How to Prevent Bathroom Mold in a Rental
LESLIE: Chris in Colorado is on the line dealing with some bathroom mold. Tell us about it.
CHRIS: Well, I have tenants living in a rental of mine and as it turns out, I think there were several people using the shower downstairs. And subsequently, we’ve got a lot of mold on the walls. They’re taking off here at the end of July and I want to go in there and completely take all that mold out of there and paint it or put something in place to try and help prevent that from happening again. What can I do?
LESLIE: OK. Now, where are you seeing this mold? Is it strictly on the caulk? Is it on the ceiling?
CHRIS: It’s on the ceiling, on the walls. Just right around the shower.
LESLIE: And what is your bathroom venting situation? Do you have a vent fan? Is it just a window?
CHRIS: There’s no window. There is a vent. However, I think the vent fan could probably be replaced. I’m not – I think the last time I checked it, it was working but it was somewhat weak.
LESLIE: Now, that’s – the big cause of your problem there is the venting situation.
So first off, let’s get rid of the mold. You’re going to want to clean your ceiling with a bleach-and-water solution. Be very careful, obviously, because you’re working overhead. But you want to just do that to kill the mold spores and get rid of what’s already up there.
Once that’s done and it’s dry, then I say prime the ceiling, the walls with a really good-quality primer like a KILZ or one of those B-I-N Zinsser primers. Prime everything and then go ahead and paint everything.
And replace that vent fan. You want to get something that’s really powerful, that’s properly vented to the exterior. And you might want to, because it’s a tenant situation and it’s not somebody that you can sort of be on top of to make sure they’re putting it on and there’s no window, you may want to have it installed with an occupancy sensor. So that when someone walks into the bathroom, it triggers that vent fan to come on. It’ll run while they’re in there and then after they leave, it’s set to stay on for 10, 15 minutes.
This way, when they’ve showered and have opened the door, that’s when you get that high points of condensation, because you’ve got that moist air from the shower and it’s warm and then you get the cool air from opening the door. And then suddenly, you get condensation on every surface. So that could be the best plan of attack, especially since these are people that you’re renting to.
CHRIS: Terrific. Well, thank you so much for your help.
TOM: You’re very welcome, Chris. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.