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Old 10-24-2008, 08:56 PM   #41
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I have read that bleach will not soak in enough to kill the "roots" of the mold. I suggest reading some more about killing mold. Chlorine Bleach Effects

You need a fungicide, like Shockwave: http://www.fiberlock.com/pds/shockwave_pds.pdf
The info at the first link is a little misleading. I went to the EPA's web site, and it looks like they don't recommend bleach anymore or any other biocide (except for cases where immunosuppressed individuals may be exposed to the area, etc). They didn't say whether bleach would kill the roots of the mold, but it appears that they don't think it is relevant. According to their approach, you need to get rid of the surface mold/mold products/dead mold fragments, etc, address the moisture problem that allowed the mold to grow, and that is it. No more water = no mold.

I think their approach is probably a valid one, but I would still use some type of biocide (bleach/Shockwave, etc) to kill as much of the the mold as I could. It's not about science--it's about getting even.
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Old 10-24-2008, 09:45 PM   #42
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Our problem was worse in that the pipe itself had developed a pin hole - This was not what I'd call a slow leak - think gallons of water, not ounces.
Fixed the leak under the vanity by sawing through the base inside, luckily in the right place, and patching the pipe. Carpet and particleboard base were ruined.
Wife was so happy with the new bathroom that I had to remodel the other one too!!!

I've since found other joints that were bad, but all in the unfinished basement. Easily repaired - I know how to make a quality solder joint, unlike some plumbers.
My biggest anxiety is the pipes hidden in the walls, so we turn off the water in the house when we travel.

Good luck with your problem
If you're having holes develop in the pipe itself it may not be the plumbers fault. Your water may be acidic or have lots of salts in it. Copper pipes should not rust just from exposure to water.
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Old 10-25-2008, 08:22 AM   #43
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If you're having holes develop in the pipe itself it may not be the plumbers fault. Your water may be acidic or have lots of salts in it. Copper pipes should not rust just from exposure to water.
The water is softened.
pH is about 7.9
Dissecting the pipes (2 instances) shows a small corroding area within a foot, or so, of a joint. I speculate that the corrosion starts from a piece of excess flux (back in the 70's, they typically used a chloride type paste flux) being flushed a ways down the pipe and lodging. After 20+ years the slow corrosion penetrates with a copper oxide plug keeping the leak intermittent and slow enough to just discolor the outside of the pipe. I found one like that in the basement. Of course, if the corrosion is in a wall, you never know until the plug gets large enough to blow out and cause damage. The same thing happens with a defective joint, which appears to be Al's problem.
I was in electronics manufacturing before retirement, and have samples of totally non-corrosive flux at home that I used to repair the pipes.
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Old 10-25-2008, 09:39 AM   #44
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The info at the first link is a little misleading. I went to the EPA's web site, and it looks like they don't recommend bleach anymore or any other biocide (except for cases where immunosuppressed individuals may be exposed to the area, etc). They didn't say whether bleach would kill the roots of the mold, but it appears that they don't think it is relevant. According to their approach, you need to get rid of the surface mold/mold products/dead mold fragments, etc, address the moisture problem that allowed the mold to grow, and that is it. No more water = no mold.

I think their approach is probably a valid one, but I would still use some type of biocide (bleach/Shockwave, etc) to kill as much of the the mold as I could. It's not about science--it's about getting even.
Thanks for the info. We are dealing with a wet basement and mold/mildew in my old family home and the contractor wants to use Shockwave. He said that the EPA doesn't recommend bleach on porous surfaces and is silent on fungicides. I'll talk to him about the EPA reference you gave.
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Old 10-25-2008, 09:42 AM   #45
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Thanks for the tips!

The studs look AOK. The only damaged wood seems to be the two 2x6s that the pipes go through (the double top plate):



For the top one, near the pipe, I can push the screwdriver all the way through it. On the bottom one, and at points away from the leaky pipes, I can only push the screwdriver less than 1/4 inch.

These top plate 2x6s are only supporting the one joist above them. Would this scenario work?

1. Have plumber redo the elbows (I don't want my first pipe soldering to be done here).

2. Use reciprocating saw to cut out the three-foot sections of rotted top plate 2x6s. I don't think the joist will sag (famous last words?).

3. Cut slots in new 2x6s for the pipes, slide them in, and fasten them down.

Does that sound reasonable and not rinky-dink?
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Old 10-25-2008, 10:25 AM   #46
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Al,
So the only thing resting on the doubled top plate is the joist that we see running parallel to it? If that is the case, I think an even easier/better way to get a good repair is to scab a "sister" piece of 2x6 (on edge) to the existing joist. Use a lot of nails (or screws) that go well into both pieces. This piece should be long enough to bridge the damaged area of top plate and resting on solid, undamaged top plate for about a foot on either side. (go out far enough to get to solid top plate over a solid stud). This should effectively transfer the load to the undamaged top plate/stud below. Doing thing this way avoids having to remove the old damaged top plate, cutting slots for the pipe (which will weaken it). The resulting doubled 2x6 joist area will be very stiff and strong.

If this suggestion is unacceptable (maybe because you can't get access to the area to nail in a sister) then your approach of removing/replacing the damaged part of the top-top plate would work well, too.
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Old 10-25-2008, 10:33 AM   #47
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sorry, T-Al, sounding rinky-dink.

If you cut out the top plates, you need to build a temporary supporting wall for the joists it supports. You are risking some drooping and nails pulling or worse if you don't. Nothing fancy, just a few 2x4s and a cross piece screwed together.

