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Old 09-29-2008, 04:16 PM   #16
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A Mold Remediation Emergency


New sig which relates to my situation in a contextual aspect....

"The challenges I encounter in the remodeling and caretaking of my parents 60+ year old home and rural property... is akin to the solving of a Rubic's Cube and playing Tetris. If you understand this paradigm, then you understand the logistical challenges I face."


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Old 09-29-2008, 07:09 PM   #17
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A Mold Remediation Emergency


Greetings White Elk, from the North East
Really East...in fact about 30 miles out into the North Atlantic
Or as I like to call it:
<announcer voice on>
The Land Of Rust And Mildew....dew...dew...dew...
<voice off>

Having lived and worked (painting, remodeling, carpentry...) in, around, and on the ocean for a few decades, I would like to share a few things I've learned about mold
Maybe you already know them, but it's a good place to go over them here
(in no particular order), for you or for others

Mold needs three things to thrive:
Food
Moisture
Warmth

Wetness alone will not cause mold, only encourage it
Some pollens are great mold food, and a prevailing breeze can deposit the mold buffet yards and yards away
Sunlight generally won't kill it per say, but massive doses can inhibit it

Do not underestimate the power of mold to harm humans
Just because one isn't allergic or sensitive to something, doesn't mean it can't seriously harm or even kill someone else (ie: peanut allergy)

Mold begets mold
If there is a little mold in your garage, and dampness, and some wind blown food, and some (relative) warmth, it will procreate unless killed

The best defense against mold is to modify or eliminate anything possible that encourages it
This may mean cutting back bushes or trees (eliminating food source or allowing more sunlight to dry and UV to inhibit), putting up fences (to discourage food delivery), keeping the problem areas very clean, and using a mildecide regularly (could be bleach/water or Lysol)

Regular use of moisture control devices like Damp Rid or dehumidifiers can help, but the mold/mildew must first be killed, then any "encouragement" eliminated or modified as best as can be, then regular cleaning and perhaps mildecide

An Ozone Generator may or may not help with odors
I wouldn't suggest it for various reasons
However.....a UV Generator is a different animal, and might be useful for one or more of your mold remediation projects

Not seeing your situation, I can't comment on specifics
But I will outline a typical M/M basement reclaim project
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Old 09-29-2008, 07:25 PM   #18
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A Mold Remediation Emergency


Remove/fix source of moisture, if any
(sometimes this actually can't be done until further into the project)

Remove any and everything possible
Clean with bleach/water, X-14, Zinsser's cleaner, or the less harsh more "green" products like Moldex....or spray with Lysol if it's an item which can't be cleaned per say

If the sheetrock was, is, or was ever damp or moldy, remove it
To the studs if necessary

Clean whatever you have left with mildecide or spray with Lysol (walls, floors, studs, shelves)

If you still have m/m stains on walls or studs or shelves, seal with shellac
(re-paint if needed)
Seal concrete walls with UGL Drylock if needed (moisture control)
Seal floor with proper sealer if needed (moisture control)

Bring de-m/m'ed stuff back in, selectively
Keep the area cleanable
Use m/m resistant items whenever/wherever possible
Dispose of any suspect items
New sheetrock (if needed)
Do not bring in any unsealed wood products

You may need to mildecide often for the first several weeks, so keep that in mind

You probably should at minimum use Damp Rid products for the first few months, if not from now on...or invest in a de-humidifier
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Old 09-29-2008, 07:45 PM   #19
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A Mold Remediation Emergency


I certainly agree with your first post, White, in that sometimes some people can't resist either tooting their own horn, injecting useless or impractical solutions or passing themselves off as all-knowing. Happens here, happens outside, happens at work - it's human nature. And sifting through all that ain't easy, not for a lay person. Having said that, you will find sometimes things that make sense because they are offered by people who have first-hand experience with the matter.

This forum is a good place to start the search for the truth. Not theoretical beliefs, not opinions by academics but DIY information by those who know. Go to the roofing section and you'll find guys with 35 years experience doing roofs; go to the tile section and look up the guys who tile for a living; talk with some of the moderators who are contractors when they're not donating their time here. I'll tell ya, when they say do this or do that, you bet I listen. Then there are guys who froth at the mouth over arcane topics that have no relevance to the problem....all well-meaning but who miss the mark.

I feel for you and your families' pain; if ever I get to your situation, I just hope I can turn to guys who know for my answers...here, you;ll get opinions from people who stake their professional - not academic - reputations on using what works and what doesn't. In my case, I have seen moulds after water damage like you wouldn't believe; still I don't call myself a "mould remediator" and I know a job I need to turn down well enough, thank you. But in some cases. like yours, I know that a professional ozone generator used in controlled situations by a pro would rid your home of most of the existing mould that are there, plus I can tell you what you should be looking out for to prevent them from coming back. It's all part of water damage remediation...

