Mildew Smell in Bathroom

Answered by Brendan ~ December 23, 2010 ~ Comments

Tiled bathroom remodeled 3 years ago. Super strong mildew smell. Sink and shower drains clear and colorless. No subfloor staining any place below (shower pan, toilet flange, drains). Fan is vented correctly. Odor is "in the air" not in a specific area. AAV is fine, bathroom is kept hospital clean! No visual mold, no discolored grout. Attic above is insulated and vented properly...this is driving me nuts! Bathroom has no exterior common walls, I had 4 bathrooms done at the same time, by the same crews with basically the same level of quality and workmanship...no issues with the other three. Any ideas?

Cindy ~ Ann Arbor, Michigan

Brendan Fowler

Cindy, sorry to hear about your mysterious mildew odor problem. I only have a couple of suggestions that I can offer without actually going out and having a look around your bathroom. In the past I have seen cement, wall and floor backing, become wet over time and become saturated with mildew. The problem here is that to inspect this you would have to remove tile to inspect the cement float. This is a possibility but not a great one because you will almost always see mildew on the grout as a result of mildew living under the tile. I have seen where wet towels that always hang in the same place on a towel bar, can develop mildew on the wall behind the towels. If there is a linen closet or cabinet in the bathroom that has had wet towels stored in it, this can be a source of mildew. There may be a mildew odor someplace under your home and it just finds its way into your bathroom through an air leak in the wall and on into your bathroom past a plumbing penetration,(under the vanity). It sounds like you have already been very thorough so hopefully one of my ideas can help get you on the right track to solving this mildew mystery. Good Luck!

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