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elementz 01-10-2010 06:30 PM

Possible Mold Issues?
Ok, so we have an unusual issue at my house. In our basement is the family room and the laundry room. Behind the washer/dryer, there is a small gap in the exterior wall where it is unfinished. Probably about 18-24" high and less than a foot wide but goes probably about 10-12 feet deep into the family room. (I have yet to take actual measurements).

Anyways, the cat ended up discovering it and camping out for a few days in there and tearing out most of the insulation and I have since then boarded it up after finally luring her out. My main concern is a friend of mine stated that if the cat ripped the insulation out, then she might have poked some holes in the vapor barrier, which could then result in mold growing inside the walls over time.

My step dad said I could stuff some insualtion in there with a long stick and get some 2" (?) styrofoam in there to act as the vapor barrier. My friend said that would be fine for heat retention but not for mold.

There is no way to tell what the situation is without ripping out part of the wall, not sure what to do.


Ron6519 01-10-2010 06:55 PM

I would open an exploratory hole to check the situation behind the wall. If you see mold, open the wall untill you're mold free. Treat any surface that has mold and then reinsulate and drywall.

elementz 01-10-2010 10:06 PM

Well I wouldn't see any mold yet. I am talking about over time that it may grow in there due to tears in the vapor barrier. I don't even know if the vapor barrier is in tact if there will be small puncture holes. I can re-insulate and shove styrofoam in there easily enough, but don't really want to rip up the wall if it isn't neccessary.

Is there some sort of tool or instrument that you can purchase that will show you mold or moisture readings behind the wall?

ccarlisle 01-11-2010 08:05 AM

Put a humidistat and a thermometer down there close to the wall, and take readings over the course of a week or so. Relative Humidity higher than 60% at close to room temperatures (18-21 deg C) usuallly indicates the presence of moulds.

But there are no instruments that can detect mould better than your nose. We have moisture meters but most can't see at a distance.

Seal the holes in the vb with tape, insulate well around the area and increase the ventilation with fans. Let us know your results.

elementz 01-13-2010 05:19 PM

Here are some pictures.

ccarlisle 01-14-2010 06:03 AM

Well, although I'm not a mould expert, I do enough water damage jobs to have a fairly good handle on what constitutes a mould problem and what doesn't - and this to me isn't one...

You have dirty insulation for sure, where it acts as an air filter for air going up or down the wall in summer or winter, but that's about it. I'd feel good about just putting it all back together and sealing it up -for the cat.

elementz 01-14-2010 10:14 AM

Thanks Carlisle. Looking from the pictures and with a flashlight in there, it seems pretty dry. Due to it being such a small area, I can only stick my arm in and feel around but nothing feels out of the ordinary.

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