Wet Walls...with mildew

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by omnicat, Dec 20, 2006.

  1. omnicat

    omnicat Well-Known Member

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    I think I asked about this before...but couldn't find it. My western outside walls tend to be WET on the inside. (concrete block - stucco outside, paint over plaster inside). I mean REALLY wet - sometimes drips forming...and black dots of mildew. They're pretty easily cleaned - I've been using hot water, white vinegar, with a little soap.

    I don't think there are any easy solutions (or cheap ones), but if you all have thoughts on it, I'd love to hear!

    It's worse where peices of furniture are against the walls (although the mildew also seems to like to travel up corners, and a bit along the ceiling in the corners of the rooms). I'm going to be pulling everything out about 10 inches and leaving them there, and occasionally aiming a little blower/space heater along the walls to dry them off so I don't have to move things and scrub so often.

    DH wanted to put a dehumidifier in the crawlspace under the house - but I think those might be expensive to run, and not sure how effective it would be down there.
     
  2. MWG

    MWG Well-Known Member

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    Sounds like they didn't seal your block. Don't really know the cheapest way out, but that stuff can turn into black mold and make you really sick or even kill you. I would take care of it right away...
     

  3. omnicat

    omnicat Well-Known Member

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    Seal my block? Heck, there isn't even any insulation! It's 1949 built. I does need to be re-painted (& stucco'd probably), but we're trying to hold off until we can afford rigid exterior insulation. Don't want to paint/stucco twice close together...

    Any suugestions on treating the symptoms until then?
     
  4. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

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    If it were the north wall I would better understand the wall being wet. Is the wall in question being shaded nearly all day? Could the roof have water seeping into the wall cavity somehow. To the point of weeping water that seems to excessive to be moisture generated from inside the home. You need to verify the point of origin of the moisture then determine the method to rid the moisture. Are you using a non vented gas method for heat?
     
  5. MWG

    MWG Well-Known Member

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    Another thing to check would be your gutters. You might need to pipe the water away from the house. Pretty cheap and I have heard that this will fix some homes...
     
  6. Boleyz

    Boleyz Prognosticator, Artist

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    I have no experience with this stuff, but I heard a radio ad of theirs the other day and they said that they'd issued over 200,000 guarantees and hadn't had to pay off on one yet.

    It's either a good product, or the guarantee was drawn up by a good lawyer :p

    http://www.ugl.com/DRYLOKframes02.html
     
  7. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Is this a winter thing, or summer thing, or all year thing, & where are you located? Climate?

    How is your crawl space involved with theregular floor level wall? Or am I not placing this right? Whatever, is your crawl space ventilated?

    Is the wall very cold, & is your kitchen/ bathroom near this west wall?

    Why not a dehumidifier in the room with the problem?

    --->Paul
     
  8. Cabin Fever

    Cabin Fever Life NRA Member since 1976 Supporter

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    This is a no brainer. For condensation to form, two things are required (1) moist laden air and (2) a cool wall. You either have to reduce the moisture in the air (or the source of the moisture) or you have to warm the wall.
     
  9. Maura

    Maura Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Had the same problem on our east walls. I'd paint the walls with Kilz after washing them and rinsing with a bleach solution. It is a thick paint and you will need more than you would with regular paint.

    I think your stucco may be the culprit, trapping water between itself and the blocks. We also had an old block house on an uninsulated concrete pad, but did not have the extensive problem you have. Kilz worked for us, but I think you need to check out the stucco.
     
  10. Boleyz

    Boleyz Prognosticator, Artist

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    Well, you're right of course, IF the problem is condensation. If it's Seepage, then some sort of sealing or drainage away from the wall will be necessary.

    From what I've seen, most wet basement problems are from water leaching through the blocks.

    Condensation is a lot easier to fix.
     
  11. insanity

    insanity Well-Known Member

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    Drylock (sp? Dryloc? ) the interior walls if you think its seeping in.
     
  12. idahodave

    idahodave Well-Known Member

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    I'd think that if it was seepage the paint would be bubbling and peeling off the wall.

    Has it been raining and is there water in the crawl space?

    How about checking the indoor humidity to see it's high.

    Are there indoor moisture sources? An unvented shower or gas heater could put water in the air. If this just started there could be slow leak in a pipe.

    How about a fan blowing on the wall to keep it warmer.
     
  13. Cabin Fever

    Cabin Fever Life NRA Member since 1976 Supporter

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    And Boleyz you are correct, too. However, I interpret her thread as being an upstairs wall problem, not a basement wall problem. Of course, I've misinterpreted problems in the past on many occassions. So which is it Omnicat?
     
  14. Marcia in MT

    Marcia in MT Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Didn't you mention you have a crawlspace? Put a sheet of plastic over the ground, running it right up to the walls and making sure there is plenty of overlap at the seams. We did this to a house we had in Seattle and it was amazing how much it cut the moisture in the house.
     
  15. omnicat

    omnicat Well-Known Member

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    Wow. Thanks so much for all the information!

    It's a concrete block cape cod. (weird, but true). The first floor is about three concrete block layers above the ground level. I have been told that concrete block can behave like a "wick", and pull moisture up. The condensation is even at the top of the walls in those rooms - which is, what, 12 feet up from ground level?

    The west side of the house definitely has a grading problem, and I'm an unbelievable slacker for not dealing with it before the cool weather came (just a little money, and my own labor). It isn't an issue in warmer weather - but then - we also have windows open then.

    The bathroom (just east of the room with it worst) is unvented. Getting an exhaust fan for the shower I'm assuming will be pricey (as it'll have to go through the concrete wall to the north, and lord knows how they'll power it). Ugh. It's on the list - but we have no extra money at the moment.

    I'm going to keep the plastic sheeting trick in mind if the re-grading with a 1/2 yard or so of earth doesn't help (thinking earth will be cheaper than that much plastic sheeting)

    The crawlspace has water issues. water makes entrance from west and north. (northside due to a badly-built covered patio, which leaks, and water runs across the patio floor TOWARD the house, and under the slab foundation of the utility and attached garage-turned-living-space on that side. Will be bartering for a patio roof re-build in the spring from a competant friend in construction)

    I'm not sure if the wall symptoms are from seapage or condensation - possibly a combination, since both are clearly in action here. Maybe it "shows" in those two rooms (bedrooms) because they are cooler than the kitchen and living room - which are on the east side of the house, and don't seem to suffer.

    Will battle from the inside with blower in each room on alternating days to dry and warm the wall.

    And thanks again. It always helps to hear other people's input.
     
  16. omnicat

    omnicat Well-Known Member

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    I interpret her thread as being an upstairs wall problem, not a basement wall problem.

    Just to clarify - the wall is contiguous concrete block from foundation to the roof.
     
  17. omnicat

    omnicat Well-Known Member

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    thanks for the dryloc link. Just checked it out, and it looks like there are several products that could have an application here.
     
  18. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

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    If you are not certain of the source of the majority of the moisture any attempt to control the water could be a waste of time.
     
  19. MWG

    MWG Well-Known Member

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    Wow. I would fix that immediately. Not sure of what part of the country you are in but if mildew and mold starts growing in your crawspace you are in deep trouble. My mother had the same problem and it took them 2 years to get the crawspace cleaned up after they fixed the water problem. They had to run fans continuously and spray clorox everywhere every week or so to kill all the mold.
     
  20. omnicat

    omnicat Well-Known Member

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    Haven't noticed mildew/mold in the crawlspace. dirt underfoot (or possibly "underknee"), and the nekkid concrete block down there doesn't seem to have any - maybe it needs a smooth surface?