I didn't want any problems if we had a surge when it came back on. I was about halfway into the room when my bare feet encountered a huge puddle. Rain was coming in through the air conditioner! The wind was blowing the rain horizontal and so hard that it was coming in through the vents.

I was momentarily stunned. I just stood there, taking it all in. All this water. And you know how these floors are- water runs straight through and next thing you know you have wet plaster on the dining room ceiling. So don't need that. I grabbed some towels and started mopping things up. It soon dawned on me that not all the water was coming in through the air conditioner. The curtains were soaked, I pulled them off. That's when I saw what you see in the pictures above. I couldn't understand it. I thought maybe the top sash had come down a bit, allowing water in, but that seemed unlikely since most of them are still painted shut (one of these years we'll get around to that).

I mopped up all the water the best I could, having to move furniture out of the way. Of course most of the clothes piled on the desk in front of the windows had gotten wet. Then I discovered that the quilt on the bed was wet. I started peeling back layers when I stepped in more water. Under the bed! Of course the puddle under the bed had golden retriever dust bunnies to add to the fun.

Eventually I got it all mopped up, moved all the wet clothes and bed linens out of the room and set up a fan to dry the wall. The storm had died off by then and thankfully the electricity never did go out. I put fresh linens on the bed and called it a night.

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