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Old 10-16-2019, 11:54 AM   #1
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Mildew issues?


Looking for simple ideas to help keep mildew at bay in a small 144sqft (with 100sqft loft) cabin/shed I have at the lake in the ozarks. Heavy forest cover, which doesn't help I'm certain.

I'm not there often enough and thus don't currently have permanent power, am looking into basic solar setup to get some 12v power. Might expand it if the basic setup works at all. My only other power in generator when there. For heat when there I use a smaller, old railroad stove and burn wood.

The purpose of this structure was something cheap and easy that I can keep materials in when away and a place to crash when there working on ground and to eventually build a more permanent structure. Tried a cheap popup camper, but that wasn't working.

It's wood framed. Tar paper and some house wrap over osb sheathing (common sheathing here) for siding I'm using 1/2"thick cedar fence boards that I ship lapped. In the gables I'll use cedar shake. The windows aren't expensive, just cheaper single pain glass and aluminum framed. The roof is corrugated tin.

Was just there and there was something, thinking mildew, that had a light layer of dusting on some items, mainly the top surface. It had a musty smell inside. The walls are mostly insulated with fiberglass batts and nothing behind the batts. One mattress is memory foam nothing on that but a little dusting on a pillow, which after shaking off and letting air outside smelled fine. No signs of water intrusion and even the curtains didn't look bad, shook them off outside and let air out.

We lit a fire and warmed the inside up dusted what we could and left windows open and out seemed fine the next day.

My guess is it was a very wet spring, summer and fall so far. The building is pretty sealed up so bugs and mice don't come in. In 2-1/2yrs haven't experienced this here, but popup was getting that way and it wasn't nearly as sealed up.

Im looking for ideas to help mitigate this. In the past I had stored the cedar boards inside while I was getting the siding on. Is it possible they helped? If so maybe I need to incorporate more inside on things like ceiling.

Something like a gable vent might be necessary, but then I have to close off when there and again worry about infestation when away. Would a few small vents even help without a fan to circulate? I've considered some 3"-4"(thinking dryer) vents and some computer fans or something to circulate air on occasion. That only works if I can get 12v power that can be solar charged and some sort of 12v timer to run it once on a while. Thought about even leaving the flue own on the stove and using a fan to draw air in or out with a fan or no fan depending on rest of setup.

Another thought is get a few bags of salt and pour into buckets to absorb moisture.

Any ideas?

**Right now the roof and gables aren't insulated, working that way. Thinking I'll use rigid foam inside the joist bays to insulate the roof. I do have the silver bubble foam under some of joists for temp insulation because it was fast and easy and I had on hand.
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Old 10-16-2019, 12:35 PM   #2
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Re: Mildew issues?


Quote:
Something like a gable vent might be necessary, but then I have to close off when there and again worry about infestation when away.

I understand needing to close if off when there and trying to heat the space but there shouldn't be any concern leaving it open when you are gone. The vents have louvers to prevent rain from entering and screen wire to stop bugs and critters. If you are worried screen wire isn't enough - add hardware cloth.
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Old 10-16-2019, 12:43 PM   #3
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For the vents is there a good rule of thumb on how much vent I might need?

I was wanting to add some windows to the gables to get some light in them and also for airflow when there.....Have 3 gable ends. I was going to build them 12"square then install at angle. I suppose I could do two of them as vents, built out of cedar, to match. Hmm...

Should that be enough? I suppose I could do all 3 as vents, but thought a window in the loft might be nice. It is sometimes used for sleeping and ability to see out might be nice.

Would be easy enough to take a piece of wood, hinged with insulation tape around perimeter to seal when there.
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Old 10-16-2019, 02:30 PM   #4
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Re: Mildew issues?


For lo-tech solutions, placing kitty litter or activated charcoal out in containers will help some. There's a commercial product, Damp-Rid that will pull moisture out rather well and is easy to tell when you need to replace since the crystals are used up. Problems with these is that they are mostly short term, and if you aren't around to check how moist it is getting inside you can't make adjustments.

Regardless of what you do, get a hygrometer, preferably a digital one that has some simple memory function. The one I got for my basement shows highest and lowest reading it recorded since I last reset it.

If you do get power, ventilation fans are your best bet. Rig up a timer to cycle out the air on a schedule. A dehumidifier would be the definitive fix, but not only are they expensive, they use a lot of power and might be something to use when you are there, but not for an ongoing control measure.
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Old 10-17-2019, 02:48 PM   #5
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Re: Mildew issues?


How about a solar attic roof vent? Maybe a little wind turbine like they use on sailboats?

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