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Thread: Rot In Walls?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Posts
    58

    Unhappy Rot In Walls?

    Not sure if this is the right section. I've posted a few other questions on this forum and it's been great help.

    I've got lung disease, live alone in a small house in Seattle built in 1978. To help with my breathing, I recently pulled out the carpets.

    When I pulled the molding I noticed areas on the wallboard where there is noticeable 'rot' of some kind. The sheetrock on one corner came off in cakey little blocks in spots and the underlying wood seems... well not really 'wet' but definitely damaged... it's chocolate dark and also like 'cake'... breaks off in chunks.

    Some background: I last looked in the crawl space in the summer and it seemed quite dry. I had the roof redone 5 years ago. A sales rep for the local utility said she noticed some -minor- mold in the attic last summer as part of an 'energy audit'.

    OK: I guess my question is: assuming this 'rot' is not normal, who should I call to inspect/diagnose. I'm on a fixed income and I hate to sound like this, but I'm slightly terrified of any and all 'home improvement' contractors... I've had one too many bad experiences with not very ethical types (see my recent post on having my garage door fixed!)

    Anyhoo... I don't know who to call to get some decent advice. Structural engineer? Carpenter? Although it rains a lot here, I never thought I'd have to deal with this sort of thing having had the roof done so recently.

    And then, how does one -vet- such a person?

    TIA,

    ---JC

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Houston Texas
    Posts
    2,363

    Default Re: Rot In Walls?

    You can start with Angies list or so to find a more honest contractor. Preferrably one who is busy and can't get to you right away. Also look for a contractor who does the work himself, and not just a salesman. When you shake his hand feel for scars and callouses.

    If the contractor is booked with work then he isn't hungry to sell you anything.

    If you ask a mold spe******t they will give you a mold answer
    If you call a leak spe******t they will give you a leak answer.
    If you ask a roofer you will get a roofing solution.

    Thus you need to find someone who has no interest in steering you in the wrong direction.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Posts
    58

    Default Re: Rot In Walls?

    Thanks... good tips.

    I guess it's like with Drs... I -could- reasonably be treated by a 'lung' guy, an 'allergy' guy or an 'ENT' guy.

    My first thought was to find an engineer first... or a house inspector? To give me that 'unbiased' opinion. Of course, a decent general contractor could probably do the same and save me the consulting fee.

    One other thing that came to me after I wrote this: I guess it could also have been some sort of 'flooding' event before I moved in... The damage all seems to be along the floor and near the walls... rather than high up and in the center. That kinda makes me wonder if they didn't have some huge 'spill' at some point that they didn't properly pick up...and water just seeped into the sides of the hallway?

    Also: this is a flyer, but could this be -insects- of some type? The crumbly texture of the wood reminds me of a house I stayed in down in Florida years ago---I don't think we have termites like that, but is there an easy way to check?

    Thanks Again!

    ---JC



    Quote Originally Posted by HoustonRemodeler View Post
    You can start with Angies list or so to find a more honest contractor. Preferrably one who is busy and can't get to you right away. Also look for a contractor who does the work himself, and not just a salesman. When you shake his hand feel for scars and callouses.

    If the contractor is booked with work then he isn't hungry to sell you anything.

    If you ask a mold spe******t they will give you a mold answer
    If you call a leak spe******t they will give you a leak answer.
    If you ask a roofer you will get a roofing solution.

    Thus you need to find someone who has no interest in steering you in the wrong direction.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Tennessee
    Posts
    1,381

    Default Re: Rot In Walls?

    This is a little out of the box, but you might look for a termite or pest control company that uses Sodium Borates. A Sodium Borate solution in an Ethylene Glycol base is not only a great insecticide, it is also a biocide that kills the molds that cause rot in wood. It is relatively safe for humans, even those with respiratory issues. You may have to be out of the house during the actual spraying, but once it is done, you should be OK to return.

    This treatment is water soluble though so you need to have someone look for any water intrusion. Your mold may be simply due to the high humidity during the rain events rather than water intrusion, if so, the house may need a periodic re-spray, but it won't be that frequent. If there is water intrusion, you will need frequent applications or you will need to stop the water intrusion.

    It is also possible that the new roof has already corrected the water intrusion and you are just seeing the aftermath.

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