We live in a house that was built in 1911. There is lots of plaster! I want to redo the bathroom, but the ceiling is mildewed and peeling. I have scrubbed it down with bleach and scraped. The mildew just comes back. My husband installed a ventilation fan. This will be "my" project, so I need answers that I can do myself. Any thoughts?
By Jonniebleu from Fort Wayne, IN
I used to have a house in Michigan that was built in 1890 that had the same problem. Did your hubby put in a ventilation fan that has an exhaust to the outside of the house? It's not going to remove the moisture without an exhaust release area and will just circle the air around the room.
Personally, for health safety sake, I would remove the mold infested plaster and make sure the mold source hasn't gone beyond/behind/above the plaster. Once you know the mold source is under control then it's time to put in a dry wall ceiling and a heavy duty 'exhaust' fan, especially if there are no windows, to help keep the moisture down in the room.
First, make sure that the water leak is identified and fixed. It might be from that bathroom or perhaps a nearby windows or running down from an attic. In terms of the plaster, I would cut out the section, but I'm concerned that since it's coming back you haven't stopped the leak yet.
Here's more info on mold and how to trace water leaks:
I would take out all of the old plaster and slat. (Nasty job but you make sure all the old mold is gone). Next install new drywall designed for bathrooms. It is mold and mildew resistant. Then I would paint with a mold and mildew resistant sealer/primer.
Make sure the bathroom fan vents to the outside and not into your attic. Even if you have a window in your bathroom a fan is a great investment, for those days that it is too cold to open the window. Make sure your family uses the fan when taking a shower to keep the humidity under control.
Old houses were designed to "breathe". If the original window allowed sufficient ventilation for bathing you have more moisture than anticipated by the builder or you have more insulation and there is no "breathing" going on. Your house has the vapors. Look for condensation on your walls that exchange heat. No way would I tear out lathe and fling lead based paint particles and probable asbestos ( you know there will be a layer of it somewhere in there) without a good go at peroxide, bleach, vinegar, and borax to kill the beastie mold.
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