big big flood and possible mold in inside walls. advice?

hillellAugust 9, 2006

so we had a big big flood. the top floor sink was left on (we have a 4 story brownstone)and the water ran through floors, walls, ceiling, around the stairwell in the center of the house all the way down the the basment. UGH! anyway i am worried that it is now molding. i have seen 2 small patches of black mold on the the cieling plaster. i can clean that up but what about what is happening inside the walls/ceiling. it is a wood frame construction (1899) with plaster and lath mostly. will it dry up eventually or will we have to take it all down? i am definitely allergic to something now and i think it is mold that is making me sneeze. any ideas? thanks!

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woodswell

You need to get a professional company in to dry out the house - there is really no effective way to do it yourself. Likely the plaster and lath will have to come down so that the wood framing can be treated to prevent mold problems in the future.

Anne

    Bookmark   August 10, 2006 at 12:05AM
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hillell

i posted this a while ago and wanted to add my update in hopes that someone might have a comment.

it is getting colder and the windows are now closed more often. the strange thing is that i am not feeling the alergies to the mold anymore. i wonder if the flooded part has dried up. my dh is convinced that we don't need to rip out the walls just wait for them to dry. i am now wondering if maybe he was right. could it be?

    Bookmark   September 11, 2006 at 11:57AM
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chris_ont

While you don't want to fall victim to a sort of out-of-sight-out-of mind denial frame of mind, it is possible that things have dried up on their own. Older homes have a fair bit of draft moving through those walls and that might be enough.
That doesn't mean that those spores won't continue to multiply when things get humid again, or if there is another accident.

Is there an inconspicuous place where you could lift a floor board or a piece of molding and have a peek? I located a possible problem (of a different nature) by being able to stick my hand into a tight cavity and take pictures with a digital camera.

Also, aren't there companies that will set up some equipment in your home to see if they can get mold to grow from air samples?

It certainly would be worth the peace of mind, for me.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2006 at 11:14AM
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emgreenberg

We had a mold issue when we moved into our new home (though we knew it going in). They had had a flood, and didn't do anything but let it dry out (sound familiar?). We had a company come in during the inspection and take air samples from around the house, some of which came back positive for 'dangerous' molds. Long story short, I demo'ed the entire area that had mold, down to the studs. I then bought a commerical ozone generator for about $700, closed off each room, and let the ozone get to a high level (to high for any carbon based life forms, so don't forget to let the dog out first!). This will kill the mold, and get into all the air crevaces that bleach cannot. I did this room by room.

I will say that we haven't had the house tested again, but there is no more musty smell (except in the basement), and we don't seem to be growing any anywhere. The most dangerous mold growth occurs when there is a constant source of water. Also, in my research on the subject, most mold related deaths and disease were from really, really intense infestations. Like, it should look like a cave in your living room.

In your case, maybe you got lucky, and there is enough air moving. Still, it only cost about $400 for the lab to come in.

Eric

    Bookmark   September 13, 2006 at 10:51PM
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