That's why I charge $1000 to do a home...yes, you can look into small machines, or foggers that cost under $100, but they won't give you the results you are looking for. I can't prove that to you, you'll just have to weigh that against whatever you read elsewhere. And by the way, yes we use bleach in some situations...other chemicals in others. We have "foggers" that we use for carpetting. We use a soda blaster to remove mould - and we don't use the ozone generator to remove chemical smells...but all that means is that we have tried things and now stick with them.

On invasive mould situations, real or perceived, we'll use a combo bleach/quats/ozone.

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Old 09-30-2008, 11:58 AM   #20
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A Mold Remediation Emergency


Yep. I do it to intending to help, but passing on information that was either incorrect or incomplete. Like using bleach on mold... It seems that bleach is only good for non-pourous surfaces? And that simple detergent may be as good as bleach? And thanks to you in other post I understand a few more options for cleaning the mold.




Thats a pic of what I found when I cleared out the stuff located in an area I thought was free of mildew. 6 years ago I packed stuff there floor to ceiling. I got to the bottom row and wham, theres the mold again. I shoulda have expected it since we had a leaky carport which was constructed poorly with no flashing to cover the space between the garage and the carport. Naturally water seeped through. I sorted expected it but was still majorilly bummed. This is the space I am trying to move into while I deal with the basement problem. I also discovered ants in the frame support for the door. Clearly more water seeped down than I thought. This last spring I tore down the old carport and my brother and I rebuilt it. So that leak is resolved. However, once the framing was done I moved onto forestry projects and blackberry removal while my brother installed the roof panels. He didn't overlap them enough and the carport still leaks in some places along the seams. But not along the structures. Maybee I can fix that with sealent? Might just bite the bullet and tear it off and redo it altogether. Too many higher priority projects in line so that will have to wait till next spring at best.

I've cleaned and treated that area of the garage for mold and ants. And now I begin re-insulating the door (new stuff) and then building my blanket walled temporary living quarters. Must put the garage back together because the rains come again day after tomarrow and the carport still leaks. Oy it doesn't end and I feel like I'm building sandcastles against the tide. I gotta get the basement demo'd ASAP!

Another aspect of dampness in the basement and garage is that the old cinder block walls are untreated. Two sides of the garage have earth behind them to ceiling height. The cost of excavating around the buildings and installing a mositure barrier is prohibitive. I research over time to discover another way. I don't know that I trust the paints. We have a tool shop which also has two earthen backed cinder block walls. For that space my father and I installed plastic wall panels and floor with a drip track leading outside (after pressure washing and treated floor, walls and ceiling). Its all sealed so the water seeping through the wall runs down the walls to the track and out. Will see this winter what the humidty level is. This may be what we do for the garage and basement. For that small test space it woulda cost over 3k to have it installed. Father and I did it for under a 1k. Still expensive but if it works it works.

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Old 09-30-2008, 12:11 PM   #21
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A Mold Remediation Emergency


One thing I know about the basement is that I must install a hardwired dehumidifier (the two appliance units aren't doing the job) and install a sump pump for it. The old furnace is due to be replaced so will be with a HEPA system. I have doubts about UV and ozone methods but have more research to do.

We've got an old wood burning furnace down there and I've near 4 cord of firewood from the forestry work this spring. I split it immediate and even though its not fully seasoned I will have to use it this year. Will just need to sweep the chimney prior and check it this winter and clean it again in spring. Once the basement is gutted, cleaned and treated that will help dry out the space while we strategize the repair. We have about 40k for this and the kitchen and bathroom remodel. Must also do something about the garage and there are electrical issues to sort out. So the basement may not be remodeled for some time, just fixed. Will see...

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Old 09-30-2008, 02:48 PM   #22
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A Mold Remediation Emergency


http://www.basementsystems.com/basem...waterguard.php

Thats a link to a graphic showing the type of system we are pondering using. And we would install the apropriate paneling on the wall... like we did in the toolshop pictured in my previous post. But in the toolshop we used a version of their DryTrack system instead of the WaterGuard pictured in that linked graphic. We had an estimator from Basement Systems come out for the tool shop but the price tag of 3k was way to high for such a small space (8' x 14'). Apparently Basement Systems won't sell their product for a self-install, so dad tracked down replacement products.

