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Hanni 01-21-2011 07:31 PM

CRawl Space Mold Maybe Rot or Bug infestation too?
HI All, my first post here. Have been reading for several weeks.

Finally took a ton of pics. 15 years ago we had an addition put in 25 x 13.5 with a 2 foot crawlspace. it was vented on two sides with batt insulation facing to the sub floor and a 2" thick concrete rough flooring. No leaks or anything ever. we never had any problem except for the floor being really cold in the wintertime. So last summer my husband started to Pink board the rim joists & seal with foam. The intention was to complete all rim joists, do the block walls with pink board and install a vapor barrier on the floor. He only got to sealing off the vents and 1/2 of the rim joists. All the insulation was left in place. Problem was his sciatica kicked in and we left it alone until recently where I decided to finish the job. Well we have mold now. I started going in and cleaning with 8 oz Clorox to 40ish ox. water using a pump plant mister. Well, When I pulled down more insulation and looked more closely I found what appears to be rot. Not sure if it is wet or dry rot. ALso some weird hole that may be some kind of infestation, not sure what. I saw no termite tunnels like pics I have seen on the web, no clear residue of any sort. I took a ton of pictures and here is the link to the photo album.

If anyone cares to take a look you can see the variety of pics. I would appreciate it very much so. These joists were normal at one and not bad lumber.

Thank you in advance,

Ron6519 01-21-2011 07:59 PM

I see no rot in the pictures, only some minor mold. What you think is rot is just typical milling issues with framing wood.
Some of the pictures are out of focus, so I can't speak to those.

oh'mike 01-21-2011 08:03 PM

Hanni---Good news---and a little bad.

The wood looks like it is showing typical damage from high humidity--I saw not rot or bug signs--
Just built with some scruffy looking floor joists.

Now--what were you thinking,covering up the vents? You need to get some air moving to keep that dry---

An enclosed space like that is either vented to the atmosphere or it must be 'conditioned' --heated and air conditioned.

I think GBR and a few others here can give you a better set of instructions than I could--

Be patient--help will come---Mike---

Hanni 01-21-2011 08:34 PM

Thanks you guys so much, I really appreciate it. I was so nice to have a response so quickly, I am so stressed out over this. It is a little challenging in that dark & confined space to get good pictures when you wear eyeglasses & have goggles on LOL!

I do plan to completely seal with pink board & vapor barrier well taped as well as install a Santa Fe crawlspace Dehumidifier set to 40%. Summer is the high humidity time for us here in NJ.

My concern is I do not believe the wood looked like that prior to the mold. I can't say I am sure, but I had been in there when it was fairly new and I think I would have noticed. Can't be positive though. Also, there are 54 pictures. I will post the ones that concern me the most below:

1.This joist I cleaned up, but seems to have shrunk & looks kinda dry It happens to run above the cold & hot water pipes tio kitchen sink:

Looking up at same joist:

2.This looks like something bored into it:

This joist looks like it was shredded:

You think it will all die off once I clean it with the bleach mixture and never ever allow high humidity again?

Thanks ever so much & god bless!

oh'mike 01-21-2011 08:43 PM

Floor joists often get dented and edges crushed---When the wood is subjected to high humidity the crushed and torn fibers puff up-----Much the way a books pages puff up when left in the rain--

That damage you see now was already there--you can see it now because the torn fibers puffed up,

The joists are still sound--you got it in time---Mike--

Hanni 01-21-2011 08:52 PM

OMG you have no idea how good that sounds to me. My husband will be thrilled to hear it.

Mike, not to be a pain in the rear, but after cleaning the mold with the bleach mixture, and as long as we we seal it all up properly for an unvented crawl space and use the dehumidifier set to 40% always, we should be good to go? We keep two access panels open to the basement which gets heat because we have some uninsulated steam pipes as well as two running thru the crawl space. Bleach is okay if your mind? A chemist my hubby works with says yes as well as my retired bro-in-law who used to be a contractor.

Thanks my brother!

Earnie 01-22-2011 06:51 AM


I have similar mold issues in my crawlspace. I plan to use Bora-Care vs. bleach on my framing.

Hanni 01-22-2011 07:30 AM

Hi Earnie,
Good Luck. Are you planning on using a sprayer? What are your plans to remedy the cause? Let us know how it works out for you.

I am also considering renting a Comm'l Dry Steam Vapor Cleaner from HD. Am researching this. My hope is that the high temp will kill mold, and if I am really lucky, lift the stains off too. I will report back if I do this.


Ron6519 01-22-2011 07:48 AM

Spraying chlorine is very dangerous. Try using something that won't eat away your sinus cavity.
There are products made for this application that are safer to use.
You should still use a mask made for this(not a dust mask) as well as eye protection.

Earnie 01-22-2011 07:50 AM

Hi Hanni,

Monday a mold remediation company is cleaning the crawlspace of mold. Later in the spring when it is warmer, I plan to treat the rim joist framing area with Bora-Care prior to sealing that area with spray foam or foam board and Roxul insulation.

When that project is compete, the crawlspace block walls will either be covered with 16 mil vapor barrier or painted with Zinsser WaterTite.

The ground is already covered with a 6 mil vapor barrier but I plan to upgrade it to 16 mil. I have a de-humidifier running to keep humidity under control.

Hanni 01-22-2011 07:57 AM

You are so right, protective gear is a must.
I use a Wilson chemical respirator (has 2 cartridges), goggles & gloves. I only clean 2 joists, get out wait a week for it to dry. Then wipe off as much mold as I can with baby wipes. I am using about 20% bleach to water. Didn't notice the fumes while in there, but after being out & removing mask you could smell it in the house.

Maintenance 6 01-22-2011 10:08 AM

There is no reason to go higher than 10% bleach. Anything over that just adds to the danger of breathing the stuff. Concentrations as low as 5% have been proven to be completely effective in killing and cleaning mold.

oatlord 01-22-2011 05:58 PM


Originally Posted by Maintenance 6 (Post 575539)
There is no reason to go higher than 10% bleach. Anything over that just adds to the danger of breathing the stuff. Concentrations as low as 5% have been proven to be completely effective in killing and cleaning mold.

I was told bleach is 100% ineffective when combating mold on wood. The wood is too porous, and the bleach isn't very effective at battling mold in the first place. There are other products that work, like the ones that foam (not sure of their names).

Maintenance 6 01-23-2011 07:34 AM

Sorry. You were told wrong. Sodium Hypochlorite (bleach), will not only kill mold and mold spores, but will also break them down into their component parts (protiens). Molds aren't armor plated aliens. Many, many things will kill molds and spores. Most foaming cleaners contain sodium hypochlorite.......... Bleach. Most of the info about bleach being ineffective is spread by companies trying to sell some magic mold killing potions. The biggest drawback about bleach is the chloroform compounds that it can create if used improperly.

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