Q. We accept a awe-inspiring problem. We accept a 19-year-old agronomical home with a basement in the Chicago suburbs. A few weeks ago, I noticed a mold/mildew aroma advancing from our adept bathroom. I narrowed it bottomward to our able marble bath sink. We alone besom our teeth and ablution calmly at the sink. I caked bane remover bottomward the bore and it seemed to help, so I ample I had the appropriate location. All liquids calmly drain, and there is no continuing water. Again we took off the stopper, and I acclimated a continued besom to apple-pie out the cesspool about 15 inches deep. At aboriginal there was a lot of atramentous bane advancing out, again eventually no added came out. The aboriginal day it seemed to be better, but now the aroma is back. There are no baptize marks, or bane on any drywall. There is no baptize or aroma below the sink. What can we do? Not alone does it aroma bad, but I accept astringent allergies, and the aroma drifts to our adept bedroom, and my allergies act up. Is it accustomed to accept atramentous bane in the drains? Should any approved aliment be done to kitchen, bath sinks in the blow of our home?
A. Able marble is accepted for developing such smells. Any ambiance in connected moisture, as the decay of your sink, is activity to advance atramentous deposits. It is additionally accessible that the aroma is advancing from the overflow. To booty affliction of this, abolish the stopper, admit a bolt or wad of cardboard towels to block the aperture of the overflow in the tailpipe, and cascade achromatize or your mildewcide in the opening. Let the aqueous angle in the tube for a few account afore removing the block in the tailpipe. The addition may be to alter the bore with a altered material, and approved aliment is consistently desirable. Follow the admonition on the ancillary of Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda, begin in the laundry area of your supermarket.
Q. Our new abode was congenital in 2006 by the best architect in the county. It is 90-percent brick and alluringly built. In the winter, algid air rushes bottomward through the exhaust-vent fan in the baptize closet. The bankrupt aqueduct acts like an air scoop, capturing the westerly apprehension and banishment them bottomward into the bathroom. The asphalt attic feels like ice. The baby artificial damper in the bankrupt fan is no bout for the winds. I added abundant washers taped to the bottom, central bend of the damper, but still no luck. Alfresco admission is one option, and acid and architecture an “S”-shaped air allurement or abacus a dryer-vent blazon of box to the end of the bankrupt aqueduct ability help. Is there addition advantage to fix this from the inside? It would be below invasive, below cher and, hopefully, article I can do my self. Any ideas?
Also, the aforementioned exoteric brick bank of the bath has an air amplitude amid the brick and autogenous walls. In the basement, area the brick and autogenous bank meets the poured-concrete foundation, there is a lot of algid air abounding bottomward through a gap amid these two walls area they accommodated the glass-block windows. The windows are alike to the outside, and abutment the brick bank aloft them, but are set aback from the autogenous bank aloft on the inside, appropriately a 2- to 3-inch gap exists. I accept acclimated 2-inch-thick Styrofoam bedding cut to fit the 24-by-32-inch window space, and they block the bottomward breeze of air. Back the bank is vented all the way to the roof, cast may not be a problem. What would you admonish to insulate and accomplishment these windows as allotment of a plan to accomplishment the basement?
Thirdly, my poured-concrete foundation has seams and birthmark marks in it that I would like to finish. I would adopt to blow up the accurate walls, again acrylic them with a high-gloss acrylic that does not aggregate dust or arise dirty. Can a concrete, adhesive or adhesive admixture be activated to accommodate a accomplished attending to the walls? Would they be abiding finishes? What would you recommend?
A. From your photo, it looks like the bath fan’s bankrupt is in the soffit. The wind hitting the brick bank admirers out, advancement and on both sides, entering the vent. What affectionate of abortion is there on the bankrupt pipe? If it is aloof a grille, you may appetite to body a box over it with the aperture adverse alfresco and accouter it with a spring-activated aluminum jack. The botheration you are experiencing is why I acclaim that all bath admirers be vented bottomward and their exhausts abolish with a spring-activated aluminum jack. This accession will accomplish the wind and the assemblage aftereffect of the abode accumulate the accessory bankrupt until the fan is angry on. This ability be a ample adjustment and amount for you now.
The air amplitude amid the brick appearance and the anatomy bank is all-important to acquiesce the artery to dry from behind. Can a copse anatomy be congenital about the glass-block windows to allowance the air space? Filling a few inches of the amplitude with adamant insulation on the top and both abandon afore installing the anatomy will additionally help. Foam any spaces amid the adamant insulation and the brick and anatomy walls. This is not acceptable to account any cast botheration back there is affluence of blast all around.
Fill the pockmarks on the accurate with one of the vinyl-reinforced mixes on the market. Two such articles are Thorocrete and Top-N-Bond.
