Wednesday, November 21, 2012

On Copper Roofs and Trusting Life

The past couple of weeks have been quite a challenge on the building forefront. What we are dealing with is my lack of knowledge and the excessive amounts of moisture in our current environment.

It all began with a bad decision. I wrapped the house in tarps to keep it dry. Well, as it turns out that wasn't the best choice when the weather got rainy. Instead it held the moisture inside, which you would think would be obvious to see. But it is one of those situations where when you are “in it” it is challenging to step back and realize what is actually going on.

So I made a mistake. The walls got very moldy inside and out, and now I get to deal with it. Though there seems to be a problem with the specific plywood that was used…

The first attempt we made to rid the environment of mold, was to spray and wipe the walls with 100% bleach (with vapor respirators of course), which was disgusting. Then move the trailer (house) to another location, where it can stay out of the rain with air movement on all sides. These actions made me feel much, much better.

But the mold was back in less than a week.... worse than before - a white fuzz coating the body of the trailer. This sent me towards despair! I am putting all my energy, love, hope and money in to this house and what do I get? Mold? I know I am getting much more than that, but sometimes it is hard to see.

I have learned something sense then. Bleach is not efficient at killing mold on porous surfaces. Because mold sends spores deep in the material and the ion structure of sodium hypochlorite (bleach) does not allow it to penetrate porous surfaces. So when you put bleach on mold - which is on a porous surface, the bleach part of the solution sits on the surface and the water part soaks into the wood, actually encouraging the mold to grow.

Instead we will use vinegar which seeps in to porous materials and kills 82% of molds. So keep your fingers crossed we are dealing with the "right" mold!

Plan #2. Seal the windows and doors, dry the trailer out using a dehumidifier, a heater and a fan. Spray the dry interior with vinegar and wipe it down. Dry the house again. Paint the interior with Kilz primer with a mold-icide additive. Then do the same process on the exterior using a heat gun and working in patches.

I have been realizing recently that rest is important. So today while waiting for the trailer to dry out we decided to head to Seattle and gallivant around architectural salvage warehouses! But we took the wrong exit off the freeway and got a bit lost. My dad saw a sign for a sheet metal and roofing company. And being who he is, he decides we are going in.

Long story short, we meet a really nice guy named Nick who has been in the sheet metal business for thirty years and really likes our projects. He offered to help me build whatever kind of roof I would like... for the cost of materials! He encouraged me to stick with my ultimate goal of using copper – but this might have to change since copper is very expensive right now. My mind is spinning with ideas!

Here's to wrong turns and trusting life!




  1. Hey Celina,
    Enjoying the ride as usual. I am learning as you go! I am guessing you had to do a lot of research on mold and how to combat it in a non-toxic way.
    Thank you for giving and teaching us, it's wonder-full. xojody

  2. Wow! So sorry about the mold ninja attacking you so vigorously. I'm sure you'll win out in the end. Maybe there'll be a big crash in the metals market right about the time you get ready to purchase copper for your roof? LOL I'm hoping everything works out for the best. Keep on truckiing.

  3. I am so sorry you are having to experience this. What a great lesson though. I mean, expensive, perhaps, and a little expensive (both time and money) indeed. But your home will be better for it. Keep your chin up and stay committed. As for the copper? What goes up MUST come down. Just keep your ear to the ground. It may dip sooner than we think.

  4. Sorry to hear of your mold challenge, I'm sure you will be victorious, On the metal roof subject, something you may not have thought of is "Copper Look" metal roofing, some of them look very close to copper, of course they will never go patina green if that is what you are utimately after, I like the look of a copper roof and that is what I am going to go with, "Copper Look" that is, considerably less money than true copper. Best Of Luck On Your Wonderful Journey! Mark

  5. How’re things doing now? Any updates on your trailer? It’ll be good to get some help when you can. Happy New Year, though!

    - Cody Charlebois -

  6. I do hope that you decided to use a copper or metal roof. These kinds of roofing materials provide lots of advantages for homeowners. For one, they are sturdy and can last long. And metals do not encourage mold growth or formation.

    1. Thanks for the note, I have decided on galvanized steel (its quite a bit cheeper). : )

  7. Copper roofs are beautiful but they can be very expensive. There’s no need to worry though, as there are alternatives to choose from. There’s the liquid polymer roofing system, which is equally attractive but less costly. You can find out more of your options when you consult with your roofing contractor. Anyhow, good luck with the new roof (copper or not), and cheers to life!

  8. Thanks for the marvelous posting ! I definitely enjoyed reading it, you might be a great author.I will make sure to bookmark your blog. I want to encourage you to definitely continue your great job and this information will help to all.Thank you for the needed information.

    Jones Rofing

  9. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  10. Celina:
    I notice you're using Clorox© (5% Sodium hypochlorite (a pale-green, crystalline compound, NaOCl, unstable in air, soluble in cold water, decomposes in hot water: used as a bleaching agent for paper and textiles, in water purification, in household use, and as a fungicide.) aqueous solution), spraying it on w/ a hand-held, trigger, bottle sprayer. Instead, if you still decide to use it, which I don’t recommend (See MOLDEX® below), use copious amts. of the Clorox© on a paint roller tool (e.g., using a med. nap (the short fuzzy ends of fibers on the surface of cloth (or paint roller cover)) roller cover w/ a plastic core (e.g., Discard the roller cover afterwards. Thoroughly clean the roller tool min. 3X w/ water. Allow to dry in air (Might spray w/ WD40 to preserve metal). After applying the Clorox©, brush scrub the surface(s) with an all-plastic, Nylon brush (e.g., OR DO NOT USE A 'STRAW' COMPOSED BRUSH IN A WOODEN HANDLE (chlorine reacts w/ wood (Sp. lignin (See sodium hypochlorite above) making the wood 'mushy'). Use an adjustable, trigger hose knozzle (e.g., set to very coarse spray to rinse the wood sheathing thoroughly (If you leave the 'chlorine' on the wood it will disintegrate more than it should). DO NOT BRUSH THE WOOD AGAIN BUT ONLY SPRAY IT.

    Strongly suggest using this => MOLDEX®:
    Envirocare Corp. ( More than just mildew stain remover, Moldex is an EPA registered disinfectant, sanitizer, and cleaner designed specifically for mold remediation and flood damaged restoration projects (Notice the product class from the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) is a quaternary ammonium compound having chlorine just as Clorox© does. Moldex disinfectant cleaner is also approved for hospital sanitizing purposes. It is engineered to ensure disinfecting, sanitizing, cleaning, and deodorizing proficiency. 64 oz. container makes 16 gal. of solution. Refer to model No. 5010 or 5011 (California) for ready-to-use formulas. (MSDS – MOLDEX®

    After mold remediation, THOROUGHLY DRY the wood. Your method is EXACTLY what a remediation company would do and use – heat, dehumification, air circulation. However, securely tarp the “Tiny Abode” exterior w/ the machines running (Your expressed climate must not infiltrate the ‘contained’ Tiny Abode; no need to try to remove the water from your climate (;>} ); this’ll take care of the exterior & interior simultaneously. Rent/get a humidity meter (e.g., to test the wood for water/moisture content (M.C.) all during the drying. I cannot remember what the M.C. needs to be at/under but you can get with your Extension Service for a possible answer (Mine is at Might also check a plywood mfg. (Georgia Pacific, “Veneers are taken from the clipper to a veneer dryer where they are dried to moisture contents that range from around 1 to 15 percent, dry basis.” Ref. (Lumber is usually kiln dried to 15% M.C. preventing warp).

    More later… ?

    dCb (