Tolerable Wood Moisture Levels? - General Discussion - Contractor Talk

Tolerable Wood Moisture Levels?

 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 07-10-2015, 06:42 PM   #1
Pro
 
BamBamm5144's Avatar
 
Trade: Everything Exterior, Mostly Roofing.
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 7,181
Rewards Points: 2,786

Tolerable Wood Moisture Levels?


Is there such a thing? We had a small roof leak, filled a bucket about 1/4 inch during an extremely heavy down pour.

I went to look at the ceiling (picture attached) and wasn't able to notice where the leak was until I saw the buckets. Homeowner is concerned the structure of the house (100+) years old may be compromised.

They are having servpro come out to do a moisture test next week. I want to know what I'm talking about. The ceiling doesn't look any different to me than I'm sure it has for years though. I'm concerned, knowing how that company is, they'll find something and want some ridiculous number to fix it.

P.S, the actual yellow stain is not from us. That's been there for awhile. Only area it dripped in was above buckets.
Attached Thumbnails
Tolerable wood moisture levels?-1436571713070.jpg  
BamBamm5144 is offline  

Warning: The topics covered on this site include activities in which there exists the potential for serious injury or death. ContractorTalk.com DOES NOT guarantee the accuracy or completeness of any information contained on this site. Always use proper safety precaution and reference reliable outside sources before attempting any construction or remodeling task!

   

Advertisement

 

Old 07-10-2015, 07:22 PM   #2
Capra aegagrus

 
Tinstaafl's Avatar
 
Trade: Remodeler
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Central Pennsylvania
Posts: 23,250
Rewards Points: 1,571

Re: Tolerable Wood Moisture Levels?


Wow. You sure can pick 'em, Bam.

I wish I could give you an authority to quote other than just common sense. Consider this: probably 80-90% of new housing, especially back 100 years ago, gets rained on and thoroughly wetted before it's dried in--without any structural issues related to that.

Servpro may come up with some Chicken Little stuff about fast drying vs mold concerns, but I doubt even they would try to claim structural problems caused by a one-time leak.

Advertisement

Tinstaafl is online now  
The Following User Says Thank You to Tinstaafl For This Useful Post:
rrk (07-11-2015)
Old 07-10-2015, 08:25 PM   #3
Pro
 
BamBamm5144's Avatar
 
Trade: Everything Exterior, Mostly Roofing.
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 7,181
Rewards Points: 2,786

Re: Tolerable Wood Moisture Levels?


Yeah well this one is our mistake. He's been reasonable, just concerned about future problems.
BamBamm5144 is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Old 07-10-2015, 08:31 PM   #4
Radical Basement Dweller
 
Robie's Avatar
 
Trade: Whatever needs to be made or repaired
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 15,352
Rewards Points: 6,308

Re: Tolerable Wood Moisture Levels?


What's above the ceiling?
__________________
When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the losers.
Robie is online now  
Old 07-10-2015, 08:46 PM   #5
Pro
 
BamBamm5144's Avatar
 
Trade: Everything Exterior, Mostly Roofing.
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 7,181
Rewards Points: 2,786

Re: Tolerable Wood Moisture Levels?


The second story.
BamBamm5144 is offline  
Old 07-10-2015, 08:51 PM   #6
Radical Basement Dweller
 
Robie's Avatar
 
Trade: Whatever needs to be made or repaired
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 15,352
Rewards Points: 6,308

Re: Tolerable Wood Moisture Levels?


I'm assuming you are replacing some ceiling drywall.....I have taken in my wood moisture meter before and done some comparative testing of what is known to be dry and what was once moist/wet.
Just a thought.
__________________
When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the losers.
Robie is online now  
Old 07-10-2015, 09:13 PM   #7
Pro
 
BamBamm5144's Avatar
 
Trade: Everything Exterior, Mostly Roofing.
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 7,181
Rewards Points: 2,786

Re: Tolerable Wood Moisture Levels?


No, its plaster. If you look, there are lines, cracks and stains so we will see. Don't want to replace a ceiling that's 100 years old over one small leak. Fingers crossed.
BamBamm5144 is offline  
Old 07-10-2015, 09:15 PM   #8
Pro
 
GettingBy's Avatar
 
Trade: Home Improvement/handyman
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: DC area
Posts: 2,622
Rewards Points: 6,486

Re: Tolerable Wood Moisture Levels?


IIRC, wood stabilizes at less than 15% moisture content?

Wood damage may result from sustained soaking but
how much moisture content
for how long
equals
how much loss of strength?

There may be tests for structural integrity for existing structures.

I'd go poking with an ice pick but for a more quantitative check you could pull on structural members with a comealong in series with a very strong spring and measure joist deflections.
The spring lengthening tells you the force if you know or measure the spring constant. Storm door snubber springs are ~40 lbs/inch but this spring needs to be stiffer, more like a rocker arm spring.
GettingBy is offline  
Old 07-10-2015, 09:20 PM   #9
Pro
 
BamBamm5144's Avatar
 
Trade: Everything Exterior, Mostly Roofing.
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 7,181
Rewards Points: 2,786

Re: Tolerable Wood Moisture Levels?


