Mold On Walls

Thu 17 Feb, 2005 05:59 am
I have a house that is in cloud forest with extremely high humidity producing mold all over the place especially on the painted walls. In the US I used a primer called Sta-Kil by Porter Paints that was very effective at stoping mold in humid situations but that's not available here. Any ideas?
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Thu 17 Feb, 2005 08:11 am
I just had some work done on my home . Mold was found in a few places on our ceiling. The roof was replaced and the roofer actually took tilex to the mold.
Saturated the spots of the mold, even where there was paint.
Left us the bottle and said that we should spray them once a month IF it seems like it is coming back .
He said that the ingredient in Tilex is the same as some expencive treatments , just in a thinner form so it isnt as dangerous for normal everyday house use.

Maybe, you could use some on your walls?
We also had a problem with some mold around our window sills in a wall papered bathroom ( sigh) this house is 32 years old and we are finding more and more little things wrong. Laughing
BUT- the roofer stated very clearly that if there was mold on the wallpaper that the entire paper had to go beause the small spores were probally all over the paper and thriving in the glue. ( an older type of glue that was common to wallpaper about 10+ years ago has been found to be a great breeding ground for certain molds.. ) Humph. Who knew?

I hope this helps some!
Good luck to you. Molds can be pretty stubborn.
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Thu 17 Feb, 2005 08:16 am
Pitter, I thought you were going to get outta there, though?

I worry about you!
Thu 17 Feb, 2005 05:16 pm
Thank you shewolfnm I wonder if I can find Tilex here. A lot of the really usefull stuff from the US ain't available for example no acetone. I guess they make bombs or process drugs with it. And thank you Sozbe, well yes and no. I'm still dawdling over handing it over to a real estate agent. It's all so peacefull in the daytime.
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Thu 17 Feb, 2005 06:29 pm
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Thu 17 Feb, 2005 06:36 pm
Pitter, usually I would recommend getting rid of the source of the moisture, but the circumstances you describe probably makes that hard to do.

The first thing I would do is to invest in one or two dehumidifiers. Its amazing how much moisture can be removed from a house in only 24 hours. I know Sears has them for a reasonable price. I suggest two in case you have a two story house.

The second thing to do is to wash down all wall surfaces with water treated with bleach. The bleach kills the surface mold. If the mold is penetrating the interior of the walls, you need to consult with a professional to solve that problem. If your walls are of sheet rock, be sure any replacement sheet rock is "blue board" which resists moisture, such as in bathrooms, much better than standard sheetrock.

The third thing to do is to always have a mildicide added to any paint product you use for both the interior and exterior. This will help to prevent recurring mold. Always pressure wash the exterior of the house to get rid of as much mold as possible before painting.

The forth thing to do is to have a professional examine the outside of your house to see if it is possible to seal the exterior surface to stop moisture penetration. I would also have all your windows checked to be sure they are not leaky, allowing moisture to enter your home. Be sure your windows are properly grouted with a flexible silicon grout.

The fifth thing to do is to have a professional examine your attic venting over the house and the garage. Make sure theer are enough vents and that they are not blocked or clogged. An attic fan that circulates the air might also help.

The following is an article I wrote on the subject.


By BumbleBeeBoogie

Before my retirement as the architectural administrator for a 3,000 homes master homeowners association in California for over 14 years, I saw a lot of unnecessary damage caused by decay fungus. It is sad to see how much money is spent each year on these preventable home repairs, mostly to trim and siding .

More than 5% of all construction lumber manufactured in the U. S. is used to replace wood that has decayed in existing structures. Damage to wood frame buildings by mildew, mold, staining, and decay is easily preventable. It is usually caused by design flaws, poor workmanship, and or neglected maintenance.

Microorganisms cause mildew, mold, staining, and decay; they belong to a huge group of primitive plants called fungi. Fungi have four growth requirements similar to our basic human needs: food, water, air, and a satisfactory temperature. Decay will be prevented if any one of the four requirements is removed. The most effective way to prevent fungal deterioration is to keep the area dry.


* Mildew

Exterior mildews often appear on unheated projecting parts of buildings such as eaves that cool quickly after sunset causing dew to form. North facing walls and walls shaded by trees and other obstructions that restrict sunlight and airflow are also candidates. While mildew won't grow where siding crosses studs and other thermal bridges, mildew may thrive over the cooler, insulated bays between studs, where dew persists to provide the needed moisture. These mildews are easily removed with a chlorine and detergent solution.

* Mold

Molds need a surface moisture content of about 20% to get started. Molds tend to be a discoloration on the surface of wood. Discoloration aside, molds generally have little effect on wood's integrity. Prevention lies wholly in controlling air moisture levels and condensation through proper site drainage and ventilation.

* Staining Fungi

Staining fungi is found almost exclusively in freshly sawn lumber. If not treated, or if the moisture content is not reduced to an intolerable level, this fungi can destroy certain wood cells leaving the wood susceptible to decay.

* Decay Fungi (Dry Rot)

While discoloration by mildew, mold, and staining fungi is only an appearance problem, decay fungus threatens the structural integrity of wood. Suitably termed the "slow fire", these fungi eat the very cellulose of which wood cells are made. Decay fungi are what we commonly call dry rot, even though it is caused by water.

