07:19PM | 09/27/08
Member Since: 09/26/08
1 lifetime posts
In my basement, there is a white fluffy substance growing in the mortar between bricks of my fireplace that flakes off easily and comes back after bleach is applied. Is this mold, toxic? How to get rid of it? The fireplace has been under water many times.



05:53PM | 10/07/08
Member Since: 03/03/05
273 lifetime posts
Without lab tests I cannot confirm, but I can state from past experience it seems like mold. The last time I came across that type of mold, it was in a cellar that was exposed to sewage and stayed wet for a few days before being pumped out. I remember we took a tape lift sample from the area. The client stated he tried to clean it with bleach but within a few days it grew back. Some molds in mortar can be tricky to kill.

The words toxic and mold together are mainly used as scare tactics. Again, without testing the type of mold cannot be determined. I'd have to look through my files to see which mold it was, but it may not be the same as your mold.

No matter what you should contact a mold specialist in your area. If you have mold growing, you most likely have spores in the air which also should be killed.

Bleach will not kill the root system of the mold, which is evident by your mold growing back.

If you are in the Boston area, I would be more than happy to help, free of charge.


03:37AM | 10/27/08
Member Since: 05/28/08
4 lifetime posts
Mold needs two things to grow: moisture and organic matter.

Although it is virtually impossible to keep your basement free from any organic compound, it is possible to control the other thing that is keeping it alive: humidity.

Mold needs at least 60% (some people say 50%) of relative humidity in the air to be able to grow.

So, if your basement leaks of floods, (You said the fireplace was under water at some point?) waterproof it.

If it is not leaking, you are probably dealing with condensation, or there would be no mold in the area.

The truth is, no matter how many times you clean or kill it. If there is moisture, it will grow back. Or some other species will appear and take over.

I'd suggest you install a good basement dehumidifier. That will help you keep the humidity levels below the 60% that molds need to live.

When you eliminate the moisture, the mold will not die, but will lay dormant and no longer release spores.

You can then proceed to kill colonies if you wish but it will no longer be that huge problem.

King Volcano is correct when he says mold and toxic are words usually put together to scare folks. Not all species of house mold are toxic. However, some people (like one of my kids) are allergic to any kind of mold spores. Even the non-toxic ones.

Truth is, mold is never a good thing to have around.


10:19PM | 04/15/14
It's called efflorescence . Efflorescence is a crystaline deposit on surfaces of masonry, stucco or concrete. It is whitish in appear­ance, and is sometimes referred to as "whiskers". Efflorescence has been a problem for many years, and is a topic of much controversy. The formation of these salt deposits are not mysteries. They are, for the most part, water-soluble salts that come from many possible sources to mar and detract from an other­wise beautiful and serviceable structure


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