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pwaldo 08-25-2013 02:13 PM

cabin remodel
We recently purchased an older small cabin that is slab on grade. the cabin had seenlittle use the last couple years and there were no roof vents. About half the structure as concrete block walls. We had a musty/mold smell in the concrete block portion. There was also old rubber back carpeting on concrete floor that was trapping moisture under it. I have pretty much gutted that portion of cabin. I have removed all furniture, paneling, firring strips on wall and carpeting. There was some evidence of mold or mildew on wood framing along floor. I cleaned with bleach, but the smell persists.
Do I need to remove all wall framing and sheetrock from ceiling? I plan on bleaching all walls, then with use vinegar to create an acidic environment to prevent further growth. Then replace framing on concrete walls and insulate with closed cell spray foam insulation to seal up completely.
Looking for confirmation that I am on right track or other suggestions.

oh'mike 08-25-2013 05:37 PM

You will do better with a picture---you mentioned block walls--then framing---

Are you speaking of furring strips?

Mos often, after removing all of the old wall.ceiling and floor coverings--the area is cleaned well with a mold inhibitor and the painter with a shellac based primer---this will seal in much of the musty smell---

pwaldo 08-25-2013 06:49 PM

cabin remodel
I am in Minnesota
Yes I meant furring strips.
If I seal or paint wall with Kilz or something similar and then spray foam will that create a double moisture barrier and create a problem by possibly trapping moisture between the layers. Or would i be better allowing spray foam adhere directly to the block. Block does have a layer or 2 of paint on it now.

oh'mike 08-25-2013 07:04 PM

I don't think it will make a great deal of difference---I think spraying would be the easiest---but if you do,use a darned good respirator-- that Kilz is rough on the lungs--real rough.

user1007 08-25-2013 09:01 PM

You mentioned part of this cabin is concrete and hinted there is some wood framing in places. What is the rest made out of?

Careful with the spray foams but not a bad idea. Just remember to use those fire rated or you could have building code or insurance issues.

The other comment that caught my attention is that you seek to create an acidic environment to prevent mold growth. Just curious where this thinking came from and not saying it is good or bad.

But my first reaction is you have essentially alkaline and chemically basic concrete floors and concrete walls for at least part of the cabin and are essentially suggesting to not only balance the overall Ph with an acid but to shift the environment toward the acidic end of the spectrum on a permanent basis somehow? Ever put a tablespoon of baking soda into a quarter cup of vinegar? I think without knowing you are proposing to put your concrete in the same situation as the baking soda if you shift your environment so far to acidic. Perhaps not as dramatically.

I can see neutralizing your caustic bleach wash with a mild vinegar solution when you are done---with windows open please. I don't see how shifting Ph to the acidic side is going to do that much for mold or mildew growth alone if this place is closed up tight most of the time.

It sounds like what you might need are provisions for better ventilation? Orchids love fresh air but most mold and mildew spores hate fresh moving air.

pwaldo 08-25-2013 10:10 PM

Half of the cabin was built in 68 and then expanded in 70's. initial structure was cement block and the rest of cabin is normal stick built, but still slab on grade.
The vinegar thing came from internet searches on DIY. Yes mild vinegar treatment and yes I think addition of roof vents and more soffit vents to promote correct airflow will also go along way to make the entire cabin breathe better.

user1007 08-25-2013 11:15 PM


Originally Posted by pwaldo (Post 1234223)
The vinegar thing came from internet searches on DIY. Yes mild vinegar treatment and yes I think addition of roof vents and more soffit vents to promote correct airflow will also go along way to make the entire cabin breathe better.

"The problem with quotes on the Internet is that it is often difficult to
verify their authenticity." - Abraham Lincoln

You cannot seal a place up, with whatever absurd argument about Ph balance, and not expect mold or or mildew. Glad you caught the as usual subtle nature of my post. Some say I come off as too opinionated. This nonsense about an acidic interior to prevent mold growth just offends the part of me that wrote about science a time or two.

Ventilation will make a huge difference. Raising acid levels in an alkaline concrete sort of place is just going to create some sort of battle that always happens between acid and basic substances.

pwaldo 08-26-2013 01:12 PM

Both your opinions are what was requested and appreciated.

TrailerParadise 09-11-2013 08:33 AM

i know you already have the answer you were searching for, but i figured you would be interested to know that when i found mold inside my kitchen walls, i used a mixture of white vinegar and water on the bare studs to get rid of the mold itself, and once it dried, i painted the entire area, studs and siding, with Kilz2 Mold and Mildew resistant primer, two coats. It got rid of the smell and will prevent anything from growing back. In case you still have an issue, this might help.

Strangecap 10-04-2013 10:58 PM

I hope you were able to remediate your mold situation. I think the vinegar treatment would work ok on the wood. A borax solution is also recommended. I know it sounds hokey, but it is pretty well documented that it creates an environment that mold doesn't like.

You mentioned the mildew odor still persisting. Keep in mind that on wood, the mold roots grow down into the fibers. Bleach does not absorb below the surface due to its chemical structure, so you are just killing the mold on the surface, but the roots still survive underneath. Some good, easy to read info on this on the EPA website, and an especially good page on removing mold from wood at the website. Its a simple, but informative source.

Good luck:thumbup:

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