Entry: Mold, mold everywhere! Monday, June 14, 2004



Tip to homeowners everywhere... If you have even the littlest bit of water damage, clean it up. If you don't clean it up right that minute, do the right thing and replace the little bit of drywall it damaged. And by all means DON'T paint over it and leave it for the next guy.

I just spent the day yesterday tearing out wallboard, and more wallboard, and more wallboard as I followed the mold inside of the wall. Every time I thought it would thin out, it got worse until I'd gone six feet up my wall and spanned the three feet between my bathroom and my hall-closet-of-doom. (Where I expect to have to remove more wallboard.)

The funny thing is that I just started out painting my hallway the other weekend. It was sponge painted. This may sound at first relatively innocuous but it was a sort of greenish/reddish/greyish mix of sponge paint. And after I'd painted over it with a nice winter wheat color, I began to see what the previous owners had been hiding.

Some of what they were covering was just cosmetic stuff. I suspect that was most of what they were thinking -- "hmmmm... did a sloppy job removing that old wallpaper and now there are scraper marks on the walls. Could try to replaster and smooth it - nah, we'll just paint it with a busy pattern that covers it up."

And then down near the baseboard, suddently visible because it was no longer covered by the crawling ant tones of sponge paint, were a couple of bubbled places in the wallboard. So I said, "well that doesn't look very good. I'll have to fix that with some sandpaper and patching plaster."

And then I pulled the baseboard off and found that it was definitely old water damage, and the dry wall was coming apart behind the baseboard... and there were signs of mold... so I started knocking out the damaged drywall.

This is where things started to get more interesting than I had planned for them to get. The paper backing of the inside-the-wall side of the drywall that I pulled out of the bottom of the wall was partially covered with black stuff... And it didn't seem to be ending behind the relatively innocuous bubbled patch (which spanned the distance from the closet-of-doom to the bathroom under the baseboard, but had only been visible in about a one inch by three inch area above the baseboard.)

At this point, I should probably explain the closet of doom. We don't use it, courtesy of the previous owners -- who kindly left a few things in there to make it a-ppear that they had used it. Which I seriously doubt.

I've gutted the shelves out of it and torn the carpet out. The carpet was water damaged anyway. The main drain and vent stack for our house is located through an access hole in the side of the closet (a rough cut hole in the drywall that had a piece of plywood over it when we moved in.)

After we moved into our house I discovered that the genius who installed the washer and dryer in the front closet that is behind the closet of doom had pulled a rather serious plumbing faux pas. Rather than spend the money to install an actual t-joint in the pipe or have someone do it for him, he had elected, in the spirit of Minnesota do-it-yourself-ism (and stupid cheap-ass-ism) to cut a hole in the side of the main vent and stuff the drain pipe coming off the washing machine into that.

To give the a**hole some small bit of credit, he at least *tried* to seal the hole around the drain pipe. However at some point during the residency of our predecessors it sprung a leak. The evidence for this would be the carpet which I removed from the closet (which they'd left there) and the newfound water damage in the hallway adjoining the closet-of-doom.

This must have been some leak. Funny thing is that the carpet in the hallway shows no sign of it... Hmmmm... (That's in-teresting...)

Why is the closet-of-doom mostly gutted, you may ask? Because while the homemade t-joint does not leak liquid, the closet does not smell at all healthy. It is waiting for a plumber to arrive (who is waiting for me to collect some hundreds of dollars that I'm told it will take to fix this.) In the meantime the closet is kept shut tight and NOT used.

Anyway... back to the MOLD....

I tore a hole a foot wide and two feet high in the wall, very carefully throwing away the drywall that came out of it and realized that this was going to be a big job because the end of the mold was NOT in sight... not even if I held a pocket mirror under the opening and shined a flashlight up in the wall. This would be the point that I began to become a bit worried. (My wife would tell you that this is an understatement.) I've heard things about mold in houses, and none of them were pretty.

On the somewhat brighter side, the other side of the wall was the bathroom, and someone had done me the one favor of at least using green-board (water resistant) instead of plain old sheetrock for the walls on that side of the wall. So the mold was only on the hallway side of the inside of the wall.

And I needed supplies that I didn't have handy. I needed a whole piece of drywall (comes in 4x8) and thus a truck (and a non-rainy day, which that wasn't) to go get it.

The hole got sealed up with tape and plastic sheeting as best I could for a couple of days, and yesterday we rented a truck at Menards, bought the drywall, and I proceeded to play "follow the moldy mold" up through the wall. (Cursing the former owners for beings so stupid as to not take care of this properly in the first place as I went.)

I was wearing a particle mask, and a long pair of rubber gloves and sweating because the AC was off to avoid spreading whatever exciting spores I stirred up throughout the entire house... and the mold was actually worse further up the wall before it got better. Gotta love it when that happens. My wife peeked her head around the end of the hallway a couple of times and I got to see her eyes get big as saucers at what I was tearing out of the wall.

After that fun finished, it was an hour of painting all of the wood inside of the wall with paint that contained a mildewicide to prevent the mold from coming back, then cutting the new 3x6 piece of sheetrock in my garage and drywall screwing it into place. Then taking a long hot shower and three ibuprofen for the headache I'd gotten from either the mold, the mold-fighting paint, or both.

Now I just need to work on my plastering technique to cover over the join between the old part at the top of the wall, and the new chunk in the rest of the wall.

And get that plumber out here to fix the main vent (and of course also probably do the mold-removal dance again for whatever evil may be lurking behind the wall in that closet...)

And additionally stifle the urge to go hunt down the previous owners and give them a piece of my mind for once again proving that they were "a**hoes, a*sholes, *ssholes!" (That particular mantra became a favorite of mine while watching the black smudges appear on the fingers of my gloves as I pulled pieces of drywall out yesterday...)

Pardon me, while I vent for a moment... "Stupid, cheap, dumb*ss, mother****ers."

Sigh... God help me if I *ever* sell someone a house and put them through this much trouble. Particularly if they pay as much as we did for this one.

   3 comments

Name Bernnadettee
December 15, 2004   11:34 AM PST
 
I have mold and mildrew now in the house, where I stay now, I am disabled and the part about it I really don't have anywhere to go. Houses are hard to find in a three bedroom. The landlord has done some work on it but it keeps comming back. I keep alot of headaches, and was told that I now have a breathing problem. it's sad when you about to be homeless right here in the winter time. If anyone has a descend house to rent in the Trenton, Tenn area please,please let me know at P.O BOX 518 Trenton, Tn 38382 Thank you. Bernnadettee
Name Bernnadettee
December 15, 2004   11:34 AM PST
 
I have mold and mildrew now in the house, where I stay now, I am disabled and the part about it I really don't have anywhere to go. Houses are hard to find in a three bedroom. The landlord has done some work on it but it keeps comming back. I keep alot of headaches, and was told that I now have a breathing problem. it's sad when you about to be homeless right here in the winter time. If anyone has a descend house to rent in the Trenton, Tenn area please,please let me know at P.O BOX 518 Trenton, Tn 38382 Thank you. Bernnadettee
Jessica
June 14, 2004   06:47 PM PDT
 
OH my God., What a mess. Ass hole is too nice a word for them also. Geez. Well, your rant is exactly why when this past weekend we flooded our basement out (newly remodeled if you remember) that we had to rip the carpet up and run fans all over the place immediately to save the carpet and we only HOPE the wall dried out properly. I sure hope so. Black mold is bad news. Good luck.

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