The Garage (Apartment)- Part 3

>> 7.05.2012

(continued from part 1 and part 2

Googling the mold issue in the apartment made me believe that we would have to tear out all of the wall and start from scratch!  We were basically at a standstill until we could figure out what needed to be done so it was time to call in a professional (=$$$). 

I went through my usual routine for finding the best price on a new service: 

  1. Make a short list of options (3ish) using local recommendations and BBB scores.
  2. Reach out to the top three and ask for estimates.
  3. Hire the company with the best estimate/ responsiveness combo. 
I'm always surprised at how widely estimates can range. One company expected up to $2500 in charges without any removal included! We ended up going with a highly rated company that could come in a couple of days and included removal recommendations in the $300 fee. Before making the decision, I did briefly consider using one of the at-home kits that they sell at Home Depot or Lowe's, but I was worried about being able to perform the test correctly myself and the turnaround time was just too long.

The mold inspection turned out to be a really educational experience. We learned that the problem was caused by condensation from cracks in the slab being trapped under the sheet vinyl floors. The largest problem was right under the AC window unit, where cool air created an additional moisture problem.

When the results came back a few days later, nobody (especially the inspector who could smell the mold from outside the front door) was surprised to find out that it was mold. For you mold-junkies out there, it was mainly active Aspergillus mold spores and some Epicoccum mold spores. The Aspergillus was the main safety issue, but lucky for us, we would be able to clear up the problem on our own.

The recommendations the professional gave to us in the inspection report:

  1. All work should be done using at least an N-95 type, one time respirator. All windows and doors should also be open when removal of damaged materials and cleaning procedures.
  2. Remove all of the old vinyl flooring.
  3. Clean the slab using a scrub brush and a 1 to10 beach to water solution. 
  4. Air out and de-humidify the space. 
  5. Seal cracks in slab.
  6. New flooring should not be installed until slab is dry.Flooring should also allow slab to breathe to prevent a point of condensation when the air conditioner is being used.
  7. If the odor persists after removal and cleaning of the flooring, the interior wall boards along the exterior walls should cut and removed at 2'0" above finished floor.

So, after that disgusting floor was up, we got to scrubbing...

Nate used our Dremel to take the beadboard up so that it won't hit the concrete and wick up any moisture into the walls:

And we prepped the cracks for patching:

The inspector recommended getting a new window unit with dehumidifying features and temperature control. So, why not spend another few hundred dollars?! 

Up next: where we are today


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