Asked on Aug 24, 2013

Cleaning my screenroom ceiling?

Jim McGovern
by Jim McGovern
A few weeks ago I pressure sprayed my ceiling. I was able to remove about 25% of the dark sports. I believe the ceiling gets wet and mold builds up. The ceiling actually has a pitted look, although it is perfectly smooth. Any thoughts on a cleaning solution or is my only option to paint it. I have concerns about using a heavy bleach solution because of my flooring. When it was installed the ceiling was inpieces and I don't know if they caulked or sealed it. The room is about 7 years old.
  37 answers
  • KMS Woodworks KMS Woodworks on Aug 24, 2013
    some Kilz primer and a new coat of could use some "bath" paint that has mildewcide in it.
  • Jim McGovern Jim McGovern on Aug 24, 2013
    Thank you. I had pretty much made up my mind that I would have to paint it.
  • Jim McGovern Jim McGovern on Aug 24, 2013
    Thanks for the answers, but I'm still hoping for more ideas.
  • Pamela Pamela on Aug 24, 2013
    I would use bleach in a spray bottle and unfortunately do it by hand that way you can control the bleach getting on the floor. I would still put down drop cloths which are cheap, which would protect the floor even more. My suggestion would be to put a fan into the room every so often to circulate the air and dry the ceiling if it is collecting moisture. Good luck.
  • Jim McGovern Jim McGovern on Aug 24, 2013
    Thank you Pamela. That's basically how I cleaned it the first time. The only exception was that I used a stiff bristled brush. I just did the outside edge and used a hand scrub brush and it came out pretty well. The cleaner I used was Simple Green. I think I'll try a spot and see how it comes out.
  • Power washer should remove this. If it did not, the pressure was not high enough. If your thinking moisture is causing this to occur, then painting it will only be a short term method of making it look good. Vinyl which I think this is, does not support mold development. its the dust and soils on the surface that does. Once painted even with a microbial additive in the paint, you have effectively provided a organic material that mold will grow on even faster. You may need to simply use a strong solution of detergent and a stiff scrub brush on the surface. Bleach does not remove mold. It simply removes the color making it appear that its gone. While it may physically remove some molds, and that is simply because it washes them away much like a strong detergent does, it hardly kills a lot of the molds found today. Bleach that is strong enough to remove and kill mold is not sold over the counter. Regardless of what you decide to do, you need to determine the cause of the moisture and attempt to correct this issue. If you do not, what ever it is that is growing on the surface will return.
  • Maria Brehmer Maria Brehmer on Aug 24, 2013
    I pressured wash and got on a ladder and wash with lysol it looks great
  • Donna J Donna J on Aug 24, 2013
    I had that same problem with my patio ceiling earlier in the spring. I used a bleach solution and a mop and went over the entire ceiling. It cleaned the ceiling very well so the mold was not visible. However, as of today I need to clean it again. I know the problem is with my patio roof. The contractor skimped on the roof lining and now the water is coming through to the plywood. For now I know I will have to clean my ceiling ever so often until I can replace the entire roof. Good luck with your project.
  • Jim McGovern Jim McGovern on Aug 25, 2013
    Thank you all for the comments. I checked the ceiling this am and it was covered with moisture. My ceiling is all metal. It was installed in pieces approximately 10' by 18". I think when they connected the strips they did not seal/caulk them and allows moisture to come through when it rains. We have a lot of dew on the grass every morning so I'm thinking the moisture in the air is causing me problems.
  • Maria Brehmer Maria Brehmer on Aug 25, 2013
    Mine is metal as well her in Brunswick Donna J way was good as well
  • Louise F Louise F on Aug 25, 2013
    @ @Jim McGovern i am so grateful for your question. i had my roof replaced three years ago and also had a screened in porch built at the same time. Presently the ceiling is just like the one pictured. Actually i did not have a ceiling put in. Just left open and painted white. i am just sick about the way it looks. But at least now i have some options. The thing i am concerned about, though, is: Is the roof leaking or is it just condensation? What to do?
  • Louise F Louise F on Aug 25, 2013
    i just read the Woodbridge comment. Looks like i will have to clean with some kind of mold killer to get rid of the mold, then use something like Kilz before i actually paint. O Goodness, what a mess.
  • Jim McGovern Jim McGovern on Aug 25, 2013
    There is a lot more to my screenroom problems. The gutter they installed is useless. I noticed when it rained that a waterfall was coming off my roof. Never got into it until recently. The roof completely coved the top of the gutter and no water could go into it. I had to take my jigsaw and cut out a hole in each panel. The bad result of this is that my septic tank is about 10 ' away and all the water goes into the ground and fills the tank. That stops the flushing of the toilets. Glad I'm retired and don't have anything else to do.
    • See 1 previous
    • Jim McGovern Jim McGovern on Aug 26, 2013
      @Carole I agree. That is my main priority right now.
