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Drywall: stinky when moist

Mold is imminent. Not yet immanent.
  [vote for,

House mold can be problematic. Part of the problem is that it is occult: you do not realize there is a mold problem until it is bad. Moisture in the building materials is what leads to mold. If there were a way to detect moist building materials earlier, antimold interventions could begin early. The same principles apply to gas leaks in the house. To allow early detection and intervention of gas leaks, odorants are added top natural gas.

I propose that an odorant be added to drywall and other mold-prone building materials. This odorant would be detectable only when wet. Perhaps one could encapsulate it in chewing gum-like "flavor crystals" that would dissolve when moist, releasing the odor. The odor should dissipate when the moisture does.

The next question is the odorant. Iodine has a distinct, sharp smell not often encountered in the house. I think an iodine-containing compound would do the trick. This compound would do double duty because iodine is itself a potent antifungus agent and would help to control the mold in the moist area, in addition to alerting homeowners to its presence.

bungston, Mar 21 2007


       Bun. But you need to make sure the stinky crystals are not activated during the installation process, which involves wet plaster and wet paint.
Galbinus_Caeli, Mar 21 2007

       Stinky things tend to be a little toxic. Choose wisely, and keep in mind unusual situations like fires.
GutPunchLullabies, Mar 21 2007

       Surprisingly, most manufacturers of sheet rock apply a mildecide to their product. Contractors can aslo apply permanent mildewcide to their primers and paints....it is very effective and practically so inexpensive as to be "costless"...home owners can specifiy all building materials going into the home be treated...most contractors will charge a bit extra for this...but it is one of the best things a home owner can do. When I as building homes, I always pre-treated the lower half of stud and exterior walls with fungicide, insecticide (oderless) and anti-roach powder (boric acid) to prevent insects from moving in before I was finished...always a problem considering how many insects and mold come in on building materials...silverfish are a particularly nasty problem with insulation. I also sprayed for scorpions and treated all foundations for termite prevention.   

       Most quality builders do the same things.
Blisterbob, Mar 21 2007

       The thing about having guard dogs is that it is great if they fight fiercely, but even better if they bark as well. If a postconstruction antimildew treatment is silently battling the filamentous forces of fungus, there is no way for the homeowner to know how the battle goes, or even that it goes. If you could smell it happening you could bring reinforcements.
bungston, Mar 21 2007

       As the owner of a century-old home, I'd like to have this in blow-in form, like with insulation.
shapu, Mar 21 2007

       [Blisterbob] How much borax do you put in?
nomocrow, Mar 22 2007

       [+] but I wonder whether a large amount of this material would give off a significant "background smell" even when dry (ie, it would have to have a very effective cutoff below normal moisture levels).   

       [Shapu] //As the owner of a century-old home, I'd like to have this in blow-in form, like with insulation.// If your house is that new, it shouldn't be suffering from damp.
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 22 2007

       Shouldn't be, but is. It's got a wood frame with some mold, and a stone foundation; I have an old cellar whose purpose I've never known underneath the front porch - for some reason, this is the only room that the static pressure of the house causes condensation. Multiple layers of oil-based Dry-Lok are worthless against the evil that these water droplets embody.   

       Plus, there's a small squashy spot in some of the basement drywall that may be related to an old flood that occured before I bought the property. But now that it's under four layers of paint and I've kept the place leak free, and in the right light, you can't see it.
shapu, Mar 22 2007

       Well, good luck with that. The solution to many household problems is to buy lower-wattage lightbulbs.   

       <slightly off topic> There was a programme on Radio4 the other day about some bloke who was trying to find where dry-rot originally came from. He tracked it down to somewhere - maybe the himalayas. I'd never really thought of dry-rot fungus as being an alien species which has spread by human activity, but of course it is. Odd to think that a few hundred years ago, it just didn't exist in most parts of the world. </sot>
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 22 2007

       Smells like bread.   


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