Go Back   DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum > DIY Repair > General DIY Discussions

CLICK HERE AND JOIN OUR COMMUNITY TODAY...IT'S FREE!

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 06-10-2009, 11:49 AM   #1
Newbie
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 2
Share |
Default

Mold, Mildew or Soot? How to tell?


Greetings from Bellingham, Washington. Long time handyman, first time poster here.

A friend is convinced she has mold growing in her living room and is concerned her whole trailer is going to collapse from rot due to it. I'm not so sure it is mold.

This is a 1960's vintage mobile home with 2x framing and insulation with vinyl siding. Electric heat and cooking. The suspected mold is concentrated on the inside of the walls, over the studs, very pronounced on the sheetrock nail heads and only on the north side of the building. You can see the black concentrations directly along the framing studs in the picture.

She tells me she keeps the house pretty much zipped up tight in the winter, however, there is a decent amount of infiltration through the windows and such. There is only a hint of blackening in the kitchen (no picture.)

The discoloration first started appearing about 8 years ago and was very faint. Each winter it darkens and becomes more pronounced. This year, we had a significantly more severe winter and coincidentally, she noticed soot from her oil candles forming on the ceiling. You can see two blotches on the ceiling above the oil lamps.

She says the lamps are burning almost all winter. (She likes the ambiance.)

Anyway.... I tell her there's a pretty good chance those black accumulations are not mildew and are probably soot condensing on the cold studs.

She doesn't seem convinced and fears the worst.

How can I prove it to her either way (mold vs soot?)

Thanks

Mike


Last edited by AnotherUsername; 06-10-2009 at 11:51 AM.
AnotherUsername is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-10-2009, 12:48 PM   #2
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: South Western Ontario
Posts: 955
Default

Mold, Mildew or Soot? How to tell?


I think you can buy a swab kit and send it to a lab.
On the other hand, if she needs any elctrical done now is the time while you bcan see the studs

Chemist1961 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-10-2009, 01:02 PM   #3
Member
 
ccarlisle's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Posts: 1,889
Default

Mold, Mildew or Soot? How to tell?


That's neither mould nor mildew; it's a soot-like dirty substance that is in the air, from cooking and heating, just floating around. It's what gives you dirty carpets and furniture. It is stuck on the lines where the joists are because the joists are at a different temperature than the rest of the ceiling and condensation makes them sticky.

Wash with detergent and rinse well. Then reinsulate the ceiling if you can.
__________________
“The average American woman is about 25 pounds heavier than she was in 1960...Recognizing obesity as a disease will help change the way the medical community tackles this complex issue that affects approximately 1 in 3 Americans,”
ccarlisle is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-10-2009, 03:16 PM   #4
Mold!! Let's kill it!
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Central Pennsylvania
Posts: 2,836
Default

Mold, Mildew or Soot? How to tell?


You nailed it when you mentioned the oil candles. They produce soot which condenses out of the air onto cooler surfaces such as the joists and nail heads. To be more exact microscopic particles of soot attach themselves to microscopic bits of water vapor which then condense on cooler surfaces. Oil lamps and scented candles are notorious soot producers
Maintenance 6 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-10-2009, 07:19 PM   #5
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Canada (s/w ON.)
Posts: 2,294
Default

Mold, Mildew or Soot? How to tell?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Maintenance 6 View Post
You nailed it when you mentioned the oil candles. They produce soot which condenses out of the air onto cooler surfaces such as the joists and nail heads. To be more exact microscopic particles of soot attach themselves to microscopic bits of water vapor which then condense on cooler surfaces. Oil lamps and scented candles are notorious soot producers
Agreed!
i once had an apartment lessee that liked to burn candles!
When she moved out I had one hell of a mess on my hands.
I had to scrub all the walls with TSP then prime and paint everything.
Try doing this job in a 5 room apartment, over weekend, before next tenant moves in.
Not fun! I HATE candles!
Wildie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-11-2009, 06:20 AM   #6
Mold!! Let's kill it!
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Central Pennsylvania
Posts: 2,836
Default

Mold, Mildew or Soot? How to tell?


I had a tenant do the same thing to me. And she was adamant about not smoking cigarettes. Not sure why. The soot from the candles was probably worse.
Maintenance 6 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-11-2009, 06:57 AM   #7
Member
 
ccarlisle's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Posts: 1,889
Default

Mold, Mildew or Soot? How to tell?


Yup...well I have seen a house where no-one smoked and no candles were used. Bad insulation and our heating climate were the culprits.
__________________
“The average American woman is about 25 pounds heavier than she was in 1960...Recognizing obesity as a disease will help change the way the medical community tackles this complex issue that affects approximately 1 in 3 Americans,”
ccarlisle is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-13-2009, 08:59 PM   #8
Newbie
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 2
Thumbs up

Mold, Mildew or Soot? How to tell?


Thanks for the replies and helpful advice!!

AnotherUsername is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
mold and mildew resistant paints catiecupcake Painting 2 01-20-2009 04:20 PM
Concrobium or White Vinegar? eis61374 Remodeling 8 11-17-2008 06:56 AM




Top of Page | View New Posts

Copyright © 2003-2014 Escalate Media. All Rights Reserved.