I wouldn't be surprised if the foundation drains are crushed and/or blocked. This problem of a light flooding followed by mold first surfaced this last winter. It is an old house and had clay pipe for the grey water drain so I'm betting that is what was used for the foundation drain. My brother and I had to rip up the yard with a rented backhoe last year and install plastic drain pipe after the clay one failed. It wouldn't surprise me if we had a sudden failure of the foundation drains like we did with the grey water.

Does anyone have any first hand experiance installing or living with a system like that?
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Old 10-01-2008, 06:39 AM   #23
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A Mold Remediation Emergency


Well if that is the case, then you are talking about a whole lot more than just a mould clean-up; in your first post, you did mention that there was no water seepage only excessive moisture and mould levels, so that knocked out either a sump pump or an interior weeping system as a solution.

But if indeed you have visible water infiltration coming down or under the walls, then this becomes almost a structural issue in water manangement; first you have to control how the water gets there either from roof run-off or via the water table. That will dicitate how you proceed. If rain run-off is properly managed, and if the water table is controlled via a sump system, (thereby eliminating those two as sources of humidity) then excessive humidity indoors can be controlled via ventilation/dehumification because now you are saying that the weather is at fault, not your house.

An interior weeping system is a big undertaking as I'm sure you know, involving gettting to underneath the foundation walls to find a way of channelling the water to a pump system from within the boundaries of the house. A major committment, that is...one that is guaranteed to solve the problem - otherwise why do it. Do you have a sump pit?

Digging one of these sumps is comparatively cheaper and will lower the water table enough when it rains to normally solve that problem, if it exists. Supposing you manage to solve the visible water infiltration, now turn your sights to the invisible. Arm yourself with first the chemical solution to removing the existing mould, then increase the airflow by considering fans and/or a whole-house ventilation unit, lower the humidity to below 40% RH, and keep it there for good, run the fan on the furnace if you can, once you're sure that the vents are clean and the ductwork mould-free, then remove any source of food, like drywall, soft furnishings, paper, wood etc.

Yeah, I know that's a major battle plan, but it is what it is. From the pictures and the plan you have in mind that's what you need. But first let's make sure we have identified the problem, which to me is still unclear.

Just where do you see signs of water infiltration such that you need an interior weeping system? Why not repair the exterior system?
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Old 10-01-2008, 06:23 PM   #24
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A Mold Remediation Emergency


I guess I don't really know that a weeping and sump system is required.

And there are a variety of things which have to be corrected. I should have shared it all in my first post but that was more a rant at finding the mildew EVEN in our vehicals. I posted in emotion mind set with fatigued body after feeling I was building a sandcastle against the tide. I got to feeling overwhelmed by it all.

The few gallons of water that came into the room, came after a long period of heavy rain. But there were other issues that may have caused the minor flood. One was a backyard downspout draining into the yard a few feet off the house. It had been closed off, but I inadvertently removed the blocker when cleaning the gutters. It is now permanently sealed!

Another issue may have been the unusually large rat population this year (also solved!)... they have dug large tunnels leading from the yard and down along the basement walls. I wonder if these tunnels have given the rain water a path of least resistance to such a degree that it runs down the tunnels like a river? Now that Dad, the Dogs, my Cat and I appear to have hunted and trapped all the rats, I can backfill those tunnels. Any tips for that?

Another factor adding to the water along that wall was a leaky outdoor faucet.
Thats been corrected and I will have to continually watch for that.

And there is a shower in the basement which has no exhaust fan. I have been irresponsibly getting around that problem by opening the nearby window and turning on a high powered fan (its well window and the draw is strong). I know its not a solution and that it still raises the humidity. I've done this for years now and prior to this last winter there was no mildew problem. We waited on this project for a complete basement remodel, including moving the shower, adding a toilet, and other plumbing. But now the money runs thin and perhaps the shower will remain where it is so perhaps I exhaust from there. But I just hate the idea of cutting through the wall and then having to come back later and repair it. hehe I have thought of installing a temporary and jerry rigged duct worked system leading to the window, but I think that mightcause its own set of mould problems if it isnt disassembeled and cleaned regular. And I don't know that anything short of a fan in the shower will exhaust any more vapor than my hookie system already does.

And finally there is about a 20' x 20' section of the basement which is not excavated to floor. There is about a 4' crawl space there. There is exposed dirt here under plastic. And there is an area of it which has been cemeted over but it not sealed. When I move the plastic totes stored there I find water under them. Not sure how to go about this yet. Our dream of exacating it to gain the space is fading fast. Will know more once I gut the walls and get a better look at things.


But all those issues aside, this region is a wet one and every year seems to get wetter. We also have springs here which can change course at any time. And there is a small bog on the propery, lower than the basement floor, which I think must act (to some degree) as a natural drain. Further down the hill is a designated Salmon Spawning creek partially feed by our spring feed swamp.