  • Natalie Carroll Natalie Carroll on Aug 25, 2013
    I just talked to my hubby and since we also have a septic tank in our yard we can understand the problem of it being he is strongly suggesting that you find a local handyman to install a good working rain gutter to channel the water away from the septic tank so that you are able to use the toilets, etc in your home.
    • Jim McGovern Jim McGovern on Aug 26, 2013
      @Natalie Carroll Thank you. I've already started that process with cutting an opening at the end of each panel. The water now flows out the downspout. I going to dig a shallow trench from the downspout to the edge of the yard, and lay downspout material all the way to the edge of the yard. I'll put a pop up water release at the end. I also built a french drain to releave standing water from the yard. It was about 50' long and quite a job. Seems to be working well. I've added a few photos to show that process. What a job it was.
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  • Carole Carole on Aug 25, 2013
    If you are going to use bleach and are working overhead, please ensure to wear safety goggles to protect your eyes. I would also try to get to the bottom of what is causing this mould as it is a big job to keep it clean and or paint it frequently. Any leaks or moisture getting in, the problem needs to be fixed at the root cause.
  • Jim if the ground water is filling your septic system then its faulty. NO rain should be able to enter into it. The tank is supposed to be solid with only openings for sewage to enter into it and an exit for effluent to go out to the field. If water is entering it that is more important to fix then some moldy ceilings.
    • Jim McGovern Jim McGovern on Aug 26, 2013
      The rain water fills the drainfield and enters the septic tank. The second photo shows my neighbor's yard, and the river is in my yard. We've had an unusual amount of rain in the Athens, Ga. area this year. The drainfield is a good distance to the left of the stake, but this is an example of my problem in several areas of my yard. I am also going to add fill to provide more of a drainoff.
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  • Jeanette S Jeanette S on Aug 26, 2013
    Bleach on metal? I thought bleach ruins metal? I have wrought Iron railings on the front of my house painted white and when I clean them with 409 they seem to have a stain like yours. I just clean them the best I can...hubby touches up on any rust spots and I let it go. No one inspects the railings when they come over so I do not bother with it!
  • Char Char on Aug 26, 2013
    a regular old swifter did it for us. Same scenario, after pressure washing floor ceiling was a mess. Swifter to the rescue-easy-peasy
  • Pam Townsend Bies Pam Townsend Bies on Aug 26, 2013
    I live in Florida and understand this problem all to well. My metal ceilings have the same problem. Humidity causes mildew and you just need to add it to your to do list once a year. I tried everything for years and FINALLY found that chlorine mixed with water in a regular 1 gallon pump sprayer works very well for large outdoor applications. It does not take much, I use about a cup of chlorine to a gallon of water. Use common sense precautions. Open windows, wear eye protection etc. I stand back and let the pressure sprayer do the reaching for me, spraying up and at an angle. I also use a hand sprayer in my sun porch with a rag. I understand the flooring may want to cover it with plastic. It will kill plants. You can also use a long handled scrub brush and watch the black melt away. rinse with water. As for painting it, I would not, you may find you will have a larger mess than you first started with and cleaning will not be as easy. I have some metal awnings, my next project is to repaint them using an enamel appliance spray paint. This also works very well for making your AC vents look brand new! Hope this helps.
  • Melissa Melissa on Aug 26, 2013
    Bleach is not recommended for aluminum gutters, siding, or ceiling material. It can strip the color finish and leave the shiny metal visible. At my work we recommend the following solution to clean: 1/3 cup of liquid tide or similar detergent per gallon of water. The solution should be applied to the soiled area by means of a soft rag, sponge, or soft bristle brush with a gentle rubbing action. Do not rub vigorously so as to create glossy areas over the satin finish. Always thoroughly rinse with fresh water after cleaning.
    • Jim McGovern Jim McGovern on Aug 26, 2013
      I think I have some of the metal spots showing through as you have ementioned. @
  • GrandmaCarol Speight GrandmaCarol Speight on Aug 26, 2013
    I have operated my own cleaning business for a number of years and have found,(altho very labour/labor intensive)...that good old fashioned hot water and soap works wonderfully on mold/mould. There is also a bio-degradable product out there and widely available in the United States called "Mean Green". They have one they suggest is good for your problem. Personally I like the soap & water bleach!
    • Jim McGovern Jim McGovern on Aug 26, 2013
      @GrandmaCarol Speight I used Simple Green, but I am familiar with Mean Green.
  • Brenda Nielsen Brenda Nielsen on Aug 26, 2013
    I have had someone to clean my porch ceiling with a mop, water and cleanser but now since I know this product I would just spray WET & FORGET. I use it in my shower, on concrete my wood stairs and anywhere else I see black or green mold, it takes care of it without a lot of effort on my part.
  • Judy Feenstra Judy Feenstra on Aug 26, 2013
    I also have a metal roof to my sun porch. The best thing I have found to clean it is Murphy Oil Soap. Apply with a sponge mop makes it easier to clean. Good luck!
