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pnschi 09-11-2010 12:50 PM

Killing Mildew behind walls

We had a water heater rupture in the basement a few years ago. The basement doesn't have any external leaks, so we think the constant musty smell in our basement is the result of water getting into the walls when the tank ruptured. Indeed, I had to remove a small piece of drywall last year, and saw mold growing on the base horizontal stud. We weren't in a position to replace the drywall (requires a permit here!), so I cleaned what I could and just patched the section I had to deal with. I assume the horizontal stud, which has finished drywall on both sides, has mold all the way along it.

Question: is there any way to deal with this without ripping out a strip of drywall along the entire base, tall enough to get my hands in and scrub the stud with bleach? For example, is there any spray that I could inject in small holes drilled between the vertical studs in the drywall? (That would save lots of patching, and not risk the wrath of the drywall police.)

Many thanks.
P.S. We run a dehumidifier all the time.

PAbugman 09-11-2010 05:18 PM

Learn about a product call "tim-bor" it is a borate based powder. See if this would be an appropriate application for tim-bor. Make sure that you have estimated the extent of the mold/mildew.

steveel 09-11-2010 05:29 PM

if there was wet a couple years ago, and mildew formed, but now there is no wet as you say.... then shouldn't the mildew be all dried up? I could be wrong but I don't think dried up mildew smells musty. My guess is you have a moisture source behind the wall. Either from outside the house, or maybe just condensation from inside.

BRO931 10-06-2010 01:42 PM

i just went through a similar experience. Bought a little vacation home in the mountains where the basement had been framed in and water condensed onto and into the frame walls after a particularly cold winter. Mildew set in and we cleaned it all off of the walls, but could not get into the walls. We've used a dehumidifier ever since and no more condensation, but the musty smell never went away after 3 years.

I tore into the walls this summer and found dry,powdery white and orange mildew all over the back side of the paneling and on the the insulation vapor barrier (kraft paper). I removed the paneling and insulation and still there was a slight musty smell. Better, but not gone. I removed the wood framed walls and, voila, no more smell. It seems that once mildew has taken root in any organic material, the musty smell goes all the way to the core.

I also learned that putting fiberglass insulation in framed basement walls is a bad idea. Best to insulate the wall with rigid polystyrene and frame inside that insulation.

federer 10-07-2010 12:59 AM

thanks for the info from experience

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