Q&A

Re­mov­ing mold from tim­bers

Timber Home Living - - Contents -

ABEFORE TREAT­ING THE EX­TE­RIOR TIM­BERS, you must first de­ter­mine where the mildew is lo­cated, says Charis Bab­cock, brand man­ager for Sashco, Inc., which spe­cial­izes in wood preser­va­tion and main­te­nance. She sug­gests dip­ping a cot­ton swab in house­hold bleach and ap­ply­ing it to the af­fected area. “If it re­moves the mildew right away, it’s on the sur­face,” she ex­plains. “If it re­moves it, but not for 30 sec­onds or more, it’s un­der the sur­face of the stain or fin­ish.”

To treat mildew that has ac­cu­mu­lated on top of the wood stain, Bab­cock rec­om­mends wash­ing the tim­bers with a sodium per­car­bon­ate cleaner. Sodium per­car­bon­ate dis­solves mildew and helps treat any re­sul­tant dis­col­oration.

If the mildew formed un­derneath the stain, it will re­quire a more com­plex treat­ment. You will first need to re­move the stain, then use a sodium per­car­bon­ate cleaner to elim­i­nate any re­main­ing mildew.

Keep in mind that, when it comes to keep­ing your home in pris­tine shape, pre­ven­tive steps are key. Bab­cock ad­vises start­ing with a qual­ity stain with mildewi­cides that will pre­vent mois­ture from seep­ing into the wood. For tim­bers at a higher risk of ac­cu­mu­lat­ing mildew, use a mildewi­cide ad­di­tive in the fin­ish as well.

Be sure to per­form main­te­nance checks in the spring and fall to test and clean the wood. If you find the tim­bers soak­ing up wa­ter, a touch-up may be nec­es­sary. Also re­move any dirt, pollen, bird drop­pings or sap that may have ac­cu­mu­lated on the tim­bers, as mildew spores can eas­ily at­tach to these con­tam­i­nants, says Bab­cock.

Fi­nally, check for any cracks in the tim­bers. “Any­thing larger than an inch should be sealed with a high-qual­ity wood-spe­cific caulk,” she says. “Any­thing smaller than that should be thor­oughly soaked with the stain or fin­ish. These lit­tle cracks can be high­ways for both mois­ture and in­sects, and keep­ing them sealed will pre­vent prob­lems, as well as pro­long the life of the stain or fin­ish.”

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