How to Get Rid of Creosote Smell in Basements and Crawl Spaces
Creosote smell in basements and crawl spaces: Many seaside/waterfront homes built in the early 1900s to the 1980s were built using floor joists, beams, posts and sheathing that were treated with creosote, a tar like substance (think of telephone poles) to prevent termite infestations and wood rot. Even years later, when the house has gone through generations of families living there, this treatment can still cause intense odors to permeate throughout the home.
Beware: Creosote doesn’t just smell bad; it also gives off toxic fumes (off-gassing). This off-gassing can leak into living spaces, even seep into heating and cooling air ducts and spread throughout a home, possibly leading to breathing problems, asthma and respiratory infections. It’s an especially big issue for those who already have a health problem or a weakened immune system.
Luckily, there are steps that homeowners can take to get rid of that nasty and potentially harmful creosote off-gassing.
Creosote removal is a daunting if not impossible task … encapsulating creosote-treated framing and sheathing materials is recommended, easier and costs less.
Over the years, I have heard and read about various coating products (even paper!) for creosote encapsulation. Unfortunately the long term efficacy of these products has been dismal, though I must always consider my sample as biased, since homeowners end up contacting me when other products fail.
Creosote encapsulation attempts usually fail due to bad prep, temperature, moisture or back pressure issues … the encapsulation product falls off, peels or even blows off.
While I try to write these blogs from an informative and not a marketing viewpoint, this time I am recommending EnviroShield products to encapsulate creosote simply because they stick … really well. Why they adhere so well is another blog posting.