Renovate! with Christian Cook

January 22, 2012

Editor’s note: Welcome to Renovate! with Christian Cook. Christian and I have known each other for almost 30 years. He is one of my closest friends. Christian is a Scottville boy and a 1988 graduate of Mason County Central. He and his wife, Crystal, have three amazing and beautiful daughters and live in Hart. They are the owners of Cottage Renovators. Christian has been in building trades since he was a kid. His dad would travel the region repairing burnt homes and Christian spent many seasons helping him. 

In Renovate! Christian will answer questions readers may have about home improvement issues. You may send your emails to Please place “Renovate” in the subject line. 

This page is sponsored by Cottage Renovators:




 I’ve got mold!

Dear Renovate!:

I left for a week to attend my sister’s wedding and when I returned, I opened the door to my bathroom only to discover it had quite a bit of mold. When we rented this apartment I cleaned a small amount of mold out of the corner of this bathroom and thought that I had handled the problem. There are signs of an old ceiling repair. I also have a slight drip from the shower head. Mold makes me very nervous. What should I do?


Before we get too far into your particular bathroom I would like to address a trend in the building industry. We are currently witnessing many products and articles designed to scare people about mold. The big box stores are really pushing Do It Yourself mold items. We can purchase mold free paint, paperless drywall, special cleaners with mold inhibiters, mold test
kits and countless other specialized products to help us win the war on mold. Mold is a problem yes, and it needs to be treated when discovered to insure a healthy house, but just like H1N1 and Y2K this issue means much more to the people selling the solutions than the people who are supposedly at risk. To be clear though, I do regularly use green drywall when remodeling bathrooms, add mold inhibitor to bathroom paint and insist on vent vans to clear steam. These are all cheap insurances which help maintain a healthy room. In the case of a major mold discovery, say in an attic or crawl space genuine mold remediation can be

Now…onto your bathroom. Mold needs moisture to develop. If your drywall is showing signs of stains then moisture is coming from the outside through a leak. However, it doesn’t sound like that is what you wrote. A patched and painted piece of drywall doesn’t assist
mold. Your culprit is probably a combination of the leaking shower and a small closed space.

Not only will a drippy shower have a very real affect on your water bill it will also distribute quite a bit of water vapor into your bathroom. When you are home you probably leave the bathroom door open most of the time which allows that moisture to escape. When you left town for a week and left the bathroom door closed, you trapped all of that moisture in a confined space. I would clean the bathroom with a 50/50 solution of bleach and water or something like 409 with bleach. Be sure to ventilate the room while you work, a fan will do. Asking your landlord to fix the leaky shower and maybe installing a vent fan should solve your

Christian Cook

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