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Laminate wood flooring. Musty

 
 
Reply Fri 26 Jun, 2020 01:50 pm
Hello I've tried to clean my basement apartment floor many times. less than day would pass before a strong musty smell returns. the smell becomes stronger during the evening.

I've cleaned with laminate floor cleaner. less than a day later smell returns.

I've cleaned with Vinegar / hot water. smell returns the next day.
I've cleaned with Bleach / hot water. smell returns etc.
I"ve tried 99% alcohol.
I've tried mixing pure vinegar and 99% alcohol.
I've tried heating pure vinegar and 99% alcohol.
I've tried bleach, vinegar, 99% alcohol all together. all pure.

I've tried moldex. leaving first for the directed time. less than aday passes the smell returns. I've tried coating it saturating it, and leaving it to dry naturally. taking about 45-60 minutes. it still smells the next day or 2 days later.

I use a powerful dehumidifier, its on all day every day, even when outside humidity is low. the indicator never goes above 35. some days i empty it once or twice a day (it holds a gallon)

I'm at my wits end. I've tried every kind of cleaner, home remedy. but nothing removes the smell. it returns the next day like it was never cleaned.

i can smell it on the walls, and its starting to penetrate my wooden furniture.

I can't remove the floor, as I rent. so i can only wash it every day.

it smells musty. i can't visibly see anything growing, even behind the kick board at the bottom of the wall, there is no sign of mold. just the stench. its only in one side of the house.
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Type: Question • Score: 1 • Views: 157 • Replies: 14
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neptuneblue
 
  2  
Reply Fri 26 Jun, 2020 01:55 pm
@Patacakes,
It there an underlayment that maybe trapping moisture? Have you tried a de-humidifier?
Patacakes
 
  1  
Reply Fri 26 Jun, 2020 02:01 pm
@neptuneblue,
i have a dehumidifier running all the time. even during the night. i empty it maybe once some times twice a day. the indicator never goes above 35
neptuneblue
 
  1  
Reply Fri 26 Jun, 2020 02:20 pm
@Patacakes,
I dunno, still think it's moisture trapped underneath, especially if the floor wasn't waterproofed before laying the underlayment down. Any chance getting a bigger, stronger CFM type dehumidier? Running them both?
Patacakes
 
  1  
Reply Fri 26 Jun, 2020 02:58 pm
@neptuneblue,
Thanks for the suggestion. two years ago the apartment above us broke a pipe during the cold winter, it ruined the lower basement apartment where I live. the restoration company fixed the place up, but less than 2 weeks after moving back in i noticed the smell. i informed the land owner of the problem but she ignored it saying the same thing as yourself get a bigger dehumidifier.

the dehumidifier i use can dry out our bathroom (after a shower) in less than hour, from 50%+ humidity to 30% normally i empty the tray after a long shower. our extractor fan in there is also quite good. but I wanted to test how well the dehumidifier would work. and was not surprised by the effectivness considering its strength.

in the slightly larger salon / sitting room, where i have my TV, and soft ( the problem area) its just a little under double the size of the bathroom. I use a powerful floor standing fan to help force extra air towards the dehumidifier, creating a kind of circle of air flow in the room. so the exhaust of dehumidifier blows clockwise around the room, the fan is on the other side continuing the flow of air back towards the dehumidifier.

I know for sure the restoration team did not treat the floor properly. but I informed the land owner who did nothing about it. so I feel when I leave it will be their problem.

But until then, its my problem. I was thinking of attaching a funnel like whats on a clothing dryer to the exhaust of my dehumidifier and just taping it to the hole in the floor where my electric heater is. but i'm not sure how effective this will be at airing out under the floor.
neptuneblue
 
  1  
Reply Fri 26 Jun, 2020 03:08 pm
@Patacakes,
Is the floor buckling at all? What type of laminate is it?
Patacakes
 
  1  
Reply Fri 26 Jun, 2020 03:16 pm
@neptuneblue,
just a dark brown faux wood laminate. they're installed like normal floor boards, just clipped together. they have a plastic like upper coating. but thoughout the whole sitting room area i can smell the musty smell on the floor and the external walls of that side of the house. the middle room and back room have the exact same flooring, but the smell is weaker as i move to the back bedroom.

the floor boards look fine, in the two years since them getting installed they look the same, even with my intense cleaning i was sure i'd ruin the floor with the hash bleach and vinegar mixes but it still looks as good as the day they were installed. with the few minor marks from wear and tear over two years. you couldn't tell from a photo or picture that they are two years old. no bulging or warping anywhere in the sitting room area.
neptuneblue
 
  1  
Reply Fri 26 Jun, 2020 03:24 pm
@Patacakes,
Some laminates have the underlayment attached directly to the board. Others use a plastic padded sheeting material the wood is installed on top of. If moisture is trapped under this type of underlayment, then it's virtually impossible to get it to dry out without peeling it all up and re-laying a new underlayment. Your idea of a dryer vent type solution will have mixed results, but it cant get into the middle portion of the underlayment. Water will continually seep and then dry out.
Patacakes
 
  1  
Reply Fri 26 Jun, 2020 03:29 pm
@neptuneblue,
from the bit of the restoration I was able to see while the builders where at the apartment, ( and the left over bits of floor in the back) its all one unit. there is no padded layer between the floorboards and the chipboard layer under it.
neptuneblue
 
  1  
Reply Fri 26 Jun, 2020 03:45 pm
@Patacakes,
Another issue is being in the below-ground level. Moisture runs along the exterior wall and travels under the concrete floor, where it gets drawn up into due to the nature of concrete itself. If that's not sealed or the waterproofing on the exterior walls is bad, that also affect the flooring.
Patacakes
 
  1  
Reply Fri 26 Jun, 2020 03:58 pm
@neptuneblue,
i guess the only solution is to burn the place to the ground lol.
neptuneblue
 
  1  
Reply Fri 26 Jun, 2020 04:04 pm
@Patacakes,
Or, find a new place to dwell...
Patacakes
 
  1  
Reply Fri 26 Jun, 2020 04:38 pm
@neptuneblue,
I'm already looking for a new place around my local area. but with Covid and the general shape of other rental property in this area are much the same, I'm holding out til I can buy my own place. which is planned for next year. i rather hold out and try my best at keeping this issue at bay til i go, than move into a possibly worse situation. because except for the overly musty smell the apartment is nice. i just wish i could deal with the smell.
neptuneblue
 
  2  
Reply Fri 26 Jun, 2020 04:41 pm
@Patacakes,
Keep doing what you're doing for the short term then.

Glade Plug in's, candles and musky incense as well.
0 Replies
 
PUNKEY
 
  2  
Reply Fri 26 Jun, 2020 07:28 pm
I’d paint the walls with stain kill or a coat of Dri- lock.

I don’t think it’s the floors, since you don’t detect any moisture. But to be sure, pull up a piece (like in a closet or behind a door) and examine it.

Basements, by nature, have “ that” Unique smell, but it shouldn’t be that strong.
0 Replies
 
 

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