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How do I encapsulate CREOSOTE soaked joists/beams? ?

How do I encapsulate CREOSOTE soaked joists/beams? ?


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Old 02-12-22, 12:51 PM
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How do I encapsulate CREOSOTE soaked joists/beams? ?

We purchased this home just a few months ago. When I initially walked in the house, I thought I smelled moth balls. Then after we bought the house, I began to think it smelled more like oil heat (like I had smelled in my grandparents home as a child). We now have found out that there is a gigantic creosote soaked beam under the living room (which is a very large room, about 28' x 28'). I cant take the smell. It's very strong in this room, and even the air blowing through the vents when the HVAC is running smells of it. My husband crawled under there today to look and in addition to beam being solid black and soaked/coated, he said it appears that the substance was sprayed on the surrounding joists as well.

How in the world can we deal with this? I have read about a product called "Enviroshield / CreoShield". Is anyone familiar with this product? If not this, can you suggest something that would work? I'm wondering if we can seal the beam/joists/ floor from the bottom and if so what to use to do that.

Also, my husband is suggesting that maybe we need to pull up the carpet in the room above this beam and put some sort of sealant on the subfloor to try to seal from the top.

And what about the HVAC duct work? Is the crawlspace air just getting into the ductwork and if we can encapsulate the source of the smell, that will stop? Or do we need to replace the ductwork completely? (we had them cleaned when we first moved in). Or do we need to seal the vents off and instead get a split unit for the room?

Any help or advice is much appreciated!!
 
  #2  
Old 02-12-22, 01:57 PM
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Honestly, if your house is constructed that way and it bothers you that much... think about moving. Encapsulation can be done but it's difficult (expensive) and needs to be done thoroughly (expensive) to be effective. You are talking about somehow creating a air tight barrier between the structure of your home and the interior, no small feat.
 
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Old 02-12-22, 02:02 PM
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How old is the house ?

Cresote has been banned for many years as a carcinogenic and I have never seen it used inside a home. That should have been in the home inspection.
 
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Old 02-12-22, 02:24 PM
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PJmax / Pete - the house was built in 1963. I too, am very upset that the home inspector didn't at least point it out. It is what it is at this point,

Pilot Dane, we don't want to sell it, we LOVE the location, so I'm just reaching out to see if there are any solutions to try.
 
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Old 02-12-22, 02:51 PM
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I can recognize that smell immediately as I had a many railroad tie walls that I had recoated with creosote in the past. That product you linked to encapsulates the wood to keep the smell in. I've never used it but the reviews look good.

Enviroshield

 
  #6  
Old 02-13-22, 03:06 AM
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Is this beam in a crawlspace or a basement?
About 50 yrs ago I got paid big bucks to crawl under a house and spray all the floor joists with creosote as an insect prevention.
Applying 1-2 liberal coats of a pigmented shellac [BIN] over the beam should lock in the odor.

btw - welcome to the forums!
 
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Old 02-13-22, 05:16 AM
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Is this beam in a crawlspace or a basement?
If a crawl space then you could look at making sure your floors are fully air sealed and insulated and vent the crawl space to lower the off gassing!
 
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Old 08-23-22, 02:28 PM
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Were you able to solve this issue? Dealing with exactly the same issue
 
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Old 08-23-22, 05:58 PM
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I have been on jobs after there has been a fire. Typically they remove all the drywall and coat all the framing with a sealer so the smoke smell cannot continue to come out of the wood. I do not know what it was called but I just Googled "sealing framing members after a fire" and found some interesting reading.
 
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Old 08-24-22, 02:37 AM
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I've done a handful of fire jobs but none in the last 30 yrs or so. We used to always use pigmented shellac. When Kilz came along we used it on some jobs and it seemed to be as effective. The main thing is to spray a liberal coat on all porous substrates. The general rule was all surfaces that couldn't be cleaned and weren't replaced would get coated with pigmented shellac. Failure to coat all the porous surfaces could result in the smoke/fire smell returning especially during times of high humidity.
 
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Old 09-28-22, 09:05 PM
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Same

Sbrady and Joyauburn
Whatd you end up doing? Im in the exact same situation. Creosote treated wood support beams and joists under the home in the foundation.
Did you do the encapsulation?
 
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Old 10-09-22, 07:59 AM
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Jillian after lots of research and reading through forums, I think I've decided to remove the batt insulation under the floor (which some person decided to seal the bottom of underneath with poly which is just forcing the smell up. Then I'm going to let it air out for a week or so and then find some willing painter to go under and spray the joists with the pigmented BIN shellac, then installing crawl space fans in opposite sides to create negative pressure to hopefully force any odors out instead of up/through any leaks in HVAC (even though it's now brand new). I'm then having the soil and walls lined with poly but keeping those exhaust fans going. If necessary then I will put a dehumidifier in drawing through the one vent we are keeping open for a little positive pressure replacement. I'll let you know how it goes. What's crazy is the humidity and temperature has dropped lately and there is absolutely no smell. But we are doing this anyway because I'm certain it will return. I hope this works...so tired of reading about solutions to this problem.
 
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Old 10-09-22, 09:32 AM
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.
What's crazy is the humidity and temperature has dropped lately and there is absolutely no smell.
Most odors appear stronger during high humidity.
Wish you luck finding a painter willing to spray BIN in close quarters. The ones that stay busy will prefer to turn that job down.
 
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Old 10-31-22, 10:15 AM
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Joyaburn,
Would love to hear how it goes! We decided on an encapsulation company and a week after the job, the smell in the house has not changed at all. 10k down the drain!
 
