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What brought mold to this room and how to clean it?

2694 Views 10 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  Insuranceclaims
I recently moved for less rent. Found that this room has mold on some of the walls.

Pictures here:


1) This room has no HVAC connection like the rest of the space and the windows were closed for quite a while. A culprit that creates mold. No air change?

2) The sump pump was likely off for quite a while and the floor may have had water at a low level for a time. A culprit?

3) A foundation issue?

4) I would like to know best way to clean painted walls near molding, the molding and the floor. Use which solvents, soaps, bleach, mildew or mold killers etc... Would like to get rid of the mold and wind up with a more acceptable smell in the room when done.
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Place a dehumidifier in the room.

Spray the surface with 50/50 water bleach.

If it's in the wall void itself you'll be replacing drywall,insulation etc.

culprit could be one or a combination of all hard to say.
Pardon me for asking, but if you moved for less rent, why are you dealing with this rather than just telling the landlord to take care of it? I hope you didn't agree to fix the problem in exchange for a lower rent.
I would say you need to completely remove the molded sheetrock areas, correct the mold problem (probably from lack of vapor barrier), get an inspection, and then re-attach some new rock.
I did do some plumbing in this house over the weekend to correct a leak. I am thinking to trade this service in exchange for the representative getting a cleaning company to fix the issue. If indeed the issue is a long term problem such as mold actually in the walls then I will be able to cope with living in there with occasional cleanings till I am due to move out in about 8 or 9 months.
Mold Mitigation of Painted Surfaces

Mold mitigation is one of my specialties; but rather then getting into detail here, I am attaching an article that should provide you with some direction. As far as the chemicals mentioned in the article; I would recommend Serum Systems, based out of Marietta, GA.

Most important is to find the source of the moisture or water intrusion, and stop it first.

Hope this provides some value.


good info atlanta and welcome to CT!

I'm in the process of a mold remediation job where a water pipe leaked into a first floor unoccupied unit for an extended period of time and it was witnessed that 3-4" of standing water was present at one )lower) end of the unit. after 3-4 weeks of air drying and a lot of mold present on the lower 6-8" of base/wallboard, I was called in to fix it. After tearing off the base and bottom 12" of rock around most of the rooms, the sole plate for many of the walls tested out at over 35% moisture content-that's really wet. Point of the long winded example is, after the exterior surfaces seem 'dry', the inside can still be very wet and a bountiful source for mold growth.

to the OP: is this a basement? determining the source of moisture is key to preventing this from happening again. I use a product called Shockwave-kills all sorts of stuff. a bleach solution would do for your needs-I've read a 10% concentration is to be used. After the solution dry's, remove the mold. Also, set up fans and circulate the air to remove moisture.
Mold in first floor Unit

I do not know who did the drying, prior to you being called in to do the "fix"; but 3-4 weeks of drying is excessive. After standing water is extracted, drying the structure with the right equipment should take about 3 - 5 days at most. I did not see where you mentioned that high efficiency Dehumitification equipment may have been used. The Dehumidifiers (about 1ea every 250SF), should be set up and run for 36-72 hours. This system should be set-up after the drywall is removed and the wall cavities are exposed. I would recommend using thePhoenix HT LGR Dehumidifier (or equivelant). The American Lumber association recommends a moisture content of around 12% in structural wood members; so you would want to monitor the drying process every 12 to 24 hours to get from your 35% moisture down to wihin specification.

Also, you do not want to use air movers or fans when mitigating mold. You will run the risk of the mold spore going airborne and cross contaminating other areas of the unit.
I did do some plumbing work for this house as I had a talk with the rep about doing this work and my concerns about a leaky boiler drain faucet. Latest idea was to trade the plumbing service for the room to be cleaned by a service. Have not heard back from rep in almost a week.

If I wind up being the one to clean it and get no compensation for the work then that's one to chalk up to experience. The experience of cheap people and getting more copper work under my belt as an apprentice plumber.

The lower rent was already in place and had nothing to do with this.
Stop the water and you stop mold growth. Is it the baseboard heat with a small pin hole? Foundation/slab ground water? Even though it may look dry at the surface of the floor or wall/base it very very well could still be damp inside the wall at the stud plate or behind the base. Behind the base is a great spot for mold to grow, guaranteed. Determine where the leak or leaks are coming from stop them. Take some of the base off and see if there is more mold behind the base, if so, take a little drywall off in the worst area and see what the back side looks like, wetting it as you go with a spray bottle to keep mold spores from floating around. Get permission from the owner. Don't use fans if mold is present, you will just blow microscopic mold spores through out the house and create an inhalation problem for yourself and others in the space. If it has mold, more times than not, when possible, remove it. Studs may have to be cleaned and treated with products like Milgo etc.
Okay, my best advice is to move!

I am going to give you some straight info, so the mold doesn't become the least of your worries.

For the last 16 years, I have worked as an insurance restorer and, as an insurance adjuster, specializing in water/fire/structural drying.

1) #1 problem is the unknown source of loss or possible multiple water leaks. As you said, this could be outside water from the threshold, the washer or water heater, or even a slab leak or other unknown source.

Discovery, mitigation and repairs can be costly ($10,000+).

2) There are 3 categories of water, when referring to the degree of contamination, depending on the source and what items the water comes in contact with after entering the structure: 1) clean water, 2) gray water and 3) black water.

It sounds like your water can be a category 2 or 3. This water can be signigficantly or grossly contaminated and contain various degrees of microorganisms or toxins, which can be very harmful to people and pets. You could get very sick and pets can die.

3) Again, proper mitigation and repair costs can be very costly. If not done properly, you could be opening yourself up to liability issues because you are a tenant, and, also wanting to trade plumbing work (aren't you an apprentice) for water/mold mitigation repairs........NOT even close for a trade of services.

If your unit is that low for rent, most likely, the landlord is not going to make proper repairs. This would require a hygienist or IEP, a qualified restoration contractor and proper procedures for mitigation. If not done properly, you could be opening yourself up to a lawsuit by the landlord.

If proper repairs are done right, you would have to move anyway.

Attorneys love vendors who are not qualified for water/mold mitigation.

4) If you open those walls, it is possible that millions of spores (you can't see them) can get in the atmosphere and spread. They can become dormant and regenerate at a later date.

5) To confirm what I am saying, after looking at your pics, reply, and I will try and find someone (qualfied restorer or hygienist/IEP) in your area to confirm what I am saying.

While the walls and moldings can be wiped down, my biggest concern is the seepage through the tile and the mold spores already in the atmosphere.

Don't start your career off on the wrong foot. When so many plumbers were getting sued in Texas, when mold became a big issue, they all got together to create a contract, which would help to reduce their liability in lawsuits.

I understand the economy is tight for everyone, but this place sounds like a potential health hazard. If you have pets, they will be licking their feet and themselves......they can spread microorganizms, get sick or die.

Again, you are the tenant and should not risk your health or open yourself up to unknown financial costs or liability issues.

I am not trying to scare you, yet, make a point of how hazardous this water can be....unknown source....unknown time of seepage.

I do this for a living and have seen simple and complex cases throughout the country.

[email protected]

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