Moisture content is the critical factor that makes wood susceptible to decay. It must exceed 28%, and liquid water must be present in cell cavities before decay fungi can gain a toehold. Once established, some fungi can carry on their destruction at a moisture content as low as 20%. When moisture content falls below this level, all fungal activity stops. That's one reason why framing lumber is dried to 19% moisture content or less.

It doesn't take a trained eye to recognize decay in its advanced stages. Wood is visibly discolored, spongy, and musty. Surfaces may be stringy, shrunken, or split across the grain. Decay extends deep into the wood and strength loss is significant.

Before repainting the exterior or interior of your house, look for evidence of mildew or mold on the wall surfaces. Remove mildew or mold with an application of a bleach and water mixture. When you purchase your house paint, have a mildicide added to the the paint or purchase the mildicide at your local paint store and add it to the paint yourself.


Like mold, mildew, and staining, drying up the moisture can stop existing decay. But remember that to make the remedy permanent, you've got to cure the disease (water infiltration) not just treat the symptoms (mildew, mold, and decay).

The first and most important step when you find decay is to learn the source of the water penetration. Once the source has been shut off, remove and/or replace as much of the decayed wood as is practical and economical. Decayed wood absorbs and holds water more readily than sound wood, inviting further decay and insect attack. Let any areas you don't restore dry out before making repairs or this moisture will be the fuel for a continuation of the "slow burn".


The best defense against decay is preventing water intrusion through design, good workmanship, and proper maintenance. Properly placed metal flashings are a must with building methods and materials of today. Proper application of caulking also is very important. Proper means not trapping water with a caulking dam.

People appreciate the details of old Victorian homes where every exterior piece of wood harmonized with each other to shed water down and away from the structure. Not many of us could afford to build a house that way today, but we need to keep the principles the same. When building or repairing, try to think like water; how can I get in this house? How can I keep that intruder out?

Annual inspections and qualified repair personnel are key to a healthy exterior. A home owner or property Manager should be on the constant lookout for problem areas. If you don't know what to look for, ask a professional. An experienced contractor can survey your properties and submit a report of the specific conditions, location of each problem, and a recommended repair scenario with materials specifications. This survey can be presented to repair contractors for estimates.

Through proper design, workmanship, and maintenance, many dollars can be saved on wood building repairs each year.
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Thu 17 Feb, 2005 07:49 pm
The worrying was not about Pitter's mold, just his situation, but I agree on all bbb wrote. I will add that something I meant to try back in Venice, CA makes sense to me - our electrician friend suggested using a fluorescent light positioned under the house (we had a house set on a cripple wall, not a concrete pad) and left on all the time in rainy season (continuous drying low level heat) This is assuming the house doesn't have a river of water running under it, heh. (Personally I'd want that on a ground fault interrupter, and I'm not so sure it's a safe idea.) Anyway, that interested me - but the better thing for us to have done there would have been to improve drainage away from the house, so the plume of dampness going through the soil from rainfall would occur further from the house. We did do that and the situation improved.
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Thu 17 Feb, 2005 08:00 pm
Stachybotrus, is the black mold. Besides the rot fungi that BBB talked about, this one can be a source of mesothelioma ,and is almost as significant a vector as asbestos or carbon dust
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Thu 17 Feb, 2005 09:00 pm
Osso Buco's comments about ground water drainage away from the house is also important. Also, be sure the ground soil is not above the house foundation or ground water will be wicked up into the house siding and eventually into your house.

One thing I forgot to mention is that you can often spot the source of the moisture intrusion from the mold patterns. If it starts at the bottom of the wall, its probably water under the house or water running down the inside of the walls to the floor. If the mold starts around windows, you probably have window leaks. If it starts near the ceiling, you have roof or attic problems.

I once had mold problems in a high rise condo that was eventually discovered to have improperly installed window by the developer. The walls behind tall furniture were darker with mold than what was visible on the open walls. The windows were reinstalled and the sheetrock was replaced with blue board---and the problem went away.

Mold is very bad for your health so you can't just let it go on for long.

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Tue 12 Apr, 2005 06:44 pm
Is it Smart to Buy a House With Visible Mold?
My fiance and I have found a house that we can actually afford in a booming neighborhood nearby. We are very excited about it, because it would be a wonderful investment for us. It definitely needs a bit of fixing up...mostly just cosmetic things. The only problems we see are 2 small patches of what appears to be mold on the paint of both of the bedrooms.
The mold is speckled and black and is located on the wall near the floor of each room. We are first time home buyers and do not have a ton of money saved up to deal with any huge problems. The seller has stated that the home must go as is. Is this something we should be concerned about? As far as I can tell our options are:
1.) Back out of the contract citing the presence of mold in the rooms.
2.) Bring in a mold inspector to determine the level of the problem (if problem is too big, we would have to back out of the deal, but would then be out more $$)
3.) Treat the surfaces ourselves to get rid of the visible mold, and repaint the walls (which we're planning on doing anyway).

Anyone have any opinions?

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Tue 12 Apr, 2005 06:53 pm
mold can be very dangerous. Call your insurer and ask them to recommend an inspector.
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Sun 9 Aug, 2015 04:16 pm
You must remediate the mold professionally not spray something that mold eats ,That sounds like a scam ,remediate means to remove spray means B.S.
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