LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got Lou from Arkansas on the line who needs some help with a home in Missouri. How can we help you today?
LOU: Well, I’ve got a multi-level house and it has mold at the lower level.
LOU: It’s a living area and I cleaned it up with mold remover and bleach and all that stuff. And in addition to the inside, on the northern wall, it gets black and I had to really blast it with a power wash to get that off. But I’m concerned more with the inside, not only the mold and the odor that it creates but I’m thinking about trying an ultraviolet-ray kind of thing that I put in the furnace. Do you know anything about that or is that a good solution? Or do you know of any other?
TOM: Well, I mean if we’re trying to solve a mold problem here, that’s not necessarily the right total solution for it. Those lights will help fight bacteria and germs that get into the air and – yeah.
LESLIE: That are airborne. And those are usually associated with a whole-home air filter.
TOM: Yeah or they can be installed separately.
TOM: But your mold problem sounds pretty serious.
Now, when you said the lower walls were all coated, do you mean inside or outside?
LOU: Well, the outside was sort of darkened and black; you could see it. But inside, there were little, tiny spots, so it wasn’t too heavily coated.
TOM: OK, good.
LOU: And I kind – wiped it all off and it’s not reappeared now but I’ve got complaints about odor.
TOM: OK. Let’s deal with the outside first. There’s a product called Wet & Forget that I want you to look into. Their website is WetAndForget.com.
This is a product that once you apply to the siding will work 24-7, from the moment you put it on, to kill the algae and the mold and the moss that wants to live there. And you will notice, after a period of time, that your siding is now very, very bright and you don’t have to go after it with a pressure washer. Because eventually, it’s just going to come right back.
TOM: The Wet & Forget lasts quite a long time and does a really good job. So, check that out: WetAndForget.com.
Now, as far as the inside is concerned, you mentioned odor. Does the floor have carpet?
LOU: Yes, it’s all carpeted: upstairs and downstairs.
LESLIE: Well, that could be a big part of the problem.
TOM: Well, the odor is downstairs predominantly or not?
LOU: Yeah, predominantly downstairs, right.
LOU: There’s nothing upstairs.
TOM: Yeah. See, carpet is not a good thing to put on a low- or below-grade space like that. I don’t know if it’s in your future to replace that or take it out but we much prefer to see laminate flooring or engineered hardwood, vinyl, anything but carpet.
LESLIE: Because what happens is the carpet and the pad sit on top of your slab. The slab is hydroscopic; it’s pulling in all the moisture from the surrounding ground. That goes up into the carpet pad, goes up into the carpeting. Never, ever really fully dries out and just becomes a breeding ground for mold. And then it’s just there in the room until you get rid of the carpet.
LOU: Will this Wet & Forget work on the carpets or what?
TOM: No, no.
TOM: That’s just for the outside. That’s just for the outside.
As far as the interior is concerned, when you get done with the Wet & Forget outside, we want to also look at the drainage conditions at the foundation perimeter. Because high degrees of moisture that hang out around the outside of the house will evaporate, go through the walls and evaporate to the inside of the house and cause high humidity inside. And that could be also contributing to the odor.
So, look at the grading: the angle of the soil around the house. Look at the gutter system, make sure all the downspouts are extended 4 to 6 feet from the house. Clean the inside using a bleach-and-water solution to spray any suspected mold areas is the right thing to do. And then, if at all possible, get rid of that carpet and then think about, as a last step, adding a dehumidifier. A combination of all those is going to solve this for you, my friend.
LOU: OK. Thank you.
TOM: You’re welcome, Lou. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.