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Weird, Scary, Mold Monster
Old 09-29-2008, 02:01 PM   #1
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Weird, Scary, Mold Monster

Our biggest problem in living near the ocean is high humidity and mold. I hesitate to post this, because I don't want people to think we live in a junky house, but the latest front on the mold war, is in the ceiling of the kitchen.

There's a tinyl hole where the ceiling meets the wall, and mold has developed and this weird alien thing is growing out the hole.





A month ago I broke it off, and cleaned with bleach, but now it's back. This wall is shared with the garage, and my office is above it.

My concern is that there's a leaky pipe in there. I think I will take off the sheetrock on the garage side and take a look.

Any advice?
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Old 09-29-2008, 02:02 PM   #2
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I think I will take off the sheetrock on the garage side and take a look. Any advice?
Wear protection.
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Old 09-29-2008, 02:08 PM   #3
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Any advice?
Conveniently have your valuables out of the house. hire an arsonist or "forget" you had bacon frying and see if you can get the whole thing to go.

Worst case scenario. Move your house to Texas. Not you, just your house. REWahoo can add it to the list; ... fire ants, hurricanes, T-Al's mold monster house, etc.
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Old 09-29-2008, 02:13 PM   #4
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Those look like some sort of eggs...
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Old 09-29-2008, 03:40 PM   #5
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Those look like some sort of eggs...

Ditto

Scrape off and take to Ag Ext Svc.
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Old 09-29-2008, 03:45 PM   #6
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Looks quite similar to these...termite eggs...

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Old 09-29-2008, 04:12 PM   #7
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Al, is it animal, vegetable, or mineral? Can you tell if it's a larva, a fungus, or some type of wood sap? Carpenter ants nesting?

If the garage exploratory surgery doesn't immediately supply the answer then your next best bet is to carve right there on the kitchen side. With a can of spray insecticide handy.

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Wear protection.
Yeah, like a face shield. Although that wouldn't have helped the guy in the "Alien" movie...
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Old 09-29-2008, 04:39 PM   #8
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It's definitely some sort of fungus. Last time it had a mushroom shape, like this.

Should I open the wall? Get advice from a plumber?
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Old 09-29-2008, 04:45 PM   #9
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Should I open the wall? Get advice from a plumber?
stir fry?
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Old 09-29-2008, 04:53 PM   #10
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nah - it's a fungi - no worries. maybe in this group:

California Fungi: Dacrymyces stillatus

i've seen those before in wet areas on wood - a firm somewhat softer than gummi-bear feel, right?
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Old 09-29-2008, 04:55 PM   #11
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[quote=TromboneAl;722712]It's definitely some sort of fungus. Last time it had a mushroom shape, like this....
quote]
Now that looks very edible!

as we used to say, "either a rare delicacy or maybe a deadly poison".
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Old 09-29-2008, 05:05 PM   #12
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T-Al,

If it's a fungus, you've got wet something somewhere. I'd take a box knife and open up a small section of the drywall on the garage side to see what's going on. It's up high, so unless you've got a second floor up there with plumbing, I'm guessing water infiltration from the roof into the open wall space. That means a roof leak, lucky you!

Good luck!
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Old 09-29-2008, 05:30 PM   #13
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unless you've got a second floor up there with plumbing
There is a second floor above, but no plumbing in that room. I'm trying to figure out where the pipes would go.

The wall with the most goes east-west, and the wall on the west side is an exterior wall. The ceiling joists run east-west. Here is a cross section of the house looking west:



Are the pipes likely to go straight up from where they enter the wall, then turn north and travel through the joists?
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Old 09-29-2008, 06:02 PM   #14
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Not that this is much help, but in a recent episode of "Ask This Old House" they discussed a gadget that could detect metal inside a wall, like a stud finder, so it could trace pipes or electric wires. But was pricey, as I recall.
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Old 09-29-2008, 06:12 PM   #15
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I'd use a large diameter (4") hole saw to poke some exploratory holes in the garage side of the drywall. If you have a Harbor Freight store near you, they sell these quite inexpensively. Save the plug you cut out to make patching the holes easy when you are done.
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Old 09-29-2008, 06:16 PM   #16
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I say start digging in the area where it is growing, clean it out several inches around and beneath. If you see signs of moisture keep digging. Apply chlorine bleach and observe once you have the area dry.

It could be that you have more humidity in the room than you know. Invest in a device to measure that. Humid air raises, a remote corner collects dust.
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Old 09-29-2008, 06:32 PM   #17
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There is a second floor above, but no plumbing in that room. I'm trying to figure out where the pipes would go.

The wall with the most goes east-west, and the wall on the west side is an exterior wall. The ceiling joists run east-west. Here is a cross section of the house looking west:



Are the pipes likely to go straight up from where they enter the wall, then turn north and travel through the joists?
I wish I could give you some idea, but if the plumbing contractor who piped your house was anything like the one who did ours, six drunk monkeys would have done a more logical job than the one you'll find in your walls.

Capillary action is a force of nature, so if you've got a leak anywhere in that pipe moisture could be traveling to your kitchen wall.

Of course, you won't know until you open up that drywall and see if it's wet inside the wall. Do wear a dust mask, you don't know what's been growing in that space.

If you find moisture and you suspect your pipes, you can hire a leak detection specialist to come out and listen to your pipes. They use headphones and some specialized equipment and basicall "find" leaks. Cheaper than having a plumber rip your drywall out over a huge section of your garage.

A happy note: if it is a leak, it'll be relatively easy to get to and fix. Sheetrock is cheap and comparatively easy to work with. We've had three leaks in the pipes in our slab foundation. Nothing brings home the finite lifetime of construction materials like a jackhammer ripping up the concrete floor... in your kitchen (and bathroom, and the wall between you and your neighbors....)
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Old 09-29-2008, 07:02 PM   #18
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Do you have a wood burning stove? Burning wood releases a lot of moisture into a house.

Do you have adequate ventilation Most constriction with mold issues is the result of moisture unable to escape. The fact that it is up high hints that moist warm air is trying to escape. It is growing in an area that is hard to dust so spores are likely present. My comment about bleach stands as their little feet have probably reached into the plaster.

BTW, I live in a maritime climate, listen to the sound of seals and fog horns regularly. No mold issues at all. The salt air is hard on hardware, however.
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Old 09-30-2008, 02:02 AM   #19
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BTW, I live in a maritime climate, ... No mold issues at all.
Which makes me wonder about your heating, Brat:
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Do you have a wood burning stove?
, too?
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Old 09-30-2008, 11:43 AM   #20
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home depot sells mold kits. you send the sample off to a lab for testing. Had to do this to pacify a tenant ... the report is very detailed. Worth the $20. Mine was common stuff; no worry.
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