Help! Mysterious Brown Stain growing on my wall! Black spores are visible!

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Old 11-09-13, 02:53 PM
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Exclamation Help! Mysterious Brown Stain growing on my wall! Black spores are visible!

I've been cleaning up my room, and renovating it. After I moved my old dresser that's been sitting here ever since we moved in, I discovered this scary looking type of mold/rot!

Does anyone know what this is? Is it dangerous to breathe? Should I call a mold expert? Help! I'm really freaking out over this. I sleep in this room every day and I've been breathing it in ever since this started!

My house was built in 2005, We bought it new, and it's about 9 years old. There are not water pipes to my knowledge running anywhere near this section of the wall. 5 feet to the left, and on the first floor, I know there is a bathroom. Can it be a leaky pipe? If you look to the left of the photo, and to the carpet level, you can see some black spores starting to form!

Here are some closeups of the mysterious stain: Mold? - Imgur

Please help! I'm really paranoid about this. Thank you!!!! I joined the DIY forums soley for this purpose!

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Old 11-09-13, 03:52 PM
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Well, I don't think there is any reason to panic. Is the baseboard soft to the touch? Has the wood deteriorated to the point that you can push a finger through the wood? It definitely looks like water damage. My guess is that a roof vent boot for the bathroom you mentioned has a crack in the seal and is letting in water during rain storms. Is there anyway you can verify the roof vent in relationship to the area of the stain and see if they line up? Is the area currently wet?
 
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Old 11-09-13, 04:20 PM
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Czizzi is probably right on the money. And that baseboard is probably MDF, (which is basically just pressed paper) and it soaks up water like a sponge which would explain the large area of the water damage, and wet MDF would leave a brown stain in the paint just like that. In addition to inspecting the roof vent boot, you will probably need to replace that piece of baseboard... assuming it's soft and punky.

Is the carpet wet at all? Where is the toilet located in relation to this stain?
 
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Old 11-09-13, 04:21 PM
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I tested to see how well it's holding up, I pressed it, it's harder than it's ever been. The structural integrity is 100/100.

I'm confused on the roof vent you are talking about it, My closet, 5 feet to the left, is directly above my downstairs bathroom, and behind said closet is my own bathroom. I know there is a vent for both bathrooms, but it's much too far away to be of any concern. And the inlet for the downstairs bathroom vent is a down facing vent mounted to the exterior wall/ The stain is below a window, and it hasn't rained since Winter 2012, so it's been a while.

I listened through the wall with a stethescope, I hear no dripping, or anything for that matter.

What i really need to know is if the room is safe to inahbit, and to breathe the air. This is basically where i live, and where i sleep.

Thank you for your help. I really appreciate it!
 
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Old 11-09-13, 04:25 PM
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I have 2 bathrooms near my room, one behind my closet's wall 10-15 feet away from the stain, and one directly below my closet, 5 feet from the stain, on the 1st floor. The vent for my 2nd floor bathroom is located on the roof, and the one for the downstairs bathroom is an exterior wall mounted down facing inlet vent. It hasn't rained for quite a while, the last heavy storm we've had was November 2012.

Nothing was wet. The carpet, backboard, and wall were all dry, and the molding's integrity is 100/100, It's hard to the touch.

I just really want to know if it's safe to be in there. I don't want to breathe in mold spores, as i could see some very faint black dots forming.
 
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Old 11-09-13, 04:36 PM
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All I see is the black specks of dirt not mold. And a brown water stain.
Is there a window above that area?
Any animals living in the house?
That's so minor I'd be temped to just prime and paint it and wait and see what happens.
 
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Old 11-09-13, 04:42 PM
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You are probably thinking of a bathroom exhaust fan.... not what we were thinking.

There is also a sewer vent (commonly called a "stack" that is your main ventilation for your toilets, showers, sinks and drains. it's usually a 4" pipe that straight up past the bathrooms and straight up through the roof. The roof boot flashing is rubber and sometimes will "bake" and crack, so that when it rains, water comes into the wall and spreads out on the subfloor, causing a big wet spot. If it hasn't rained there... maybe that's not it.

You say the stain is below a window... and it was behind a dresser. The siding around windows can also be a source of leaks, (especially vinyl siding) so that could be one culprit... but if it hasn't rained... also not likely. Dressers block the warm air from the house, making the baseboard cold. If there happens to be an air leak under the sill plate, there could be a lot of condensation from cold air hitting warm humid air during winter months. That's probably most likely.