When my folks moved here 7 years ago, the previous owner told them there had been occasional flooding over the years, but that a sump pump for the foundation had corrected the problem. But to keep any midlew down she ran a dehumidifier and burned trash in the wood furnace. I still hear what I'm certain is the sump pump turning on so I think it still works. I've tried to inspect it but it is located on the outside of the house with a narrow tube running down to it for which an old electrical cord gives it its power. Once I demo the basement walls I might find an access there or at least signs of a concrete repair which I can chip and inspect?


But even ALL of that aside, we also have moisture leeching though the walls of our garage and an attached tool shop. They both have two earthen walls seperated by cinder blocks. There are none of the problems in the garage that are present in the basement. It is only ground water getting there. One side of the building did have a leak caused by poor construction of the carport. That has been addressed. But its the walls with earth behind them that was bringing most of the moisture in. And from time to time there is puddling of water along the wall. Same with the toolshop, though that one had weeping holes and a little water was present after every rain. lol but that too had some correctable issues.... the flat roofed garage had no gutters and the roof needed to be replaced. This spring we had a roofing company come out to advise us. We replaced the roof and retarred it. Fortunatly they allowed me to help with the demo and assist with the hot tarring. Then Dad and I installed gutters. But we've had some heavy rains since and the tool shop we were working on still got water in it.

This all makes me wonder that a weep system is in order for the basement and garage. I don't know, but will learn more. Once the basement is gutted, cleaned and treated; then we call in an experianced general contractor to advise us on all this. I hope we get one who really knows his business! I will also call in a favor and bring in a friend/former boss who is a supervisor for a large commerical builder. And I will take pics and post some focused questions here at this forum. hehe you bet I'm gonna look for a second opinion +

Thanks for your attention and help here ccarlisle and all!!!
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Old 10-01-2008, 11:29 PM   #25
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A Mold Remediation Emergency


Another thing to think about in all this, is the 60 year old + clay pipe that was installed to drain the water from around the basement walls. The clay piped grey water line failed recently and I think that the old clay pipes around the basement could very well have recently failed. If not, they will in short enough order to deal with it now. The man who built this house lives next door. I have labored for him over the years helping him in the caretaking of his property . He is easilly over 80yrs old but still remembers things about this house which he began building on his fathers land when he was 13 years old. Some things stick in his mind. Other things he doesn't know. Then he divorced his wife many man years ago and she took this house. He built again next door on another chunk of his property. A son has since built in yet another area. Work on this house was done after Dale left it. But one thing Dale remembers here is the old clay pipe and that needs be replaced long past now.
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Old 10-02-2008, 06:59 PM   #26
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A Mold Remediation Emergency


I think you're getting the upper hand on the problem now bit by bit...but know what I would do? I'd concentrate on the sump system you have now making sure it not only works but is pumping the water to where it should be. Doing that might just be a short answer to having to redo the exterior clay weeping system, which I am sure you see is a major undertaking.

A new, added or corrected sump system will take care of the runoff problem, the rats, the springs, the leaky faucet and the efflorescence in one shot. Either put in another one, or make sure your existing one is indeed draining water away from underneath the house, not from some stream nearby, or dread the thought, the waste system. It should be draining water from underneath the by now broken clay weeping system to your waste pipe, if you have one, that goes to the community sewer system.

I said "by now broken clay system" becasue I fear that after 60 years, it is no longer functional. Sure, you can replace it but at what cost. And remember an interior weeping system will help not solve your problems because you are thinking of collecting water that has already penetrated your wall boundaries...

Eve 60+ years ago, they knew about water runoff and where to direct it; we do too today, it's just we're better equipped with sumps etc. But weeping systems are essential as are sump system in my opinion.
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Old 10-03-2008, 11:54 PM   #27
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Another unstated consideration of mine in all this, ccarlisle et all; is that I've seen signs enough that what our Alamanacs used to tell us about those 50 and 100 year old storms are outdated now. Seems to me that We All should expect the unexpected in weather now. Weather is all messed up for the last few years here. Seems its happening world 'round. For example hurricanes hitting further south of the equator than they have in recorded history etc etc etc...

