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Machinc
Machinc, General Contractor
Category: Home Improvement
Satisfied Customers: 888
Experience:  Has written home improvement articles since 2008. Earned South Carolina Residential Builders License in 1991.
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You're awake? It's late! I am researching "Old Building Smell"

Customer Question

You're awake? It's late!
I am researching "Old Building Smell" because I have a horribly smelly master bedroom in my apartment... 2 mold inspectors have said it's not mold but I get headaches in the room...
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Home Improvement
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
OK, I thought this was a "chat room" format. My mistake.
My question is how do I get rid of what they are calling an old building smell - I have no carpeting, all hardwood, building from 1950s. Near beach in Los Angeles. Also, what else could it be? No rats, no feces in attic, some mold in the kitchen ceiling floor and cupboards downstairs but no moisture found upstairs where the bedrooms are and the smells are strongest. If you like and if it's easier you can call my instead of typing -(###) ###-####
Expert:  Machinc replied 1 year ago.
First clean the areas that look like mold.
Expert:  Machinc replied 1 year ago.
Next check tha attic access and make sure no air is being exchanged between the attic and the living area. IE loose fitting attic access door or panel.
Expert:  Machinc replied 1 year ago.
Check the inside of cabinets and closets and clean thoroughly with a disinfectant cleaner.
Expert:  Machinc replied 1 year ago.
If you have a " duct" heating AC system check the duct work as a possible source of the odor.
Expert:  Machinc replied 1 year ago.
Replace the filters and check tha area behind them for sources of odor.
Dead mice / insects / etc.
Expert:  Machinc replied 1 year ago.
When all of this has been done or eliminated as the source painting old surfaces often helps. Clean first /walls and cabinets should be throughly cleaned with a mild detergent before painting.
Expert:  Machinc replied 1 year ago.
When painting cabinets paint the insides also.
Expert:  Machinc replied 1 year ago.
The areas that looked like mold should be cleaned and primed with Kikz
I will provide a link.
Expert:  Machinc replied 1 year ago.
http://m.homedepot.com/p/KILZ-PREMIUM-1-gal-White-Water-Based-Interior-Exterior-Primer-Sealer-and-Stain-Blocker-13941/100371291
Expert:  Machinc replied 1 year ago.
Kilz comes in both oil base and water base.
Match to the paint you will be using.
Expert:  Machinc replied 1 year ago.
http://m.homedepot.com/p/KILZ-ORIGINAL-1-gal-White-Oil-Based-Interior-Primer-Sealer-and-Stain-Blocker-10901/100371321
Expert:  Machinc replied 1 year ago.
The second link (oil based ) is better a blovking odors but the water base is easier clean up,
Expert:  Machinc replied 1 year ago.
Once you have given everything a thorough cleaning and have painted
all questionable areas the odor should be gone.
Expert:  Machinc replied 1 year ago.
When painting the walls remove the switch and outlet covers and check for odors coming out of these areas. Seal any open holes or spaces
Expert:  Machinc replied 1 year ago.
You can use caulk or foam to close these areas.
Expert:  Machinc replied 1 year ago.
In the bedroom check for odors coming behind the ceiling light fixture.
Expert:  Machinc replied 1 year ago.
The bot***** *****ne is
1: thorough cleaning , walls, floors, ceilings, closets and cabinets.
Expert:  Machinc replied 1 year ago.
2: Sealing all openings ( in walls, behind light fixtures and appliances. Attic sbd basement access
Expert:  Machinc replied 1 year ago.
3: clean all duct work, heaters, radiators, replace filters
Expert:  Machinc replied 1 year ago.
4: paint walls , ceilings .
Remove old carpet/ rugs/
carpet pads. Stain floor if exposed hardwood
Expert:  Machinc replied 1 year ago.
With all or some of this you should have eleninated the old house smell.
Expert:  Machinc replied 1 year ago.
I will be glad to answer any questions you may have.
Expert:  Machinc replied 1 year ago.
Another way to start is to have a professional cleaning service clean the entire place. Include washing walls and windows .
Expert:  Machinc replied 1 year ago.
There is no quuck easy fix but rather trial and error with the ideas I have suggested.