To answer your question about safety... quit freaking out. Buy yourself a bottle of tilex, squirt it and wipe it with a wet sponge. That will take care of the problem on the baseboard. If the stain remains, you will need to prime the stain with a stain blocking primer (like B-I-N) before repainting. But if there is an air leak under the baseboard it could possibly reappear someday. Who knows how long it has been there and when it occurred. For all we know, it could be a cat's favorite place to pee!

A picture of this area from the outside of the house- showing the window and the siding- might give us some more clues.
 
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Old 11-09-13, 04:58 PM
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Here are the of the photos you requested.

One of the pictures clearly shows some sort of spores, or dirt. I have no clue.

Mold - Imgur

1st photo is of the "spores" I was talking about.

2nd is the 1st floor bathroom, and exhaust .

3rd - 4th are the exterior windows - the 2nd story window with the blinds closed, but with open slits, is the one below the stain.

5th - 6th are long shots of the stain, and the window.
 
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Old 11-09-13, 05:34 PM
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On both of the 2nd story windows there appears to be an odd colored stain on the EIFS coating, trailing down predominantly from the right side of each 2nd floor window. Not sure if that could be related somehow. Maybe that is just discoloration from runoff from the shutters.

It does make a person wonder where the source of the leak is, though. Perhaps bad flashing over the gutter in that exact spot... a lap in the flashing maybe... could have been there for years.

I agree the spots by the carpet do look like mold spores, so do what i mentioned with the Tilex and sponge. Just spray enough to clean it, don't go bananas and pour the whole bottle there. Once you wet it, the mold spores can't become airborne, so just wipe it up and rinse the sponge away. This is really a minor deal. Mold only grows where there is moisture so if it's been dry for a long time the mold has probably been dormant since the last rain.

After it's clean I'd prime it like I mentioned and then paint it. And like Joe said, wait and see what happens.
 
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Old 11-09-13, 06:35 PM
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Can you hang out the upstairs window and take a picture down onto the cornice and in the corner above the leak area? Looks like a classic place for water to pool. Under a valley on the roof, past gutters that can clog and onto a flat surface that we can not see the top of.
 
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Old 11-09-13, 08:29 PM
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@Xsleeper: The steaks you see coming from the windows are just rust from the wooden panels. Nothing really of concern. It's been there ever since the first year we moved in. I'm not much of a contractor, so I have no clue what a EIFS coating is.

I'll check the roof tomorrow, I don't have access to my 60 foot ladder. It's in storage. I'll pick it up tomorrow.

I picked up some Tilex, like you said, and I thoroughly cleaned it. All those scary looking mold spore things are gone. I bought an air purifier, and I'll run it in my room overnight to clean the air, and maybe get rid of some of the mold spores that already exist.

I checked the seals of both windows, both are still intact. I caulked around them anyway just to be safe.

I'm not that familiar with priming. Any advice?


@czzizzi:
I'll take a picture tomorrow, I'm writing this at night, and a picture would be useless when it's this dark.

Thanks all for your help!
 
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Old 11-09-13, 08:44 PM
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Priming is painting with primer. If you can find the B-I-N product, it is shellac based, and you just paint it on. Buy a disposable brush, unless you want to follow the directions to clean it. The purpose of the B-I-N primer is to seal the stain in so that it does not bleed into the top coat of paint.

After the primer has dried, you can repaint the baseboard with your trim paint. Obviously be careful around the carpet. Using a paint shield to protect the carpet would probably be a good idea.
 
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Old 11-10-13, 04:20 AM
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I would add that if you don't use BIN [pigmented shellac] you at least need to use an oil base primer [like original Kilz] Latex primers won't adequately seal the water stain and will bleed thru sooner if not later.
 
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Old 11-10-13, 06:48 AM
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Latex primers won't adequately seal the water stain and will bleed thru sooner if not later.
I wish Kilz would either improve their latex products or quit making them. I don't know how many times I have sent a helper to get Original Kilz and they come back with Kilz 2 or something similar. Even Kilz Premium is questionable on some stains like cedar tannin. That's why I started just using B-I-N... it always blocks the stain no matter what it is. Although sometimes I give it two coats just to be sure. Like over dark colored stains on a white surface.
 
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