LESLIE: Rachel in Rhode Island is on the line with a question about how to save wallpaper after mold develops. How can we help you today?
RACHEL: I’ve had mold develop on our expensive designer wallpaper. It’s dark red and it’s about 18 inches above the beadboard molding on plaster walls. My house is 125 years old. I wondered if there’s any way of saving the wallpaper.
LESLIE: Was there a leak? Do you know what caused this mold to develop over there?
RACHEL: Well, I have a wet basement.
TOM: So have you done anything to address the moisture problem in the basement?
RACHEL: The walls are made out of fieldstone. So I don’t think there’s too much we can do.
TOM: Oh, sure there is. There’s lots of things you can do. So let’s tackle these problems one at a time.
Now, in terms of the wallpaper itself, if the mold has been there for a long time and it’s actually stained the wallpaper, it may be difficult for you to get that wallpaper back to its original color because it’s physically changed. You might be able to try a mildicide to save wallpaper after mold develops, at least to see if it will remove the mold. There’s a product called Spray & Forget that if the walls get any amount of light at all – sunlight – they’ll activate and kill any mold spores that are behind. And then once that happens, you could try to just simply clean the wallpaper.
Now, in terms of the wet basement that you feel that there’s nothing you can do about, most wet basements – whether it’s concrete, wall, fieldstone, concrete block, I don’t care what it is – those wet basements are caused by two things and two things only, one of which is the fact that the gutter system at the outside of the house is not usually properly designed or discharging water far enough away from the foundation. The other thing is that the soil around the house is too flat; it doesn’t slope away from the wall.
So those two things are the most common contributing factors to water problems, not rising water tables and other things that are more difficult to control. But certainly, looking at your gutter system and making sure that water that’s collecting at the roof edge is discharging 4 to 6 to 8 feet away from the house and that the soil is sloping away from the house. So I would concentrate on – certainly on the wet-basement issue, as well, because that’s going to stop more mold from forming in the future.
And then in terms of how to save wallpaper after mold develops, you could try a product like Spray & Forget, which does not contain any bleach or lye or acid. So it’s not going to affect the color. And see if it can kill off the mold that’s there.
RACHEL: OK. Alright. Thank you.
TOM: Good luck with that project.