Charlie: Michelle in Lake Jackson. She says we’re trying to help our family, help a family pull together after the flooding. They’ve had an older brick house built in the early 70s, and they have a moisture barrier behind the brick, that appears to be Sheetrockish kind of product. It got wet, needs to be removed she says. How do you replace a moisture barrier once you do that? Is this like the most common question we get ever?
Tom: It’s always the 70s homes.
Tom: It’s always the exterior gypsum they used at that period. That stuff has deteriorated long before any flood came through. And if it’s not just totally disintegrated leave it, and let it dry. I cannot stress that enough. In fact, I had a lunch with some people in the business the other day who are rebuilding homes, and the worst thing they’re finding is overzealous people tearing out the sheathing package-
Charlie: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Tom: From the inside of the house, and they’re saying, “Please don’t do that ’cause there’s no good answer on fixing it short of taking all the brick off the house, which nobody’s gonna do.”
Charlie: No, actually it’s happening in our neighborhood, the next neighborhood over from us. There’s lots of houses-
Tom: Then you must have some engineers that live in your neighborhood.
Charlie: They have a lot of houses that are just sticks, and roofs, but they left the front door on. And I’m sure they set the alarm when they left.
Tom: Okay. But anyway it’s not practical for most people.
Tom: Except you live in the rich area like Charlie.
Charlie: No, this isn’t the rich part of the neighborhood either.
Charlie: That’s why-
Tom: And you know what if the insurance will pay for it, cool.
Charlie: Yeah, I guess.
Tom: But I’m being told they won’t. So neither here nor there. Don’t take it out if you don’t have to. Leave it alone. If you have to take it out ’cause it’s already gone anyway then try to cut it neatly, and maybe use some house wrap, or something inside those wall cavities just to keep the insulation from falling up against the brick, and keep the integrity of the air space behind that brick intact.
Charlie: Okay. Now I’ve also heard people using these foam panels putting them in the bottom where they’ve cut it out.
Tom: You can do that. You can do anything to get creative just to keep the insulation from falling into the brick. It’s not a vapor barrier. That word is so misused. If anything it’s a moisture barrier at best, and most importantly it’s going to be just a barrier to hold the insulation in place so it doesn’t fall against the brick.
Charlie: So there’s some air space between the insulation and the brick?
Charlie: All right.
Tom: You have to have that.