In your opinion, would an amount of water that filled up that bucket to about a quarter inch during one rain cause this problem?

Roof was finished a Wednesday. Hard rain Monday, leak noticed and fixed immediately, plaster dry to the touch with 24 hours.
BamBamm5144 is offline  
Old 07-10-2015, 09:34 PM   #10
Pro
 
GettingBy's Avatar
 
Trade: Home Improvement/handyman
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: DC area
Posts: 2,622
Rewards Points: 6,486

Re: Tolerable Wood Moisture Levels?


Nah, think of all the roof leaks that go unnoticed for years.

I've never heard of a roof collapse from water damage, but I'm not a roofer.

This kind of event does seem newsworthy even if no one was hurt, so it would be reported somewhere.

If someone does know about this, how old was the house and where was it located (so we can figure yearly rainfall totals)?

I'd put Servpro on hold until you've done searching, pdf files hopefully. At least you'll know if they say something totally off the wall, which may cast doubt on other stuff that comes out of them.

Last edited by GettingBy; 07-10-2015 at 09:39 PM.
GettingBy is offline  
Old 07-10-2015, 09:37 PM   #11
Pro
 
mikeswoods's Avatar
 
Trade: interior remodeling
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Kane Co. Illinois
Posts: 2,716
Rewards Points: 2,664

Re: Tolerable Wood Moisture Levels?


Rent a couple of big dehumidifiers---that should take care of the moisture in the plaster--and perhaps hire a painter to paint the ceiling.

Your leak is unlikely to have caused any lasting damage---the age of the house means that it is not air tight and air sealed like todays structure---

That building can take a one time leak without an issue.
mikeswoods is offline  
Old 07-10-2015, 09:44 PM   #12
Hair Splitter
 
TNTRenovate's Avatar
 
Trade: General
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Naperville, IL
Posts: 18,310
Rewards Points: 1,244

Re: Tolerable Wood Moisture Levels?


You should be fine BAM.
__________________
Tried & True on Facebook
Tried & True Website
Quote:
Originally Posted by CarpenterSFO View Post
You ask for your money frequently, and you collect it quickly, else you stop working immediately.
TNTRenovate is offline  
The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to TNTRenovate For This Useful Post:
CarpenterSFO (07-12-2015), Framer53 (07-11-2015), Jaws (07-10-2015), mikeswoods (07-10-2015)
Old 07-10-2015, 10:00 PM   #13
Pro
 
BamBamm5144's Avatar
 
Trade: Everything Exterior, Mostly Roofing.
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 7,181
Rewards Points: 2,786

Re: Tolerable Wood Moisture Levels?


There is no humidity in the room or stains on the ceiling. There is nothing to paint. I believe the homeowners insurance company got him worried about the potential "damage"
BamBamm5144 is offline  
Old 07-10-2015, 10:13 PM   #14
Pro
 
mikeswoods's Avatar
 
Trade: interior remodeling
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Kane Co. Illinois
Posts: 2,716
Rewards Points: 2,664

Re: Tolerable Wood Moisture Levels?


Those old places dry out very quickly---I'd be shocked if there was any lasting damage--
mikeswoods is offline  
Old 07-10-2015, 11:48 PM   #15
Talking Head
 
EthanB's Avatar
 
Trade: Poking Things With Sticks
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Rhode Island
Posts: 5,325
Rewards Points: 308

Re: Tolerable Wood Moisture Levels?


It might be worth cultivating a relationship with a local dryout company. I know a guy in my area who is very well respected and he would be my first call if I ended up in your situation. I've seen some of the most incredible asshat-ery from some "remediation" companies. One of my regular customers had a small leak from a fridge and asked me to look at it. I tested moisture the next day, no insulation under the kitchen, and said that it looked to be drying well and no significant damage other than they should plan on replacing that section of carpet in their basement(it needed to go anyway).

The "remediation" company came in and tore out their HVAC, tile floor, subfloor and basement carpet. Dinged the insurance company for $20k. The very next fridge delivered leaked also. It took them 6 weeks to turn all the work around. What had sounded like a great "deal" turned out to be a huge headache.
__________________
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaws View Post
Planer.....
EthanB is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to EthanB For This Useful Post:
hdavis (07-11-2015)
Old 07-11-2015, 06:44 AM   #16
Pro
 
hdavis's Avatar
 
Trade: remodeling
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: CoastalME
Posts: 23,982
Rewards Points: 4,820

Re: Tolerable Wood Moisture Levels?


Wood prone to rotting rots above 30% MC, and it takes some time. I can cut down a tree, throw it in a pond for a while, then cut it up and dry the lumber with no rot problems. How do I know? That's exactly how bazillions of board feet were processed...

Green tree trunks were also used as structural beams. They didn't rot, either.

