Monday, December 1, 2008

Building the Vardo: Dealing with dampness

Ah, the sun's out and the sky I see from the kitchenette is baby blue. It's been a long stretch of rain and sogginess. We thought (the best laid plans...) we would be further along, avoiding the challenges of working with the change of season and winter weather conditions. Auwe, alas, today we are assessing how to procede with the dampness. We've posted our progress and building steps to get VARDOFORTWO to her current state, and for this point forward the posts will all be 'BUILDING the Vardo" in real-time fashion.

A quick summary. Here's where we are on building:

  1. All four sides are framed in white oak and reinforced with metal wind sheer.
  2. The base of the Vardo is sealed with sheet metal.
  3. The two wheel wells are flashed and sealed.
  4. TuTuff moisture barrier surrounds the four walls.
  5. 3 of the 4 walls (all but the front) are complete: sided with white oak tongue and groove, caulked, milk-painted and beeswax sealed.
  6. The 4 windows are installed, caulked, painted(on the outside) and trimmed. The brass latches inside are fixed.
  7. The base of the vardo is insulated with foam board (but it will be removed before we lay the floor) and replaced with ???probably the denim.
  8. The ceiling boards/base roof --also white tongue and groove--are in.
  9. The cross beams of the ceiling (the ribbing above) have been reinforced with custom fitted plates. A step Pete found necessary after VARDOFORTWO sat for a few weeks.
  10. (see photo above)
  11. Roof insulation, moisture barrier of Denny Foil and TuTuff encase denim insulation.
  12. A skin of birch plywood is attached, caulked and waxed over the insulation.
  13. The decorative corner wall trim is in place, painted and waxed.
  14. Electrical boxes are in place on the front outside wall, and inside walls.
Here are the challenges and questions we face now:

1. The front door is not ready yet, so the dampness fills the inside.

(see the photo above)

Pete's got a heater inside today warming things up. Dehumidifier??

2. Mold. Pete found mold starting to grow on the exposed edge of the birch plywood in the roof.

I researched and found a couple products that sounded like acceptable and mcs-safe options.
We went with an enzyme-based mold solution called Spori CLEAN. The website offered information and a FQA section that didn't set off any red lights for me. (no ingredients that are on the toxic lists). Pete spoke at length with the creator of Spori CLEAN, and found him kind, understanding and aware of multiple chemical sensitivities. He said he sells a lot of his product to people in Washington and Hawaii (where mold is an ever-present reality).

Pete used Spori CLEAN to clean the shower stall. The product is very concentrated and when diluted still has a very lemony smell that I don't particularly like. I stayed away when it was 'working' to eat up the mold, and Pete washed it off with a baking soda and water wipe.

It does the job, and after a week there is no mold and no residual smell.

Pete went after the mold on the roof, followed the directions on the bottle. To make sure the wood was dry he bought a hair-dryer and dried the wood off, then caulked the edges and sealed with beeswax.
I hear the saw cutting siding for the front wall, and notice puffy clouds have moved in. Time to say 'a hui hou.'
Have any experiences with mold and solutions that work for you?

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