Repair of water damage/possible mold
Last Thursday night we noticed a discoloration near an edge of the kitchen ceiling/wall - looked like a water spot but when I climbed up and felt the ceiling and wall there was no dampness and the spot didn't depress or give way at all. We have a townhouse and that area of the kitchen ceiling is right below one of the 2nd floor bathrooms (specifically, right underneath the toilet). There has been no overflow or apparent water leakage in that bath for as long as we've lived here (since July 2006) - we rarely use it and have never used the tub/shower - I use a swiffer Wetjet for the floor so no spilled bucket of water - you get the idea. These apartments are still fairly new (to me) - they were completed just over three years ago.
Maintenance and the apartment manager came over on Friday morning - removed the toilet and replaced a wax seal so they could be sure it was intact and there was no leakage. They replaced the toilet, checked for moisture on that upstairs wall and found none. They then made arrangements with an outside vendor to remove and replace the damaged drywall in the kitchen and that company came in later Friday morning.
The drywall vendor tested all around the water-spotted area and then his team marked and cut the ceiling to remove all of the section of drywall that they "tested" to be retaining moisture (even though it didn't feel damp). When they removed just a couple feet of drywall they discovered a wet, darkly stained beam directly above the water spot. It looked like a black mossy substance. Apparently they assumed it was a toxic variety of mold - they immediately discontinued their demolition of the drywall, sealed the area with superglue and heavy plastic, and called the manager.
The manager had given us the option of remaining in our apartment while the repairs were being done, which we initially wanted to do when we thought it was just drywall replacement and wouldn't take long. However, after the phone call from the drywall vendor, she called me back and said the repairs "were going to take longer than they had thought and they didn't want to inconvenience us for that long" and that she had made arrangements for us at a hotel and that we should plan to check in immediately - which was nice, but on the other hand it sounded like they wanted us out right away. She said they wanted to complete the repairs as quickly as possible. She said it was fine to run in and pick up something we forgot (the apartment is like one minute from the hotel), just didn't want us living there and in the way for/or inconvenienced by the repairs. The drywall vendor returned while I was packing and took many pictures of the area and told me he had to properly document that he had sealed the area off and when that was done.
We checked into the hotel on Friday afternoon - returned to the apartment a couple of times on the weekend to grab a couple more items we forgot (in and out in less than five minutes) - found no workers there on either Saturday or Sunday - so we guess they are planning to resume work on Monday, which seems strange since she said they wanted to get it done as soon as possible and more so because whatever was leaking still is, unless the wax seal had just given way and replacing it solved the problem. These apartments are only three years old, as well.
So - apparently they think this dark spot is toxic mold, hence the reason for the sealing off of the hole in the ceiling and going no further with the work in process . . .and also moving us out so quickly after previously giving us the option of staying as long as we could handle the noise or whatever. We appreciate their concern for our safety and understand this isn't something to take chances with - but they haven't told us anything definite, we are just sorting it out from what has taken place so far.
I looked online and I understand it involves discovering which type of mold it is and eradicating it, as well as finding out the source of the moisture that the mold was feeding on and repairing it - then drying everything out - before new drywall can be installed and paint can be done. The manager had said we would be in the hotel until Tuesday - it sounds like it will take way longer than two days. We aren't complaining about them not spending their weekend working and we understand it has to be treated as toxic mold until it's found otherwise, just trying to sort out what will happen from this point on. How can we find out what sort of mold it is - will the drywall company bring in an outside test agent or do we take their word for it? The complex is paying for the hotel and we are very grateful for this - but is there anything else we have rights to if we can't move back in for an extended time, or at all? Will they check the rest of the apartment while they are there to see if there is moisture in the walls anywhere else?
The drywall guy said they would have to "completely seal off the kitchen" and that they would be changing into their protective suits inside the barrier, doing their work, and then removing the suits before coming back out into the apartment. I am sure they will be careful not to spread the spores around. I read of instances where everything in the apartment has to be trashed - it seems like in our case, once the hole was sealed off, they would've said to move our stuff out on the weekend to protect it just in case, if they thought that might happen during their cleanup. The manager said they were responsible for our belongings while their contractor was going in and out and working - I assumed for theft or damage, does that also include mold damage if it happens?
This is our first experience with anything like this - I'm sorry for the long post and really appreciate any information you can give us !