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TWEAKS+inspiration : Mold Makes an Appearance

You know how it is. Sometimes, you have to put on your big girl pants. Turns out, mold and mildew had arrived for the first time. I think it might have snuck in during the "atmospheric storms" of December and January. First, there was a strong musty smell in my husband's office which turned out to be mildew. After investigating further, there was black mold throughout our unfinished basement. This was going to be expensive. The abatement team started last Monday. I had 4 days to get ready. The first step was to remove P's computers. P's good friend, Jim, scrubbed all his electronics and an eWaste company hauled them away. I wasn't ready to empty this room but it had to be done.

The abatement company agreed to remove the office furniture. Next, they disposed of the carpet and padding. Walls, ceiling and subfloor was scrubbed with anti-microbial solution. Fortunately, there was no further damage. Good news - the chemicals smelled fresh, not like bleach. The bad news -a loud industrial fan blew for 5 days.

Turns out there was a leak next to the French door causing the mildew.

Five days later, the room is fresh and clean, ready for fresh paint and carpet. Eventually, it will be turned into a guest room.

The unfinished basement was a worse problem. Mold had grown on most floor joists in the ceiling and some of the unfiinished walls and floor.

Did you know mold and mildew can grow just 2 weeks after dampness?

Since I had a few days before the abatement would begin, I decided it was time to donate some unused stuff. I made trips to the Salvation Army and Habitat for Humanity. Bless Jim for moving the last of P's combat airplanes and related building supplies from the basement to the garage as they are waiting for friends to pick up. Then, a junk hauler took away some unsalvageable stuff including moldy patio cushions, luggage and an old file cabinet.

The day before the abatement team came, all fragile items were moved upstairs after I wiped them down with Lysol wipes. By the looks of it, I still have too much stuff. So, that's another project for later on.

First thing the abatement team did in the basement was to bag the ceiling insulation until after the treatment. Turns out, the insulation had been damaged by pests so it had to be replaced. I think I counted 15 bags total.

After all the wood was scrubbed with an anti-microbial and allowed to dry, everything was sprayed with this coating so mildew should not grow back.

Large fans blew for days.

On the first day, Pedro (right) and his team of five noticed a "dead animal smell" so I called my pest guy, Aaron. He found a bird, not long dead, in the crawl space under the furnace. And a dead rat. UGH. Any foundation holes will be plugged this week.

On Friday, the protective plastic covering over my stuff was removed and I was left with a super clean, mold free basement .

Not exactly what I had planned for my next house project but it's over now. It was certainly something I couldn't put off. Sometimes, you've just got to wear those big girl pants.


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