My boyfriend and I recently purchased a condo in the basement and first floor of a circa 1890 brownstone in Boston's South End. Just after closing, we were surprised to find an extensive amount of rotted drywall that the home inspector had not identified. Before we knew it, we found ourselves removing most of the drywall and flooring on the basement level of the unit. The drywall, including some areas that had greenboard installed, showed signs of mold and deterioration. Any wood near the brick, including furring strips, also showed signs of rot. The mortar has deteriorated a bit, and there are some areas of spalling on the brick.
Now, the tough part begins. We've been trying to investigate the source of our water problem. Apparently, water has been seeping in through the clay brick foundation and through the concrete slab. Using a square of vapor barrier taped to the brick wall, we determined that is in fact coming from the wall and not due to condensation from the room. Additionally, once we opened everything up, the brick seems to have dried out.
So, the question is what to do next? First, I know the brick needs to be repointed. After that, should any sealant (e.g. breathable siloxane-based) be applied? My understanding is that vapor barriers in this situation are a bad idea. What preparation would be appropriate to cover the area with new studs, insulation, and greenboard? We know that keeping air flowing is important, but we're not quite sure how. The previous owner to the unit was not such a good steward, and we want to make sure we get this right the first time.
What are some thought and suggestions on this?
A couple of good pictures can be found at: