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Old 04-15-2010, 08:01 AM   #1
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efflorescence and musty smell


My house was built in 1965 on a slab with radiant heat. We gutted the entire house abandoned the radiant heat and added a second floor. The most serious problem our contractor left us with is the musty smell in 2 of the three first floor bedrooms. I keep a hepa fliter on in my daughters bedroom her allergies were acting up something fierce. I recently noticed efflorescence on the outside of the house foundation. What does this mean. Oh ! iforgot to tell you we built up the the bedroom floors with plywood and wall to wall.carpeting, I pulled out he carpeting the plywood is clean no stains. HELP!

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Old 04-15-2010, 08:54 AM   #2
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efflorescence and musty smell


excessive moisture in the house is most likely caused by excessive moisture in the crawlspace. You did not post where you are located so it will be impossible to give you more details.

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Old 04-15-2010, 02:08 PM   #3
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efflorescence and musty smell


no crawl space, just slab. Land is pretty dry and drains well, we have 2 acres. we r in Westchester county new york
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Old 04-15-2010, 03:00 PM   #4
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efflorescence and musty smell


did you remove some of the plywood to see if mold is growing under them. If someone placed plywood directly over the concrete mold will grow. What is the average indoor humidity? Needs to be under 70% to prevent mold and under 65% to prevent duct mites.
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Old 04-16-2010, 12:43 PM   #5
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No i did not however the musty smell sometime disappears (not often) It would be easier to deal with the outside issues first like gutters and whatever else I should be reevaluating, then I'll left up the rug and plywood But I ahve to say the plywood was immaculate from corner to corner i checked when we replaced the carpeting.
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Old 04-16-2010, 02:01 PM   #6
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efflorescence and musty smell


Yes in every case the exterior issues like gutters, drainage away from foundation needs to be addressed. But these created the smells but the smell still means mold somewhere. The top of the plywood means nothing... it will be under the plywood. Either pull some up or rent an infra-red camara.
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Old 04-17-2010, 05:05 AM   #7
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efflorescence and musty smell


Hi

When you say 'musty' would mushrooms come to mind?

This kind of smell is a dead sure indicator that you have a problem with timber decay, which is usually caused by high humity/damp and a lack of ventilation.

As a pointer - the problem should and I am only saying should be near to where the smells are occuring. As already mentioned by Bob you will need to take up the ply flooring as you possibly have a leaking/damaged water/central heating pipe. This may only be a very small leak but it will be sufficient to dampen the timber and the carpet on top of the ply would likely mean that there is little ventilation - which would provide ideal conditions for the onset of timber decay (dry rot) which is a fungus (hence mushroom smell) that feeds on the cellulose structure of timber.

With respect to the efflourescence - do a simple test and place some of the material between your thumb and forefinger and roll it together - if it disintergrates its salts, if it balls together it more than likely dry rot, which can travel through and across all types of construction materials and enjoys a feast whenever it comes into contact with timber!
Hopefully its salts, if not you will need a specialist out to investigate further.
However, if it is salts and you have not had this problem before it could be indicative of a leaking pipe inside the structure, and your first action should be to get a damp meter and see if you can trace any damp, which may require you to expose the structural slab inside the house.

You need to be aware that you are looking for a relative needle in a haystack and it may not be a 5 minute job to resolve the problems and could also be highly intrusive e.g. taking up floors, tracing pipework etc.

I wish you the best of luck!

Regards
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Old 04-19-2010, 09:26 AM   #8
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efflorescence and musty smell


thank you so much for the education. What kind of contractor would do that kind of work?
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Old 04-19-2010, 09:29 AM   #9
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efflorescence and musty smell


a home performance contractor can find moisture problems using an infrared camera. This way you do not have to demo anything until you isolate the problem.
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Old 04-19-2010, 09:33 AM   #10
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so I'll google home performance contractor?? Is it expensive
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Old 04-19-2010, 09:45 AM   #11
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efflorescence and musty smell


not as much as tearing into the house and not being sure where to look. Look at the BPI.org site for a listing of available contractors in your area. ( http://72.16.229.170/content/affiliates/find.php ) They will only charge if the find the problem. Normally 300-450.

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