LESLIE: Linda in New York is dealing with a situation in her basement that she’s hoping is not mold. Tell us about it; we’ll help you out.
LINDA: Oh, thank you. I have a Colonial home from about the 1920s and we’ve lived here a long, long time but we’re noticing – in the back part of the yard or back part of the basement where the Bilco doors are – on the one side of the wall, all this paint is all like peeling off in big chunks; big pieces of white paint.
LINDA: And underneath it appeared to be something like black – might have been moldy. And I did spray it with a chlorine bleach-type of solution – a Tilex – and it seems like it got lighter gray but I’m just wondering what I can do to, you know, forgo any further damage?
TOM: Well, what I suspect you have here is mineral salt deposits because the peeling paint is a sign that you have leakage and moisture. So you’re getting moisture into that foundation wall. I would look at the area outside the Bilco doors. I would add some soil and have it slope away from the wall there. I’d check the gutters to make sure they’re not overflowing. Try to manage the moisture in that particular area because that is the heart of the problem. Once you get rid of that moisture, you’re going to be a whole lot better off.
In terms of what you’re seeing come through, I don’t think it’s mold; it’s most likely mineral salt deposits, which is what’s leftover when the water evaporates, Linda. And so, what you’re doing is the right thing by spraying it down with – actually, a bleach solution, probably not necessary. I would spray it down with a vinegar solution.
LINDA: (overlapping voices) Vinegar? OK.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Yeah, white vinegar.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Yeah, white vinegar will take off the salts.
LINDA: Alright. Well, thank you very much. I’ll try that and hopefully that’ll work.
TOM: Alright, Linda. Have faith.
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