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Brynie
Moisture and mold in closet

My two story house is 30 years old and we have in the past few years replaced the windows, siding (from wood to cementboard, and replaced the roof. The second floor master walk in closet has moisture and consequently mold on the "outside" walls. The closet is located right off the master bathroom, which showers three people every morning. Several months ago we installed a large exhaust fan which vents to the outside through the roof to help cope with the moisture (w/o heat lamp). Behind one wall and above the closet is an open, unheated attic space. It has been suggested that we increase the insulation in the attic and that we place a vapor barrier in the crawl space under the house. The crawl space has had a moisture problem in the past but appears dry at the moment- we installed a drainage system in the crawl space. The moisture problem in the closet is the greatest in the winter months when the closet is very cold - and, of course, the bathroom area is warm. The second story tends to be colder. We have baseboard heat and there is a small baseboard in the closet, but does not appear to be working. We are the sole owners of the house. The moisture/mold problem has increased in the last year. We do not have this problem anywhere else in the house. What is wrong? How do I prevent the moisture/mold? How do I fix the problem?

Mastercarpentry
Re: Moisture and mold in closet

All the walls and the ceiling of the closet should be insulated with a vapor barrier between the drywall and the insulation. The only cause of mold and mildew is moisture. First the moisture has to get in there, and then it has to be denied air circulation to dry out. So the first step is to find out where the moisture is coming from and stop it, then if you still have a problem allow better air circualtion in the closet. With your description of the bathroom's proximity, if it shares a wall with the closet you might find a plumbing leak in the wall which would drip down through the floor and into the crawlspace. There might also be something leaking above. The mildew is a symptom of your homes biggest enemy at work: Moisture. Whatever it takes, get the moisture under control or you might find yourself fixing much more than a closet!

MC

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