Black mould caused by moisture

Sunday, July 1st, 2007

Shell Busey

Q  We’re having problems with mould growing around our caulking and in the grout between the tiles in two of our bathrooms. Both bathrooms have exhaust fans which are run for at least 45 minutes each time someone showers or bathes. I’ve been spraying a combination of bleach and water, which helps a little bit, but then it reappears and now seems to be even tougher to get off. My in-laws lived in this house for 20 years before us and as far as I know never experienced this problem. Where we have peeled away some of it, there is black mould firmly in place that can’t even be scraped off.

— Walter

A  The black spore that grows or forms in and around a bathtub is caused by a lack of drying the shower and bath after each usage. A good practice is to towel or squeegee the entire area down after every shower. Then leave the bathroom fan running for at least an hour per bath or shower with the door open to the bathroom. Timers or de-humidistats are a great investment for the proper operation of your bathroom fans. To get rid of the spores, you must keep the moisture down and use proper ventilation.

Clean the area to be recaulked using the It’s Just That Easy Grout & Ceramic Cleaner available at Windsor Plywood or Home Hardware. Once you’ve scraped off the old caulking, use a silicone-grade bathroom caulking. Fill the bathtub with water and let sit overnight as the caulking dries.

Q  We just bought a home that was previously owned by heavy smokers. We are removing all the carpets and repainting before we move in. What else can we do to get rid of the cigarette-smoke odour?

— Shelly

A  A new carpet and washing down your walls with TSP before painting will help. As well, contact Medallion Healthy Homes for a treatment that will completely eliminate any odours. They can be reached by calling 1-866-633-2554. Also, change your furnace filter and have your ducts cleaned.

Shell Busey can be heard every Saturday morning from 5 to 8 a.m. on Vancouver’s CKNW AM980. To send in your home improvement questions, go to Include name, city and phone number.

© The Vancouver Province 2007


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