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How do we prevent mold under the floor joists?

Answered by Brendan ~ January 27, 2011 ~ Comments

The previous owners turned the garage into a laundry room, bathroom, and bedroom. They did nothing to the garage floor, just left it as is and raised the floor to meet the rest of the house (approx 2 ft). We just had to tear out the laundry room floor because of a burst pipe that happened while we were at work. We found out that the people who bought this house and flipped it put a THIN coat of plywood over already damaged floor. The house was originally built in 1950's. After being down on the original garage floor and looking around under there, we found there is no vents under there and there is water damage (not as severe as the laundry room) in the bathroom area. We have planned to tear out the floor in the bathroom during the summer barring any other major event. We want to prevent mold from growing. We did spray the wood under the laundry room and what we could get to, but won't this grow back without proper ventilation? Please help.

Jesse V. ~ Pilot Point, Texas

Brendan Fowler

Ventilation is going to be critical here as you have mentioned. Once mold has been present it will continue to grow again in the presence of moisture. If there is any way to treat the wood in close proximity to the old garage floor, this will help immensely to inhibit the growth of mold. If you are going to open the floor, it would also be a good idea to treat the garage floor--which I am assuming is concrete--with a water proofing sealer to help prevent ground moisture from wicking into the under-floor space. Unfortunately there is no easy fix here: Keeping that under floor area dry is going to be key in eliminating the mold problem. Good luck!

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