Dampness & Moisture

Parent Q&A

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  • Damp floors in new rental house

    (3 replies)

    Hello BPN community, 

    We just moved into a new rental home and are finding the house very damp. When I wake up in the morning my cloth slippers that have stayed on the floor all night are damp. The walls feel cool and damp as well. There are double paned windows throughout the house and we want to avoid running the heater all winter long for the enviornment and cost. 

    With the rain the other day the back area of the house which sits directly on the ground (ie no crawl space) developed some damps spots on the carpet.

    My question is 2 fold for the main area of the house that has a crawl sapce what can we do to help with damp floors, walls and it getting to cold? In our previous apartment the landlords installed a vapor/moisture barrier in the crawl space. Is this an option? Who would you recommend? 

    For the carpet area can you recommend anyone that works with insulating and installing non-toxic flooring (as I am assuming some insulation and new flooring will be needed) and who can help figure out where the damp spots are coming from?! 

    Thanks! 

    Oh dear. I once lived in a damp studio apartment on the ground floor of a tall 3-story house and had major issues with mold and mildew - I suspect you know that's a risk and why you're being so proactive w/ remediation - good for you! Before any of that, however, I would get on Amazon immediately and buy one or more dehumidifiers to pull the water out of the air. Something like this: https://a.co/d/dXO2bUO I didn't take action soon enough and had mildew on my clothes in the closet, on the pages of my books, on the walls... you get the picture. Good luck! 

    This is really concerning and I would highly recommend you contact Five Star Restoration. I have used this company several times over the past 6 years for various water leaks. They specialize in detecting areas of water intrusion. You could be dealing with mold development. fivestarrestoration.com

    Oof. Can you move? This may be so bad that it violates the warranty of habitability, and your landlord should certainly reimburse you for the cost of any measures you're taking to remediate it. If you're in Berkeley, try making an appointment with one of the housing counselors at the Berkeley Rent Board.

  • Mushrooms Growing in Wood Porch

    (2 replies)

    We have some mushrooms growing out of the cracks in some decorative details on our front porch.  The mushrooms are approximately 8 feet above ground and are in one limited area.   The porch is all wood and is exposed to the elements so it does get wet and damp during rain and heavy fog but otherwise should be dry.  Any advice on how to self treat or recommendations for a professional to solve are appreciated.  We want to nip this in the bud so as not to risk larger structural issues (same area as a supporting wall for the deck overhang/roof).  

    I'm sure you'll get more expert advice from contractors, etc., but in the meantime I can tell you that I had a similar problem, and after doing some research I purchased a bottle of ORANGE OIL.  That was four years ago, and we've have seen no mushrooms since!  (Orange oil is also non-toxic, which is a tremendous plus.)

    Mushrooms live off of decaying wood.  If your a seeing the mushroom caps it means the hypha (roots) are all throughout the wood.  Your porch is NOT safe to walk on.  It could collapse the next time someone walks on it.  Remember the six students who died in Berkeley when the porch they were standing on suddenly collapsed?  You are in the same situation.

    You need to find the extent of the damage.  Take a screw driver and begin poking at the wood.  If the wood is soft remove it and continue poking until you hit wood that's solid and has no signs of rot.  After doing this be sure to wash your hands thoroughly as the mushroom could be poisonous.    Everyday you delay the mushrooms are eating more of your deck.

    Please  don't allow anyone to walk on the porch until you know the extent of the rot.  A fall from 8 feet is enough to cause serious injuries or worse.  This in not something you can put off.  You need to do this NOW  so you know if it's safe to walk on or not.