Do Moldy Walls Have to be Removed by Expert?

matersammichMarch 28, 2014

I am repairing a Florida house that was ruined by a drug addict. Plumbing leaks and roof problems led to water damage and mold issues. Most of the interior walls of the house are blanketed in thick black mold. They are not warped or broken, but they certainly do smell.

Two contractors (a general contractor and a licensed mold remediation expert) told us the drywall has to be demolished and replaced. The mold guy says the cost will be around 10K, and this does not include replacement. It's just demo plus independent mold testing.

The general contractor, who is not affiliated with the mold guy, says he does not remove moldy drywall. He says you have to hire someone with a special license.

The obvious question: can it really be true that I have to pay ten grand just to get the walls ripped out and the house treated for spores? I know it's a big job (two 30-yard dumpsters), but that seems like a lot of money for what basically amounts to destruction and junk hauling.

I am going to do the right thing, but before I write checks, I want to be sure there is no way to preserve the drywall and seal it with primer and paint.

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You should not try to paint over the drywall. Regs for removal and mitigation will be local. If I had to do this in my own home, it would be relatively straightforward. I'd ventilate and wear a respirator and cover up. There is nothing growing in there that is not in the environment already, it is just very concentrated.

You don't want to scrimp on laying down some mold inhibitor on the wood framing and wood anything else that is left behind. You don't want to spend the money on removal and new drywall only to find that the mold will come back later.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2014 at 3:01PM
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Thanks for the reply. The mold guy is really good. I've used him before. I know he'll do it right, and there will be an independent test.

I just flatlined for a minute when he mentioned the likely cost.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2014 at 3:10PM
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I see no reason that this could not be DIY for a lot less money. It is a matter of hauling out the drywall and other debris and spraying the frame. You can get testing done by an independent lab.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2014 at 5:20PM
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Oh, man. There is no way I'm tearing the drywall out of an entire house. I would be busy for a month or more, and I would be breathing mold every day, even if I used a mask. I just want to be sure I'm not overspending on whoever does the job for me.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2014 at 7:16PM
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I'd want to get a couple more bids.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2014 at 9:55AM
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I am talking to a different guy to see if I can get him to do the demolition cheaper. That way I could bring the expensive mold dude in for the treatment and test.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2014 at 5:29PM
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That sucks, especially since I've noticed some mold forming due to our horrible winter and ice damns. Looks like this summer's reno job is going to be quite hefty on my end...

Keep us updated on how things continue here... In the past I've seen people just DIY and remove drywall with mold and they don't ever bother to treat it. Then they replace it years later again...

    Bookmark   March 30, 2014 at 2:43AM
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For what it's worth, when my wife and I purchased our summer home on Cape Cod, a sea shore area. Our bedrooms and bath rooms were covered by mold, from floor to ceiling, black mold. The house was a foreclosure and had been vacant for some time. My wife purchased bleach, and with bleach and hot water, and masks, we washed and cleaned the house. Wash, rinsed, washed again and rinsed. The mold did leave a stain at the end, which was covered by a good primer (I used kils). Half way through, being anal, I would do a second wash with TSP, just to test if one method was better than the next.
12yrs later mold hasn't returned. We often comment that the house would have been torn down today, due to the mold coverage.
Hope this may help

    Bookmark   April 2, 2014 at 12:08PM
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Perhaps a dumb question... Couldn't testing be done, first? (Not as a part of a 10k demo bid?). While I realize that extensive mold can contain many different types, I also understand that not all mold that is black is "black mold". If professional remediation is not necessary, why pay for that? Is "testing" part of the bid process to ensure elimination, after?
NOT trying to be smart-alecky, I swear! Just learning all I can, when I can. It's a long-term process, for me. :-)

    Bookmark   April 6, 2014 at 8:58PM
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