Steam showers and mold

kalaefJuly 6, 2013

Last night I used my steam shower and noticed a mushroom fungus growing in the corner of the bathroom outside of the shower door. Will I have to have the shower torn out to find and kill the mold? Who do I contact to take care of this? Will I need separate people to kill the mold and rebuild what is torn out? Any idea of costs involved?

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StoneTech

How old is the shower? Is it venilated thoroughly after use? What type of vaporproofing was used in the construction? Any pics?

No way to answer your question until we have more info.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2013 at 11:33AM
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kalaef

Thanks for the response. The shower is in the basement. It was finished and the steam unit put in about 10 years ago. I have a ventilator in the bathroom that I run every time I use it, but I turn it off when I'm done. I leave the shower and bathroom doors open. My basement was flooded about 5 years ago. The drywall was torn out in the main room and bathroom and the mold was dealt with. When they got to the shower there was a lot of mold under the built in bench. The contractor used "green board" and said that should have prevented it, but it didn't. When it was rebuilt, I believe the same materials were used. I will take pictures and send them.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2013 at 12:11PM
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kalaef

The fungus was in the lower left hand corner.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2013 at 12:14PM
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StoneTech

An exhaust vent in the "bathroom" really isn't the same as one in the steam room. Even at that, I sure would use a timer and run the vent another 45 minutes or so after use.

We don't really know what type of vapor containment process was used here, and the requirements for a steam shower are more stringent than that of a regular shower. We're talking vapor dispersion as opposed to just waterproofing.

I'm real concerned about the use of greenboard. This hasn't been "code" for many years. It's nothing more than sheetrock with a waxy film. Put it this way....I won't even use it for a regular shower, much less a steamer.

MUCH depends on exactly how the unit was water/vapor proofed. If all they relied on was greenboard, that is a recipe for eventual disaster....it simply won't hold up.

All my showers use Kerdi or Hydroban. It's a "surface applied membrane" that repels water and vapor.

Truthfully, I see a re-build in your future....but possibly not for a while. Your mold looks marginal and might be remediated with a bleach solution. Not to say that it won't reoccur....but you might be able to "baby" it for a couple of years.

When you're ready to tackle the job, I might suggest you stop in at John Bridge dot com and go to the forums. Ask your questions and we can certainly walk you through the process.

Best O' Luck!

    Bookmark   July 6, 2013 at 3:49PM
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kalaef

Excellent feedback, thank you very much! The person who built it assured me that it did meet code, but I see that was not true. And he should have known that a vent inside the room would be needed, even if there was a vent right outside the door. This is very helpful. Your response gives me a good place to start when talk to someone else. I will treat it with bleach for now and plan for a rebuild in the near future. The room is so soothing after a stressful day, or a workout! I'll visit your website when I get started.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2013 at 5:46PM
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kalaef

Excellent feedback, thank you very much! The person who built it assured me that it did meet code, but I see that was not true. And he should have known that a vent inside the room would be needed, even if there was a vent right outside the door. This is very helpful. Your response gives me a good place to start when talk to someone else. I will treat it with bleach for now and plan for a rebuild in the near future. The room is so soothing after a stressful day, or a workout! I'll visit your website when I get started.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2013 at 5:47PM
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mongoct

Just a little more info regarding the killing of the mold. I recommend you go beyond "bleach".

Bleach is a topical disinfectant. The "bleach part of bleach" doesn't really penetrate into porous materials like grout or wood. For the most part, its polarity causes it to remain on the surface of whatever has been treated. So when you use liquid bleach, it'll kill the visible part of mold or mildew, but it doesn't penetrate in and kill the mold roots. The only part that penetrates is the carrier for the sodium hypochlorite...which is water.

Water presence can actually sustain mold. So if you saturate a porous surface with bleach, you'll kill the surface mold but you are essentially feeding the mold roots within the moldy material.

I recommend that if you want to treat mold you avoid disinfectants or mold killers with "sodium hypochlorite" as the active ingredient.

That's why bleach, chlorine bleach, or sodium hypochlorite are not approved as mold killers when remediation is carried out.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   July 9, 2013 at 2:38PM
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HardonF

Have you tried Jeyes fluid. I had a similar problem on my steam shower and used Jeyes and it got rid of them for at least 3 month (until I had to move house). Be careful though not to breathe in the fumes as it made me feel very ill for two days. Take a look at the mould section half way down this page http://www.divapor.com/steam-room-articles/shower-cleaning.php

    Bookmark   July 18, 2013 at 10:40AM
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