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Old 11-11-22, 10:02 AM
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JillianT23

So sorry! What type of encapsulation did you do?

We have had high humidity, the smell has been bad again. We removed the poly/batt insulation from under the joists and the smell is now more in the crawl of course, but hoping that once we put in the fans it will exhaust it out. Then planning to have painter spray the BIN Shellac on the underside of the joists and beams. Have been concerned it will just push it up through the hardwood (which is in perfect condition). After that we are lining the floor and walls with poly but keeping the fans and keeping one other vent open for make-up air.

My biggest concern with a 100 year old house was smell but they sold it during a time of low humidity and it just didn't smell. We feel extremely taken advantage of.
 
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Old 11-11-22, 10:08 AM
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Sbrady - what did you end up doing?
 
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Old 12-01-22, 08:03 PM
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Update: sprayed 2 coats of BIN pigmented shellac and a top coat as suggested by forums and Rust-Oleum saying it was more than substantial. Were very hopeful for a week and now it smells possibly the strongest I have ever smelled here. We have POURED money into this historic house and at this point I can't live here with this smell. How have people lived here for 100 years like this?! Am I missing anything? How is this possible that this smells this strong after 100 years?! I've prayed for an answer and I don't have any other ideas. Florida has no disclosure requirements legally. Shame on this system. This is a disaster.
 
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Old 12-02-22, 02:39 AM
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Some folks are more susceptible to odors than others.
Fresh air ventilation is always the best way to remove odors from a home.
Does your crawlspace have adequate ventilation? [fans can help push out the odor] Laying plastic on the ground might help reduce the humidity in the crawlspace.
 
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Old 12-02-22, 06:59 AM
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[fans can help push out the odor
Blowing air into the crawl space will help push the odor from that area but could also push it into the living space above. Although it may be less efficient from an airflow perspective, pulling air from the crawl space will also put it under a negative pressure so odors will not migrate to living spaces.

In both cases there needs to be an adequate opening in the crawl space enclosure to allow free air flow in or out depending on fan direction.
 
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Old 12-02-22, 07:34 AM
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I didn't mean for air to be pushed into the crawlspace but rather a fan set at the access opening to draw air out.
 
2john02458 voted this post useful.
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Old 12-02-22, 09:09 AM
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Mark is right on - set the fan up to blow air out of that space and then air will flow from the house into the crawlspace instead of vice-versa. This is basically the same concept as what a radon mitigation system does for the space beneath the slab.
 
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Old 12-15-22, 06:14 PM
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Thanks for helping

Not sure why I'm not getting alerts to replies, but found my way back here.

To recent posters, thank you!....that's exactly what we have done. First step: remove batt joist insulation that had poly on the bottom, sealing in moisture. Then let it air out. Second: painter sprayed 2 coats of the BIN pigmented shellac and a top coat based on the corporate Rust-Oleum tech support. Third:. Installed (2) exhaust fans in main and (1) fan in smaller separate crawl. 240 cm each fan which should provide 13ish ACH. Smell got much better. All other vents were still open. Trying to create negative pressure so Fourth: in process of sealing floor and walls with 10 mil poly but keeping exhaust fans taped to flanges and one small vent open for makeup air. Smell has increased again. Did I make a mistake putting down poly? Everything that I know (in custom home building in a different city than our residence) is that this would help seal odors and force out through fan exhaust vents. The only other thing I have in my arsenal after this step is completed is to add a dehu with pump to pipe out water to lower humidity in the crawl. We are WAY past the point of selling the house because we have dumped so much money on the renovation of this historic house we would lose a lot in current market. Anything I'm missing?

**Also anyone know how I can get email notifications when there is a reply??

Thanks!
 
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Old 12-16-22, 02:48 AM
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I haven't done so in a long time but you should be able to subscribe to a thread thru the box at the top of this page.

A dehumidifier might help. I know if smoke isn't encapsulated well the odor can return during periods of high humidity.
 
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Old 03-01-23, 05:58 AM
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UPDATE to our situation:

Joyauburn & JillianT23 - We decided that trying to spray or treat the beams just really was not possible in our house. The crawl space where these multiple beams are is extremely tight (I originally thought it was just one, but there are several, and it's also on the bottom of all the joists). Trying to maneuver in there to cover all that with something would be extremely difficult, if not impossible. My husband is generally willing to do anything in the world to make me happy, but he said that painting those beams and joists was just not a viable solution.

So then we consulted with someone who installs "EZ Breathe". After reading about that and consulting with the person, we decided against that also. We wanted to install the system in THAT specific area of the crawlspace only (we have separated crawl spaces), but the installer wanted to put the system in the "lowest point" of the house. The crawlspace where those joists are located are higher than the lowest point of the house, so we decided against that also.

What we wound up doing is sealing all the vents in the rooms located over that space and we installed a split unit HVAC system to condition that room. Initially we thought the joists were only located the living room so my husband sealed all the vents in that room. It cut the smell dramatically but it was still there somewhat. Then we recently realized that the bathroom that is next to the living room is also located over those beams, so we just sealed those two vents last weekend. I immediately noticed an improvement. I think this is going to work.

The way my husband sealed those vents by taking flashing and cut it to the size of the vent to make it like a cup. He pushed that down into the vents. Then he sprayed expanding foam around the edges of the flashing to seal it into the duct. And then he sprayed Flexseal and sprayed all the surfaces to make it like one sealed cup in the vent. Now, no air (and no smell) comes out of those vents. Praying this solution will work forever!
 

Last edited by Sbrady01; 03-01-23 at 06:10 AM.
 

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