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Old 02-23-2011, 08:03 AM   #1
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Is this floor joist cavity deteriorating?


The attached photo is actually the worst of the ones I was able to photograph, but I see the white stuff on the joists in several other cavities as well. So my question is what am I seeing here on the floor boards above and the floor joists on the side, and is it or is it not a concern.
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Old 02-23-2011, 08:27 AM   #2
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Is this floor joist cavity deteriorating?


I kinda think it's mold! Looks like moisture has gotten in there?? Any bathrooms around? And is that a pipe in the background? Could be the water source?

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Old 02-23-2011, 08:34 AM   #3
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Is this floor joist cavity deteriorating?


i agree, looks like surface mold... is there a noticeable odour?? is it damp??

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Old 02-23-2011, 08:51 AM   #4
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Is this floor joist cavity deteriorating?


There isn't currently noticeable odor, but when there was it would've been difficult to distinguish odor from this area due to stronger odors from moisture damage in the ceiling and cellulose above which has been removed. The house was built in 1917 so it's been through a lot at various points in time from what I can tell. What also makes me suspect there was water damage is the fact that I have drywall attached to joists. Many other areas of the house have lath and plaster attached with drywall over lath and plaster. This is the joists under the second floor. The joists under the first floor have much more extensive rotting at the exterior wall and have been sistered.

The floor joists apparently meet in the middle over a beam in the first floor ceiling. This beam is sagging, so I'm wondering if water damage may be part of the problem and if this area will need structural attention.

I am addressing the first floor before I start on this, but I want to know if this merits tearing off flooring and/or ceiling.
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Old 02-23-2011, 09:41 AM   #5
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Is this floor joist cavity deteriorating?


I don't think you have to tear it all out. First I would check around for a water source and if it's not obvious, go hunting! Then I would wash the mold off (soap, a little bleach mixed in water and a scrub brush! Where a mask for protection if you're worried about mold spores) use a fan in the area to dry it out. Once dry assess the wood for anything majorly defective. Based on the photo I'd say it's fine. Just find where the water is coming from and that will prevent any more issues.

I renovated a house built a little before yours and had the same type of issues. An old drain was leaking and because it wasn't constant I didn't know until I opened the floor for new plumbing. I cleaned the area, dried it out and continued on with the reno.

Hope it works out for you.
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Old 02-23-2011, 09:59 AM   #6
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Is this floor joist cavity deteriorating?


I'm pretty sure this was from roof leakage, I've already completely replaced the roof. There is no plumbing in this area.
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Old 02-23-2011, 10:14 AM   #7
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Is this floor joist cavity deteriorating?


The least you should do is remove the mold and check the structural damage to any members, esp the beam
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Old 02-23-2011, 11:07 AM   #8
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Is this floor joist cavity deteriorating?


Anything like that will require removing either floor or ceiling. The picture was taken by shoving the digital camera into the cavity and pushing the button, I can reach in from the side attic but reaching those points isn't something that's easily done.

I'm thinking at this point that I'm looking for an excuse to tear this stuff out anyway, it'll happen eventually. I suspect structural issues as the beam has 3 or 4 inches of sag.

For the time being, I've heard about Concrobium for killing mold, and looking at their web site you can rent a fogger for this kind of difficult access situation, so that might be a good short-term fix.

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