<%@LANGUAGE="JAVASCRIPT" CODEPAGE="1252"%> Mold Remediation - Moisture, Efflorescence, Sealing of Garage Floor





Garage Moisture


One day in August, I opened the door to the garage and was literally unable to see the windows at the top of the garage doors.  The place smelled like a fish market and was so steamy that visibility was really limited.

The mold had been overwhelming.  I had been dislocated by the chaos of flooding and restoration; and I was often disoriented and too tired to focus.  The conditions under the house and in the garage just did not have my attention in the first months in the house.

Moreover, despite the thousands of dollars paid to various building and air quality consultants, no one seemed to take the garage situation seriously.  There was a report commissioned by my own insurance company stating there was efflorescence, but not dotting the "i's" and crossing the "t's" in a way that made it clear that this is because moisture is pushing particulates to the surface, meaning either that the vapor barrier was failing or did not perhaps exist.

I became more and more observant and realized that in addition to constant accumulations of "concrete dust and powders," there was also occasional but not lasting puddling of water, giving the concrete a mottled appearance, like a slab that never cured.

A few months ago, I decided to conquer my office, make it a usable space.  In April last year, I had already removed all the carpeting because it did not smell good.  A few months later, I removed all the furniture and painted the walls, but the wall contiguous to the garage remained tacky to the touch for days.  I realized I could not go any further in the indoor space without tackling the garage.

Several mutually exclusive recommendations had been made by contractors and "experts".  These ranged from using a jack hammer to remove the slab to sealing the concrete from the top.  The people with whom I spoke admitted they had limited experience with the various products on the market (I had tried one five years ago, but it failed.)  Unfortunately, none of the local contractors with whom I spoke inspired much confidence so I began a web search and ended up at solvingconcreteproblems.com.  Grant Loyd, the owner of the site, was very sure of his product as well as helpful in a number of other ways.

He said his sealant will penetrate down as much as four inches.  As it does so, it forces loose materials to the surface.  He was absolutely right.  As the sealant dried and floor began to have a slightly more even appearance (something not promised), the floor became totally dusty, more and more so for days.  I filled many dust pans with all that I swept up.

This sealant is almost odorless, well, it probably is odorless but there is a smell of wet concrete for several days after application.

This picture is, of course, boring, but it shows a floor that has patches of very moist areas interspersed with some that are less damp.
The back corner where a previous attempt to seal with a product recommended by Home Depot failed.  The two black puddles are visible.  According to the information imparted at the mold seminar, mold does not really grow "in" concrete, but it grows "on" particulates touching concrete.  Usually, it is penicillium that grows on concrete.

This is simply the preparation for the sealing.

The green garage sealant was removed using a natural orange stripping agent and TKO Orange.

This is one of the few places in the garage where the drywall actually touches the slab.  There was mold growing up the wall for about 18 inches. 

Efflorescence can also be clearly seen on the floor where the moisture has been pushing its way to the surface.

Retrospective Assessment

My problem has been that the two areas with the most moisture are also the two that happen to be directly involved with the HVAC system.  There are ducts in the crawl space and the furnace is in the garage.  I ran an experiment in which I put a single drop of citrus oil on the floor in the garage to see how long it would take to smell this in the house.  The room closest to the garage, where my computer is, was the first where I could detect the citrus oil, in less than 30 seconds.  It took 2-3 minutes before the oils could be detected upstairs.

I had told all the various contractors and inspectors who came to the house that the absolute worst air in the whole house was near my computer, so bad that I have occasionally had to move the computer, but eventually I have to return to the desk because so much of the house is non-functional that only one room has space for the printer and peripherals.

The two black puddles of standing water that were found in the garage were on the back side of the wall behind the computer.  This makes one feel very dull witted.

When the water was removed, the concrete disinfected and sealed, the odor stopped.  In fact, it stopped so much that I can imagine an end to the remediation process.  Next week, I am going to put down new flooring in the disassembled office.  If all goes well, the process of replacing contaminated materials with healthy ones will be continued.


Some of the visitors to this site have been sharing their stories.  One particularly poignant story came from someone who works in place where some moldy newspaper was found in a planter.  Besides the mold problems, she became ghastly sensitive to news print.

I understand totally.  When toxic chemicals were used in the remediation of the crawl space, I became so sensitive to plastic that I couldn't stand the smell of my computer keyboard or mouse!

Ingrid Naiman
16 February 2006

Update:  The sensitivity to the smell of plastic passed after a few months and the odor no longer affects me in the same way.  Several more applications of the sealant were applied and finally in October-November, the floor seemed to be dry.  We then applied an epoxy sealant on top of the penetrating one. 

7 December 2006

Continued on next page

Hidden Mold in Crawl Space || Installation of Crawl Space Encapsulation

Sacred Medicine Sanctuary



Notice:  The material on this site is based on the personal experiences and research of Ingrid Naiman, the site owner.  While every effort has been made to present accurate information, neither the site owner or web service provider claim the material will prevent or cure any medical condition, and no responsibility for the application of the information on this site is assumed by the any of the parties providing the content on this site.  None of the statements made on the site are intended to replace the services of health care or mold professionals.

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