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Old 11-28-2009, 08:34 PM   #1
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shower stall mold


I have been overtaken by mould/mildew in the grout in my shower...How do I get rid of it..I have tried various things but I'm out of options.. Should I just gut all the tile and re-tile?

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Old 11-28-2009, 08:43 PM   #2
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I like Clorox.

The guys with the certificates swear you can just use soap and water. Whatever.

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Old 11-28-2009, 08:45 PM   #3
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according to any web site i've read...bleach does not work..isn't clorox ...bleach?
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Old 11-29-2009, 12:47 AM   #4
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Bleach is a waste of time. The problem is that the areas behind and under the tiles are saturated with water because of poor or improper installation. Bleach might make it look better for a short time, but you need to start over.

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Old 11-29-2009, 11:32 AM   #5
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'Clorox' is becoming a household name for 'bleach', known a sodium hypochlorite. This strong oxidizer will kill off any existing mould on the surface of your tile and grout, but will not eliminate future growth of mould spores that are embedded in the grout. To get rid of that requires another chemical treatment.

But you have mould there for a reason...and whereas I agree the best thing to do for healths' sake is to remove it all and start again, this in itself doesn't affect the "existing" conditions'; you have too high relative humidity in there and you'll need to install something to change that, and change your habits so that mould do not find a hospitable place to colonize. Fans, ceiliing fans, open windows are all first steps that you can implement depending on where you are.

But your aim is better ventilation so that you dilute the moisture created during say a shower with the rest of the air in your home so that overall the relative humidity in the shower stays around 50% at all times. Now that may be hard to do if you live in an area where RH levels are typiclally 85% but we don't know that, so it's hard for us to tell you exactly what you need...

A gut-and-retile can run to $5000 - but will last 30 years if other conditions are improved as well. Have that kind of scratch? If so, go ahead...if not then give us more than a two line plea-for-help and we'll give you what we can.
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Old 12-01-2009, 10:03 AM   #6
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I'm going to ask CC.. even though its not my thread... We redid our guest bathroom due to general drabbiness and mold/mildew problems in there right after we moved in. It was also my first ever DIY project, so wanted some "practice" on a lesser used area. The master bath since then (about a year) has really accelerated in mold/mildew growth out of the tile/grout. Its really gross and also I know a health hazzard.

I am finishing the kitchen right now and were hoping to delay the gutting and complete remodel of the master bath until Spring/SUmmer 2010 (also just got married so a lot of $$ flowing the wrong way from the bank). SO... what to do until then? Is there anything better to do than bleach? I'm also worried about scrubbing b/c of mold spores getting into the master bedroom....
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Old 12-01-2009, 11:20 AM   #7
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Well, you may be dealing with two somewhat related issues, either one or the other - sometimes both: what I described in a previous thread relates to general air-borne moulds found in high relative-humidity areas such as basements, bathrooms, kitchens or shower stalls. There I am talking about moulds that are in the air that land ona suitable substrate, feed , procreate and cause the mould you see so often and is relativey easy to fix with ventilation and chemical oxidizers...

There is another issue specific to shower stalls that relates to bad or non-existant waterproofing behind the tiles. here water coming from the shower head hits the tiles and grout that stay humid for long periods of time, causing moulds to feed off the wallboard and/or wood behind the tiles. In this case, cleaning the mould off is a temporary measure at best: the mould only suffers minor damage. In this situation, you have no choice but to replace the walls in due course and waterproof them upon reconstruction.

You can almost tell which issue you are dealing with; in the first case, the mould is 'up' in the corners etc and in the second case the mould is 'down' around the tiles and bathtub rim and follows a path that the water once took i.e from shower head on down.

There's a pretty good product at Home Depot called 'Concrobrium' mould treatment in a spray bottle $10. Several applications of that will keep the mould in check for a while.
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Old 12-01-2009, 11:54 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ccarlisle View Post
But your aim is better ventilation so that you dilute the moisture created during say a shower with the rest of the air in your home so that overall the relative humidity in the shower stays around 50% at all times. Now that may be hard to do if you live in an area where RH levels are typiclally 85% but we don't know that, so it's hard for us to tell you exactly what you need...
That's good info -- in my house the RH stays at about 65% year round, but it can be briefly higher in the summer when we open the windows. We get mold growing on things as a matter of course

The part about where the mold is groing from is great to know! I had never heard about that before.
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Old 12-01-2009, 12:47 PM   #9
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shower stall mold


Ditto from pyper... helpful "diagnosis" hints there... its definetely due to the lack of waterproofing behind the tile. Both bathrooms were original constrution from 1978-1980, and when I tore out the guest shower, it was plain old regular sheetrock that was lightly molded... the original owner before me was a single older lady who probably rarely used that shower. I would imagine that when I rip out the shower in the master bath, I will find wallboard that is probably 60-80% molded through.

It seems like it is seeping up from the caulk, lower half of the shower grout lines, in the corners, etc... all symptoms of a disgusting condition of the wall behind the tile. It needs to go... I just want to "manage" the situation as best I can to save up for a few months...

You think that Concrobrium should do it? Any thoughts on my concerns about scrubbing/mold being forced airborne near the bedroom?
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Old 12-01-2009, 01:20 PM   #10
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If it will be a while before you do the work, you might want to just tack a shower curtain to the wall to keep water off it. If you're really worried just use your other bathroom and close this one for now.

No real reason to scrub the mold. When you take the wall out wet it down with a spray bottle (so it won't go airborne) and put the parts in bags. Put up plastic in the doorway, and open the window if you have one. Put a fan to blow out and it will make negative pressure to help keep stuff from leaving the work area.

That's what the industrail hygenist told my buddy when he took his apart due to mold.

I think a lot of this mold stuff is somewhat overblown. In your case you have a structural issue to fix, but in general, I think a lot of people worry a lot more than they should about mold.
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Old 12-01-2009, 01:24 PM   #11
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shower stall mold


Mainly I'm trying to keep the wife somewhat happy/not grossed out by the mold and keep up a semblance of a decent and clean looking bathroom until we do a gut job later next year... no ventilation in the bathroom (part of the problem to begin with) or window, so those negative pressure cleanups are out for me...
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Old 12-01-2009, 01:28 PM   #12
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If you wipe it down with Clorox (TM) it will bleach it and you won't be able to see it. It will still be there, but she won't know.

If someone in your household is allergic to mold, then this isn't a good idea!
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Old 12-02-2009, 07:01 AM   #13
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Watch out for bulging tiles too. Moulds grow and expand their territory, making the drywall turn mushy and putting pressure on the backs of the tiles; they can pop off. That you can face in due time...

But for now increase the ventilation in there after showers (install a ceiling fan properly sized for the romm), or put a table fan at the doorway. Move the humid air away from the ceiling, walls and corners. Could take 20 minutes but moulds won't be happy. Moulds and fungi don't like certain chemicals -boron is one - and I use those. But a blast or so of 'Concrobium' seems to do well too. Use the spray bottle to blast each grout line up close, or use a 10-15% warm solution of bleach in hot water to do the same.

This will need to be repeated every week of so for a month. It'll buy you time.

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