  • KMS Woodworks KMS Woodworks on Aug 26, 2013
    The paint on the metal is most likely a Baked on type of enamel..which is pretty durable I would revisit the power wash route...and be a bit more aggressive. If it is not working too well you can use a "deck scrubbing broom" and then more washing. I second woodbridge's comment about the septic...something is amiss there and should be adressed ASAP.
    • Jim McGovern Jim McGovern on Aug 26, 2013
      @KMS Woodworks I've had it checked and rainwater coming back into the septic througfh the drainfield was their opinion. I f there is an exit area and the drainfield is full I would think the water level would be that of the drainfield. My yard just wasn't leveled properly when I had it sodded. We moved in in 2005.
  • Claudia Claudia on Aug 26, 2013
    Auto sidewall cleaner is usually successful on gutters. You may want to give it a try on your porch ceiling.
  • Natalie Carroll Natalie Carroll on Aug 26, 2013
    Oh my that is quite the job sounds like you put in quite a lot of time on it and I'm so happy its working out for you :)
  • Claudia Claudia on Aug 26, 2013
    we have used X-14 and also at times have used casteel soap
  • GrandmaCarol Speight GrandmaCarol Speight on Aug 26, 2013
    Hi Jim.....I have found simple green is of no use in my kind of business!......lolol. Mean Green on the other hand is the "meanest".......lolol
  • Deck Care PLus Deck Care PLus on Aug 26, 2013
    Never use straight bleach. Mix about a gallon water with about a 1/4-1/2 cup of bleach and add some dawn dish soap. Spray on and let sit. When black spots turn light brown mop or scrub off.
  • Virginia Virginia on Aug 26, 2013
    Bleach doesn't kill mold it just removes it for "now". You need moldex. I also heard borax kills mold. Since you don't want to spray.... I guess you'll have to use a mop (the squeeze out type) so it won't drip on you and moldex it. The mop won't keep after you put this chemical on it, but you can get them at the dollar store.
  • I know this has been a crazy year weather wise. Some are in severe droughts and others such as you are being flooded. My suggestion is if your planning on adding more soil to help with run off and such, that you consult with a septic person first. There is a lot of engineering that goes into septic fields and depth of leach field is one of these factors. By adding additional soil you may disrupt the way the field operates. Although I doubt you will be putting that much soil down, It is always best to consult with someone familiar with your area and system just in case you end up doing something that may end up costing you more then it is worth. The few dollars if they charge anything at all is well worth knowing exactly what you can and cannot do to move this water from the leach field and the holding tank(s)
  • Jim McGovern Jim McGovern on Aug 27, 2013
    I will be adding very little soil. Actually the area of the drainfield does not get a lot of standing water. I will not be adding dirt that that area. I have taken pictures after a rain storm and will use them to determine the area to add soil so the water will run off. A lot of these areas are near my French Drain. I layed out the FD area to be able to collect that water. After working on this project for some time I really feel runoff from the screen room has been my main problem. We've had some real good storms since I worked on the roof and installed the French Drain, and have not had any problems. Thank you very much for your input. It has been very helpful and makes me think a little deeper.
  • TheDIYGirl TheDIYGirl on Aug 29, 2013
    I don't know if anyone has mentioned it so far, but I had a second floor deck that had white opaque stain on both the top and bottom. The underside (on the ground level) would get black mildew all over it. While I don't like to use this stuff often, I found TSP (trisodium phosphate) worked better than anything else. Mix it up in a garden sprayer, spray the ceiling, let it sit for 10-15 minutes, then power wash and it should be sparkling white.
    • GrandmaCarol Speight GrandmaCarol Speight on Aug 30, 2013
      @The DIY Girl Altho I like the idea of using TSP from time to time....IF there isn't a good top coat on a metal-type product, TSP will remove the gloss it generally has.
  • Jim McGovern Jim McGovern on Aug 29, 2013
    I've posed an alternative to my wife and she like the idea. The house is gray, and I'm thinking about painting the ceiling with gray enamel. I've completed the repairs on the cutter, caulked where it connects to the ceiling and primed the area with Kilz. I'll paint the gutter and the outside ceiling with white enamel. I'm thinking the color gray will hide more than a white ceiling.
  • Jim McGovern Jim McGovern on Aug 30, 2013
    I've already cleaned it with a brush and also pressure cleaned it.
  • Jim McGovern Jim McGovern on Aug 31, 2013
    You were pointing out that the ceiling should be cleaned prior to painting. I agreed.
  • Valerie Valerie on Sep 09, 2013
    Try using a teaspoon of oil of cloves mixed in a spray bottle, together with a liter of water. Spray the area, leave overnight, and 'wash down' the following day using a broom with pantihose pulled over the bristles. Courtesy of Shannon Lush - an Australian woman who has a television show which deals with cleaning problems.