Wood has to get wet and stay wet for quite some time to rot. If there is structural rot in that area right now, it would be from past recurring leaks. As long as it dries out fairly soon, it will be fine. If that ceiling was strapped down and uninsulated, air flows freely through all bays, and it will definitely dry out fine.
hdavis is online now  
Old 07-11-2015, 10:39 AM   #17
Pro
 
rrk's Avatar
 
Trade: remodeling
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: new jersey
Posts: 5,758
Rewards Points: 1,974

Re: Tolerable Wood Moisture Levels?


If the leak is your fault get ready to bend over. Servepro will place a few $1000 a day dehumidifiers in the house, and may recommend all drywall and insulation be removed.

I have seen it done here with roof leaks, not as much with freshwater leaks. The one recently the tore everything out and sprayed white sealer on everything, carpet was removed. They were going to remove subfloor but homeowner's son stopped them.

Nothing good can happen when servepro shows up here at least

In a normal situation a leak is not a huge deal
rrk is online now  
The Following User Says Thank You to rrk For This Useful Post:
hdavis (07-11-2015)
Old 07-11-2015, 12:40 PM   #18
Pro
 
BamBamm5144's Avatar
 
Trade: Everything Exterior, Mostly Roofing.
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 7,181
Rewards Points: 2,786

Re: Tolerable Wood Moisture Levels?


If servpro says there is a problem, I'm going to get my liability insurance involved. I'm sure they won't find anything.

I don't even know if its possible for wood to be rotted in this situation. If you look at the picture, you can't even see inside damage caused from the leak.
BamBamm5144 is offline  
Old 07-11-2015, 01:11 PM   #19
LRG WoodCrafting

 
Leo G's Avatar
 
Trade: Maker of Fine Sawdust
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Windsor Locks, Connecticut
Posts: 40,732
Rewards Points: 13,655

Re: Tolerable Wood Moisture Levels?


The most you have to worry about is mold and mildew. If you let that go for a long time it might turn into rot.
__________________
Sawdust Follows Me Everywhere
I can explain it to you, but I can't understand it for you.
Sanding is the bane of my existence
WWG1WGA

Quote:
Originally Posted by HusqyPro View Post
Carpenter by day.
Mad scientist by night.
http://lrgwood.com
Custom Cabinets in Hartford County Connecticut
Leo G is online now  
Old 07-11-2015, 03:23 PM   #20
Pro
 
Dave in Pa's Avatar
 
Trade: restoration/remodeling
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Mars, PA (Warrendale, Wexford)
Posts: 660
Rewards Points: 1,272

Re: Tolerable Wood Moisture Levels?


I am confused here? I do this type of work, and willing to help ya out! Let me say one thing first, I WILL never say a bad word about a competitor company, nor their work!!

So, why Is Servpro coming out next week?

We respond to site in 4 hr. or less, doesn't matter if homeowner calls, insurance company, who-ever, then go from there! We will work with the customer for cost later, cure the problem, FIRST! We will delay IF it is a hazard to the workers, due to weather etc.

As for the problem, I assume that there is NO insulation there, and it doesn't appear to be a large amount of water? Insulation will not dry out and will cause a issue!

For us, FROM the picture only, we would not tear into the ceiling, unless the readings were in the 20% or above range, most houses, pending air-conditioning, heat, etc. will be in the 8-13/15 % range, BUT they all vary, that is WHY WE DO A UNAFFECTED area test reading, in many places to compare to! Then we evaluate it and go from here!

And a few more thoughts, we will not, and really not set up drying equipment, if the problem, leak, source, was not corrected of fixed. Just no reason to, like beating a dead horse! And for the cost of $1000 of dollars to do, NOPE, pending on the situation, the job, time to dry, etc. MOST insurance companies pay us direct, with no "out of pocket" money from the home-owner, with-out the deductible thing. Not sure if the rate will go up, I can't answer that! Being truthful here!!!

But I will say one more thing, saying this in a very POSTIVE way, as long as Servpro is in my area, I have work to do!

Advertisement

Dave in Pa is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to Dave in Pa For This Useful Post:
hdavis (07-11-2015)


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Moisture in wood rjconstructs Tools & Equipment 12 04-23-2015 12:19 PM
mud or wood icerock drywall Drywall 2 08-17-2012 10:50 AM
Roof rafters, floor joists. Wood to mortar contact. Baltimore Masonry 16 08-04-2012 02:58 PM
going over existing wood shakes davinci Windows, Siding and Doors 33 07-08-2012 07:09 PM
Top 10 framing errors - and how to prevent them (From a Professional Builder Email) wallmaxx Framing 9 02-20-2012 07:57 PM

Join Now... It's Fast and FREE!

I am a professional contractor
I am a DIY Homeowner
Drywall Talk is for
PROFESSIONAL CONTRACTORS ONLY!

At DrywallTalk.com we cater exlusivly to professional contractors who make their living as a contractor. Knowing that many homeowners and DIYers are looking for a community to call home, we've created www.DIYChatroom.com DIY Chatroom is full of helpful advices and perfect for DIY homeowners.

Redirecing in 10 seconds
No Thanks
terms of service

Already Have an Account?