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Old 03-23-2010, 02:51 PM   #1
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Is this a mold problem?


My house was built around 1920, and I think it has cinderblock walls in the basement. It is hard to tell because there is a chalky plaster material over the walls. There are ceramic tiles half way up the wall in one room. These tiles have splotchy black marks all over them. The basement gets quite warm from the furnace, but there is no visible leaking.

I assume it is mold, but I am not sure because the room does not smell moldy and the black marks can be wiped away. Is this mold? If so how do I get rid of it myself? There is no way I can afford the super high prices charged by mold abatement companies. Thanks to all who answer.

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Old 03-23-2010, 06:14 PM   #2
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Is this a mold problem?


"Bleach" is the short answer.

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Old 03-23-2010, 06:28 PM   #3
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Is this a mold problem?


Thanks for your prompt response. When I googled this issue I read there is some controversy about the effectiveness of bleach for mold.
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Old 03-23-2010, 06:51 PM   #4
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Is this a mold problem?


In a strong enough concentration bleach will get rid of (kill off) mold spores. As I recall it its at least a 1 to 16 ratio. As in 1 cup of bleach to 1 gallon of water. But you will need to wear a re-breather and/or ventilate the area very well because at that concentration its going to burn your lungs and eyes. The problem is once you have the mold knocked down you need to figure out what gave it an environment that let it breed in the first place and fix that problem or you will be right back to where you started. Usually it is some kind of moisture. So once you wipe down the tiles you need to dry them then figure out how to keep them from getting wet again.
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Old 03-23-2010, 06:53 PM   #5
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Is this a mold problem?


The long answer is what is causing it to begin with and then solving that issue. Don’t have enough info to tackle that though.
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Old 03-23-2010, 07:14 PM   #6
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Is this a mold problem?


I think the fact that wood chips for landscaping are around the house and it needs to be sloped away. I also plan to put in a dehumidifier.
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Old 03-24-2010, 11:22 AM   #7
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Is this a mold problem?


Bleach, in appropriate concentrations is an effective disinfectant, but in addition to the short term dangers of injury to the eyes and lungs you also need to keep in mind the long-term effects of the resulting organochlorines that will be present after applying the solution to a porous surface such as concrete. You could apply a sealant afterword, or better yet, use oxygen bleach (sodium percarbonate) instead of chlorine bleach (sodium hypochlorite)

You can get high-strength (little or no fillers) at stainsolver.com, or your local janatorial supply house.
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Old 03-24-2010, 08:58 PM   #8
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Is this a mold problem?


Bleach evaporates so fast it won’t harm you, assuming you don’t drink it or spray it in your face. Restaurants clean their surfaces with it constantly, I use it in my kitchen every day. As far as your moldy block problem, bleach it up. 50/50 with water, kill that mold. Then solve the problem why it’s there in the first place.
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Old 03-25-2010, 06:58 AM   #9
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Is this a mold problem?


Chlorine bleach is considered safe for sanitizing hard surfaces, but should not be used on porous surfaces such as wood or concrete. Rapid evaporation is a potential serious danger in an enclosed space like a basement especially at the concentrations suggested by the previous poster.

Chlorine bleach is very effective at killing bacteria and viruses, but is not approved for use as a fungicide. Oxygen bleach is what you want for this job.
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Old 03-25-2010, 07:49 PM   #10
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Is this a mold problem?


10 bleach-90% water. That is enough concentration to not only kill mold, but to break it down to it's component parts. Wipe up all the dead mold carcasses (they can be an allergen to some people) and then dry it thoroughly. Use good ventilation, as you don't want to be breathing any of the compound gases that go with bleach. Never exceed 10%. It's dangerous and completely un-necessary. If it is truly mold, you need to resolve the moisture issue that allowed it to grow in the first place.
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Old 03-26-2010, 09:52 AM   #11
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Is this a mold problem?


It might not be a bad idea to invest $30 in a breathing filter certified for use on VOCs... (not a $3 dust mask)... this will give you some possible protection from toxic mold spores and some of the outgassing from the bleach, if you decide to go that way. But again, oxygen bleach is way safer, and very effective as a fungicide.

Whatever you do... RINSE, RINSE, RINSE to get rid of the residues from the mold and/or bleach.

Be safe!

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