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bryce 09-01-2010 06:57 AM

Please give me your opinion
Hi guys if you could give me your opinion based on your experiences i would greatly appreciate it.

I am look at this house to buy, it is just a small bungalow, quiet old. I noticed one room has a very mouldy mildew smell, that the agent says because it hasn't been aired out.

I noticed around the window too smells of mold but the other rooms seem fine. I took some picture from the outside, notice this strange white line around the roof and windows, the agent say she thinks it's paint...

DebbieG 09-01-2010 09:14 AM

Not a professional opinion but the horizontal looks like a chalk line to me? The verticle one is clearly from the old downspout and may just be paint from it rubbing against the house and since that has been re-routed, maybe the horizontal line is from when they were planning the work on the gutters??

bryce 09-01-2010 10:02 AM

It may be paint, it's strange because it's all around the house the top edge and around the entrance ways and windows,
This last pic is the room with a lot of mold. I guess the dark black spots are the mold. I'm guessing this would be a major job to fix? The inside of the room looks perfectly fine.
Why do think the one room is so mouldy? I'm also thinking it may have been a grow op at one time.

bryce 09-01-2010 10:14 AM

here's one from don' you think it the same?

Nestor_Kelebay 09-01-2010 12:33 PM

From what I can see, all those pictures (except the horizontal straight line under the roofline, are "efflorescence".

What happens is that moisture accumulates inside brick walls over the course of the winter as frost. In the spring time, that frost melts and makes it's way to the outside of the wall through the brickwork. As it does, it picks up water soluble clays inside the mortar joints and the brick. When that water reaches the outside surface, the water evaporates and the clays remain behind as a salt deposit on the outside of the bricks.

Take a damp sponge and clean that efflorescence off. If it comes off easily with water, then it's just efflorescence, not mold.

It's very likely that there is mold growing inside the brick walls, and that's because that building was built when heating fuel was cheap and insulation unheard of. So, warm moist indoor air gets into the walls at switch and electrical outlet boxes and into the ceilings at electrical light fixtures and finds it's way into the exterior walls. There it forms condensation in the spring and fall and frost in the winter. That keeps the walls moist, and provides the moisture needed for molds to grow. It also provides the water that causes efflorescence on the exterior of the brick work.

I have no clue what that white line along the roof would be. Efflorescence tends to form blotches on the exterior of the brickwork because the moisture diffuses in every direction as it migrates through the masonary.

That pic from looks like efflorescence to me as well. The way to tell is to see if that white stuff cleans off easily with water. If it does, it's not mold, but water soluble salts. Also, I can't imagine mold falling off the wall and accumulating on the ground like that. I can see salts doing that, but if mold dies and falls from where it's growing, you'd expect it to change colour as it rots (at least).

Here's a picture of efflorescence:

I can't see how the picture from differs significantly from the picture of efflorescence. Go to Google Images, and you can find lots of pictures of efflorescence.

Efflorescence really doesn't do any harm to the brickwork. However, it definitely indicates that moisture is migrating through the brickwork, and whether or not the mold smell is associated with that moisture is something that you can't say unless the worst efflorescence occurs around the areas of the building with the worst smell.

bryce 09-01-2010 12:59 PM

Hi Nestor, that's a great reply thanks.

What your saying is that it an efflorescence (a salt not mold) but it's an indications of a water damage and mold near by.

I called up the local division and in 1998 sure enough there was somesort of marijuana bust. Can't say for sure but my guess is that one room was used for that.
I'm thinking too that line around the roof would be caused by a leaking roof and the water just dripping out along the inside of the roof and down the side of the house? might cause that. Or perhaps the whole house was a grow op and that what is causing the unual efflorescence line....

inspectorD 09-01-2010 01:23 PM

In My professional opinion from the's all paint.

Effloressence does not create a straight line anywhere, it migrates and gives flows.
This is an old house which used to have wood trim. The trim was removed and the gutters where changed. New soffits of vynil and metal fascias where also installed. The old gutters where painted, then rerouted as there is still a bracket attached to the brick, as already suggested.
You are seeing a sloppy paint job around old windows , old lined brick where someone tried to wipe it off the brick,and trimwork is all I see.

Mold inspector pic is effloresence, no doubt.

As for the mold? There is a leak somewhere, could be a roof leak , a pipe leak inside the house , or just a ton of humidity not getting out.
Get a Home Inspection, American Society of Home Inspectors, ASHI, and stick with that realtor, she has been around.:)

slownsteady 09-01-2010 02:42 PM

You seem to be asking two different questions; because nothing on the outside of a brick wall is going to cause a moldy odor on the inside of the house. The moldy smell isn't related to the paint/chalk/efflorescence.

Look inside for signs of moisture in the walls or ceiling. If you see signs of new drywall installation, that may be a tip-off of previous water damage. Unfortunately, it won't tell you if the repair was properly done or if it's a coverup. Possibly a home inspector can tell.

Nestor_Kelebay 09-01-2010 04:51 PM

I don't believe any of that white stuff is mold. I have trouble believing anyone would be so sloppy as to leave a straight line of paint along the brick work simply because they couldn't be bothered to cut in more carefully.

But, as Bryce correctly concluded, efflorescence is proof that there's H2O in one form or another getting inside those walls, and that may be the cause of the moldy smell. However, it's common to have air infiltration into the walls of older homes. Years ago no one was concerned about energy efficiency as they are now, so older houses weren't built air-tight like they are today.

The efflorescence (if that's what it is) isn't doing any harm from the appearance of the brick. There's no spalling that I can see, and so there's been no freeze thaw damage to the brickwork from the moisture so far, and that tells me that the moisture getting into the walls is in the form of humidity, and isn't water, such as a roof leak or from rain getting in from the outside. Water that goes into masonary under pressure will result in a higher water saturation in the masonary, and that higher water saturation will result in damage (spalling) or cracked bricks when that water freezes.

Bryce: In this same "General Home Improvement Discussion" forum, go to the bottom of this first page (or top of the next page) and look for a thread started by MikeHolmesFan entitled "Mold Removal". You would do well to read over that thread and the reference I cite in my post in that thread.

oldognewtrick 09-01-2010 05:25 PM

In the first picture I'm seeing a paint line along what use to be a freeze board that was removed when the soffits were redone. You can see an old down pipe bracket where an old down pipe was attached to the wall that is now rerouted to the other gutter. So I'm agreeing with InspecterD on this.

Be sure to check the plumbing. Old houses have cast iron that will rust out and allow fumes or odors to enter the house.

Nestor, some people just plain can't paint worth a diddly you know what.

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