So if something is failing now and must be fixed, then I am serioulsy wondering if it should be fixed in such a way as to project surviving those 50 and 100 year storms right now (PLUS!)!! Seems to me that our almanacs now fail to tell us what to project in ten year spans, let alone from year to year. I really seriously wonder if over-engineering as relates to weather concerns is now in order!?! And here in my case, for me, this is a consideration in considering how to fix a problem which surfaced after a couple years of uncharectoristic storms. What does the future hold? Do I assume the future holds the norm? Or do I follow the patterns and take global warming personally serious and wonder if weather here will continue to break records and pressure my homes safeguards in ways which it never has!?!
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Old 10-04-2008, 07:04 AM   #28
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A Mold Remediation Emergency


No doubt about it...water damage and related issues have micro- and macro-considerations we must not ignore. On the other hand, there is no point micro-managing everything because there is no end to that, especially when dealing with Mother Nature and when considering that we are using our worldly gains (like money) to fight unwordly-like conditions like Mother Nature...we won't win that fight for long.

But we can put up our defenses and guide the process along the lines we want them it take; look, we'll never stop rain from falling, best we can do is guide the runoff to where it does less harm. Do we build a moat around our castles? Don't think so anymore.

But with a sound management program of directing visible water where we want it to go, we take a big step to controlling our environment; start with rainwater, then move to groundwater, then to interior plumbing. Once that is settled, then we move to improve the invisible interior conditions like water vapour by controling humiditiy levels, heat and airflow.

It's a stepwise process. Sure it can be a long one but every process starts by individual steps, and not all things should - or can - be done at once unless your pockets are filled with cash. If you think everything ought to be done at once, you rapidly become discouraged and could end up doing nothing.

All we can do is manage water. Not eradicate it, not isolate it.
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Old 10-04-2008, 08:09 AM   #29
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A Mold Remediation Emergency


Well I work through the night and I cut out another chunk of that plywood along one earthen wall of the garage. Behind it I find water. I dry the water, and an hour later more appears. This is after a full summer just as the rainy season begins. This is the space I must move into (for 6 months?) to deal with the greater evil in the basement... sucks to be me. It sucks BIG censored time. But this tells me to expect far worse in the basement. The garage has only two earthen walls while the basement has four. The problems seem near exponential in the basement. The garage has less exposure to rainfall drainage than the basement, and the garage has NONE of the problems which I spoke of in the basement. I am very much leaning towards needing to installing a weep system in basement and garage. Money is a serious object in all this though, even with me doing the grunt work. I don't know if we can get this all done even aboning all the other fixes.

Forget future rainfall. These structures aren't withstanding it now. And the more abnormal rainfall this region gets, the more the springs will flow and the more overtaxed any drainage systems will be. But so far it seems the current systems fail regardless of all the problems both past and present which I spoke of.

Arghhhh and ohhh maaaaan I am screwed. But at least I may eventually be jumping outta the fire and into the frying pan. I just hope I can make it to jump outta the pan and off the stove someday! After working days here in the garage I find it harder to breath at end of day than being in the basement. Living here in the garage may be no better than the basement. But I have no choice. So be it! Though I do consider making a camp in the forest. But then the cops would probably throw me in jail for breaking zoning codes and violating designated green space even though its owned by us. Bah! Oy! Its hard to stay afloat when at every bend I get swamped. I am tired but can't give up for my folks are at stake! Its bad for me, worse for them!!!


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Old 10-04-2008, 09:01 AM   #30
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A Mold Remediation Emergency


I finished insulating the garage bay door which will be where my bed rests. The garage has two bay doors. This one had mold on the doors insulation and in the stuff I had stored there. I shop vac'd it all and removed the old insulation. I treated the region then cobbled together materials left over from other projects but was forced to use old cardboard boxes to help cut the draft.

I did what I could and used what I had. I had to get creative to work around the various door mechanisms. But each layer was more draft proof than the next. With final carboard layer I could detect no draft. The materials at ground level are the most resistant to moisture. I used duct tape to cut draft at seams (the tape is not structural and is reinforced to stay put by staples). Second layer of cardboard overs the door springs and no draft is detected. Then I layered it all with a reflective bubble wrap product (which I have use for when this is dismantled). In days to come I will shop thrift stores and add some old sleeping bags and blankets to finish all walls. I wish it weren't so, but this is the structure of my exterior wall for the next 6 months or so. I'da liked to bought some lumber and boxed in a frame then insulated. But this will do. I've built camps with just willow (or bay berry) frame, and then blankets, then plastic and then tarp covers before. And I lived under an elder Redwood for a winter and a spring in in one of these camps in Coastal norhtern California (a little wetter than here, but not much). So all things considered this ain't tooooo bad. Though I'd rather be back under that Redwood, or near anywhere else I've travelled!!













I'd like to put some heavy mil plastic on the outside of that door.
But I wonder about condesation if I do that. What do you think?
BTW I will have one of the dehumidifiers running in the garage once I move in.


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