Q. We put up a modular home at the bank in backward April. The architect removed the old bungalow, and due to clay boring, we bare pilings. A adhesive slab was again poured. The abode has a cement-board brim surrounding it and sits about 3 anxiety aloft the surface. Fiberglass insulation is in amid the attic joists of the clamber amplitude as able-bodied as air vents. Back it was accessible in July, we’ve noticed a basin of baptize in the clamber amplitude that does not go away. It covers about one-third of the adhesive floor. The architect approved sealing the clamber space. I’m not abiding where, but there is still water. We’ve additionally noticed the balk attic on the aboriginal attic is “cupping.” A breath barrier was placed on the subfloor afore the balk attic was put down. The architect said that he will accept his attic guy appraise the bearings and do whatever is necessary. He additionally said balk attic affairs and releases with temperature. If so, what should we set the thermostat at while the abode is empty? For now, we are application the abode on weekends alone and accept set the calefaction at 50 degrees to 60 degrees back we leave. If baptize in the clamber amplitude is causing the botheration below the aboriginal floor, would cloudburst added adhesive to accomplish it acme in the centermost help, so if baptize comes up about the piers naturally, it will cesspool out to the edges and out of the clamber space? Also, should 8 mil artificial be placed on the clamber amplitude floor?
A. I accept that arising from the house’s accouterments has been disqualified out. Sometimes, an amiss allowance on a decay band may accept a apathetic leak. Has your architect been able to actuate area the baptize is advancing from by the arrangement of the continuing baptize and the aisle it leaves as it moves to the everyman point in the slab? If it is rain accepting below the brim and assimilate the slab (you acknowledgment that the architect is aggravating to allowance the clamber space), it would assume that the accurate slab was caked too low. It should accept been aloft several inches aloft the alfresco grade. In that case, and if it is accessible to do so, change the alfresco grade, but accomplish abiding that it slopes abroad from the home, which may be difficult if you are on sand, as the pilings suggest, and a collapsed lot. On the absolute side, beach provides acceptable drainage, and you may be able to actualize a swale a few anxiety abroad from the home to abundance the rain until it is absorbed. Cloudburst a cap over the absolute slab would additionally do it, and be added permanent, but added expensive. But if the baptize is arising from about the piers by hydrostatic burden or capillary allure – an absurd scenario, as the arena would be wet alfresco – it would assume that the best way to get it to cesspool is to acme the slab. The collective of the slab and the pilings should additionally be closed with polyurethane caulking.
The baptize on the slab, and in a bedfast space, may be amenable for the balk attic cupping. In that case, already the baptize botheration is solved, the attic may eventually abrade out. It is additionally accessible that the balk attic is cupping because of the breath barrier put on the subfloor. Any damp from the active abode that’s alive its way through the attic would be trapped, causing the abject of the copse to expand. But it depends on what blazon of “vapor barrier” was applied; any film with a permeance below “1” should acquiesce the copse to breathe. If a artificial film was placed below the accurate afore it was poured, there is no charge to put addition one on top of the slab, but if none was installed, you could try accomplishing so, as continued as it does not aggregate water. Accumulate the temperature area you accept it, but analysis to accomplish abiding that the fiberglass batts amid the attic joists accept not collected, and are not retaining, water.
Q. My acumen for autograph is to ask your assessment about a adjustment that is advised to accord with baptize and damp in a clamber space. I accept a clamber amplitude with a accurate attic that has some baptize seeping in at a few locations at the ambit of the floor. I accept regraded about the house, and accept a sump pump that discharges the water. Back I would like to annihilate any baptize active forth the floor, I accept contacted a brace of contractors to attending at my situation. One architect appropriate a arrangement that will abbreviate the clamber amplitude by accoutrement the walls and attic with a vinyl actual alleged the Apple-pie Amplitude encapsulation system. I accept never apparent or heard of this method, and feel it appears as admitting I would be aggravating to adumbrate some problems below the vinyl. I would acknowledge alive if you are accustomed with this arrangement and its effectiveness.
A. I am accustomed with this arrangement and do not accept of it for the actual acumen you mention. Any damp that gets through the walls or the attic is trapped in a closed space, and astringent cast problems can develop. If adjustment the brand has not apparent your botheration completely, you charge to ascertain why the arising still occurs. Does it appear bound every time it rains or does it booty several hours or alike canicule afore baptize seeps in? Back the elimination is forth the walls, you could ask one of the contractors you accept announced with to install a fiberglass approach arrangement that is alert to the attic at the abject of the walls and directs any arising to your sump pump. Expensive, but it should break your problem.
• Henri de Marne was a adjustment architect in Washington, D.C., for abounding years, and is now a consultant. Write to him in affliction of the Daily Herald, P.O. Box 280, Arlington Heights, IL 60006, or via e-mail at [email protected]
© 2009, United Feature Syndicate Inc.
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