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Air brick inside clothes wardrobe needs filling in -what do I use?

Discussion in 'General DIY' started by Emenia, 17 Dec 2020.

  1. Emenia

    Emenia

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    Hi all, could use some input on this because I'm a bit of a novice and need to make sure I'm using the right tools for the job!

    Our house was built in the 1940s and we've lived there for almost 30 years, and little did we know there was a badly filled-in air brick inside my build-in clothes wardrobe. In recent years I wondered why I had such a bad clothes moth problem and why my clothes smelled fusty.

    The air brick is 6 ft above the floorboards. It is in a contained space consisting of only my clothes wardrobe and bookcase inside my bedroom. Obviously it isn't doing much in the way of ventilation and letting the house breathe given it's in an enclosed space high up on the wall. Photos here.

    It seems the previous people did a bodge job and filled it in from the inside using only plaster, so of course over the years the plaster has deteriorated from the moisture, and crumbled - and has now had an explosion of mould growth that spread all over the walls and ceiling in the upper storage section of my wardrobe. Had to absolutely blitz it with bleach and throw a load of stuff away. (and for anyone asking how I didn't notice for so long - I use the upper level for storage so I couldn't see what was happening till it was too late)

    So needless to say this air brick needs filling in because of its ridiculous location. Now the question is what do I use to seal this bloody thing up for good so that this doesn't happen again?

    It would have to be sealed from the inside as this is an upstairs room. Would it be feasible to scape off all the old stuff, seal it up with repair cement, then re-plaster and paint? Any help and tips would be greatly appreciated. Brands and recommended products especially Thanks! :)
     
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  3. JohnD

    JohnD

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    You say it smells fusty and has mould and damp.

    Don't block it up.

    Open it up.
     
  4. foxhole

    foxhole

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    Agree open it , one reason you have mold on the ceiling, it’s in perfect position.
     
  5. Emenia

    Emenia

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    Guys as I said, it's in my enclosed clothes wardrobe... I appreciate your suggestion but did you not read my post? No way I can have this thing open. It will just ruin my clothes & books and let clothes moths in. I am not opening it up. Just need to know what filling materials (& recommended brands) to use thanks

    Edit: I should probably mention, we recently got a dehumidifier. So humidity should no longer be an issue.
     
    Last edited: 17 Dec 2020
  6. tel765

    tel765

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    OP,
    you've come on here to ask for advice, but then you start prescribing whats what for your condensation difficulties - if you know what to do then why even ask?
    eg. "humidity should no longer be an issue" - thats a foolish statement.
    eg. your proposal to block the air brick - again.
    eg. you lack of basic knowledge ref condensation in a site full of detailed advice and information about condensation.

    Perhaps Click "condensation" in the search facility?
     
  7. foxhole

    foxhole

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    Some people can’t be told .
     
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  8. Nige F

    Nige F

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    :ROFLMAO: he's off again - OP ignore him and if you like look up his aliases - bobasd is a good one ( out of 4 )(y)
     
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  9. Burnerman

    Burnerman

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    Historically, these vents were installed in houses - both local authority and private - from the 1920's to approx the 1960's.
    They were there to provide combustion air to upstairs fireplaces (long before the days of central heating of course.) After the coal fire became redundant, people often resorted to those dreadful paraffin heaters :eek:
    Traditionally, but not always, there was a small square hole above the communicating doors to allow air to pass from room to room....this hole was rarely grilled, just left as it was.
    On later houses - traditionally local authority - these vents appeared in bathrooms in an attempt to provide some sort of ventilation in the absence of extractor fans.
    Naturally they have no real use now and often let a cold gale into the room, chilling the surrounding area, and many have either been removed or blanked off in one way or another. Their removal requires the vent to be cut away and properly filled, but you can get away with just covering it up with a patch and tape, if you want.
    Unfortunately I would doubt if this would do away with your moth problem and I'd suggest that comes from elsewhere.....old floor coverings in the wardrobe, even an infected garment or whatever.
    Allow heat to percolate into the wardrobe by leaving the doors open if you can - air exchange is vital here.
    John :)
     
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  11. Harry Bloomfield

    Harry Bloomfield

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    John (Burnerman) above is the absolutely correct answer. A photo of the vent type would of helped, some were a steel plate, others a ceramic brick. Ideally the vent should be taken out and the hole properly bricked up and plastered if possible, both on the inner and outer leafs of the wall.

    Second best and a temporary fix, would be to seal it with good silicon sealant. All cupboards, especially cupboard on outside walls, need some air flow - So best make sure there is some permanent air flow through the cupboard door.

    I would also suggest any moisture sources (bath, shower, hob) have proper extraction close to them..
     
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  12. Harry Bloomfield

    Harry Bloomfield

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    A dehumidifier in a normal, reasonably set up for ventilation home, which is heated, should not be necessary. I have one, but its only purpose is one of drying clothes in my utility room.
     
  13. Djangobanjo

    Djangobanjo

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    Is this another case of the walls and ceiling needing better insulation? And maybe replace cupboard doors with slatted ones to maximise air flow from warm dry home into cupboard, rather than from the cold damp outside into home?
     
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  14. Emenia

    Emenia

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    Wow no kidding, that guy's toxic as hell...

    Thanks for the help and advice, all. I have pulled away some of the plaster and the board behind it to reveal a very, very rusted old vent cover. Had no idea it was there! Photo: https://i.imgur.com/jmfpP82.jpeg

    Not able to afford any major refittings at the moment so going to see if I can get spacers or something to allow airflow between the wardrobe and the room whilst still keeping it (mostly) closed. I'm of the crafty inclination so can probably make some out of polymer clay without them looking too offensive lol
     
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  15. Burnerman

    Burnerman

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    Certainly, I have uncovered cast iron vents before, but I've no idea what age they were.
    I've lined areas like these with closed cell foam sheets (wickes) to good effect - once you are certain there is no damp.....no more musty smell.
    I'm afraid the moth issue is elsewhere though, so ditch any old carpet that's in there.
    John :)
     
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  16. scbk

    scbk

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    I was going to say that.
    In a previous (rented) house I had a musty cupboard, looking in the loft there was no insulation above the cupboard so I chucked in some offcuts of rockwool, then fitted 2 louvre vents to the door, top and bottom.
     
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  17. sounds to me more like the ‘wardrobe’ is in a ridiculous location .
     
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