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by Home User, Jun 26, 2012

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Q: Help, we have brown patches on an inside wall with pine panelling.

Hi Matt, I wonder if you could help me. We have brown and sometimes damp feeling patches on an end wall, covered with pine wood boards, in our little boy's room.

We have tried too see if there were any leaks from the chimney breast too see if water was running down the inside of the wall, but it is all dry and we've vented to the roof.

But we are still having no joy - we also used a waterproof spray onto the outside of the pine, but we still have the damp patches. Could you please help?

Matt Long profile image

by Matt Long, Jun 27, 2012

A: Hi there, sorry to hear you are having such difficulties. Mould is a very serious problem as it can effect people's health. And, with it being your son's room, you should tackle this as soon as possible.

It sounds to me like the most likely cause of the problem is a build up of condensation, with the timber being a natural place for the associated mould to grow.

This is most often caused by inadequate ventilation in the room, allowing a build up of water vapour in the air, which then condenses onto cool surfaces, such as walls. This then allows mould spores to settle and grow.

And wood panels are more often subject to mould growing on them, because timber can absorb moisture and, as a natural material, is particularly susceptible to mould.

I'm also assuming it's condensation because you've looked behind the pine boards, and found no damp patches, or running water.

To fix the problem you need to dry out the air in the room, and remove the mould from the timber.

To dry out the room, make sure the windows are left open regularly, or you could use a dehumidifier. If you have uPVC windows, you can fit them with vents, to let air circulate.

As far as the panelling goes, you will have to work very hard to get the timber up to scratch, how you've had mould on them.

You'll need to scrub them with a weak bleach solution, which you'll have to let soak in to the timber, as the mould will have penetrated the timber surface. (Take proper safety precautions when using a bleach solution like this. Wear protective clothing and eye wear.)

This could well discolour the timber, unfortunately.  Also, you may have a problem cleaning them properly because of the treatment you've already put on them.

It's possible the gap between the timber and the wall is a hotspot for condensation, too, and the mould might be coming through the timber.

So, overall, if I were in your situation, I would remove the panelling altogether, as even though you might treat the surface, you could have mould growing behind the panels, affecting the room.

It sounds a bit extreme, but with it being your son's room, it is better to be safe than sorry.

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