I'm not sure you can slot the top plate like that. I know there are limits on hole sizes and how close they are to the edge on a joist, not sure about top plates though.

Idea: what about sweating a copper-to-PEX connector on where you have better access, and then running PEX through the tricky areas? Just two sweat joints , or even easier - it looks like you can get those "sharkbite" connectors (which I learned about here in that "replace this water heater" thread).

add - I see samclem's post now; I had trouble telling from the pics, but yes, sistering in a good joist can work well too. I might be a little nervous about that though - would the rot from the existing board transfer and tend to rot the new one? I suppose once everything is dry, that is not a threat?

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Old 10-25-2008, 08:00 PM   #48
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So the only thing resting on the doubled top plate is the joist that we see running parallel to it?
Yes.

That sistering is a great suggestion, and could work well. It's the last 29 inches of the top plate that is rotted, so I'd sister the joist, and rest it on the top plate of the exterior wall (that is, the top plate that is at right angles to the damaged section). I'd have easy access from the garage side. Why not use a full 2x10 to sister -- overkill?

I don't like having that rotted wood there, even if it dries out. Once I do the sistering, there's no reason not to take out the top plate, right?

Thanks, guys!
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Old 10-25-2008, 08:14 PM   #49
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Why not use a full 2x10 to sister -- overkill?
Nope, I just thought the joist was only a nominal 6". You might as well use as wide a board as will fit against the joist

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I don't like having that rotted wood there, even if it dries out. Once I do the sistering, there's no reason not to take out the top plate, right?
Sure, there's no harm in taking it out. If you do, then a little "belt and suspenders" insurance would be to slip in and shim a small piece of 2 x 4 in place of the removed top plate section directly over each of the lower studs. This provides a load path from the joist (with its new sister'ed piece) through the scrap 2 x 4, through the intact lower top plate and down through the stud. This isn't really required, but why not do it anyway since it is easy and you're removing the piece of rotted wood anyway.
Best of luck Thanks for the pictures, it made it really easy to figure out what you were doing.
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Old 10-27-2008, 01:09 PM   #50
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There is a really cool collection of slime mold photos at this site. It takes a minute to load but is well worth it, here's a sample:
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 23.jpg (143.9 KB, 2 views)
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Old 10-29-2008, 10:58 AM   #51
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Update

Well I know you home improvement junkies are waiting for the latest info and photos, so here they are.

I had Joe the Plumber come and fix the leak. The problem was indeed in the elbow. Joe wouldn't go so far as to say that the original plumber screwed up. Here's the fixed pipe:



About $175 for that, and worth every penny.

Looking at the structural stuff, I now think that I may not need any repair. Check this out: there's only about 30 inches of damaged wood, and the joist sits on the undamaged top plate from the exterior wall.



Here's the view from below, with things cleaned out a bit:



In other words, the damaged wood isn't really supporting anything.

In any case, the water damage/mold guy is coming on Thursday. I think he might just say "dry it out and close it up," but we'll see.

I have a fan and dehumidifier running in the office, and this arrangement in the garage:



I really should have gone after this aggressively as soon the monster reared his head in the kitchen's airspace. I let a whole month of leaking go by. Part laziness, part fear of mold.

Stay tuned!
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Old 10-31-2008, 04:29 PM   #52
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The pro said to just dig out the damaged wood, dry it out, paint it with the appropriate preservative and close it up.

I've had the fans and dehumidifier going 24/7, and it looks good. Thanks again for the advice.
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Old 10-31-2008, 06:11 PM   #53
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What is the appropriate preservative?
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Old 10-31-2008, 08:10 PM   #54
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I don't know yet -- suggestions?

That shockwave stuff sounded a little too industrial, and I think the mold is no longer a problem.
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Old 11-01-2008, 01:15 AM   #55
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I don't know yet -- suggestions?
Splash around Kilz primer, replace the insulation, and wall it up?

Maybe the garage drywall should have a piano hinge so that you can pop it open for an inspection every few years.
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Old 11-01-2008, 05:10 AM   #56
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Mount a remote controlled camera and strobe light inside (wireless, of course) with a motion detector and DVR so you can have a running account of any reemergence of "bugs". All kidding aside, this has been a pretty good DIY (hope I never have to remember it) thread.
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Old 11-01-2008, 09:30 AM   #57
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That pipe joint is now probably the least likely to leak of all the joints in the house.

BTW, the plumber said that the green stuff on the other pipes did not indicate leaking, and was related to the flux used during the soldering.
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Old 11-01-2008, 12:22 PM   #58
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I don't know yet -- suggestions?

That shockwave stuff sounded a little too industrial, and I think the mold is no longer a problem.
I don't know what type of preservative he might be talking about. What would we be "preserving" it from? If the moisture issue is solved, the mold shouldn't come back. The only effective anti-mold, anti-moisture, anti-termite "preservative" I can think of for wood in a sealed-up area would be treated lumber (and then you'd need special fasteners and to keep it out of contact with the copper pipes). I just don't see a need for that here. AFAIK, the brush-on waterproofing, etc is no more effective than paint.
I'd just put a new vapor barrier on the warm-side of the stud bay (either apply two coats of "Zinser BIN" or even kraft-paper insulation) and then press in some fiberglass and wall it up.
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Old 11-01-2008, 02:04 PM   #59
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Use a hair dryer to dry it out (to be sure it is dry) and put kilz on it - and forget about it. Could use any shellac lying around to do the same thing.
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Old 11-01-2008, 02:38 PM   #60
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I don't know what type of preservative he might be talking about.......... .

Probably copper napthenate. Popular with the wood boat people. A common brand name is Cuprinol.
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