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I purchased a 60 year old house last year and a few months ago I noticed an odd wavy pattern in the paint just above the floor trim. The wood floor was also noticeably darker in that area, so I decided to pull back the quarter round and see what was going on.

wavy paintWood Damage
Click for larger view

This wall is on the outside corner of the house. I have not noticed any dampness/water in the plaster wall or on the floor up to this point. The wood that came off when I pulled back the quarter round is dry, very light and crumbles when I break it apart.

I'm currently planning a bathroom reno, and I'm wondering if this is something that needs to take priority.

  • Doesn't look like any kind of water damage - that would leave stains. Wood breaking easily during inspection is most likely rotten big time. – sharptooth Mar 18 '13 at 6:42
  • It doesn't look like pest damage and if it is dry then it may be the remnants of former water damage that has been remedied. What is the exterior wall, siding, brick, concrete? Is there a basement or crawlspace that you can inspect from underneath? – maple_shaft Mar 18 '13 at 13:51
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This looks like a slow water leak, over a time, perhaps caused by:

  • Ice dam
  • gutter overflow
  • improper flashing near window.
  • damaged roofing

Is there access below this spot? You will likely have apparent sub-floor damage.

Its good news that the area is dry now. Perhaps a roof replacement fixed the source. At a minimum, you should expose that stud bay side-to-side and 12" high, until you find solid, undamaged base plate and no stud damage.

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