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izzyant88 10-28-2011 08:02 PM

Drywall Dust Question
So on Tuesday we had a huge toilet overflow that caused water damage to the surrounding areas. We called an emergency water damage company and they came out, cut a hole in the garage ceiling where water had flowed down, and put 3 humidifiers around the affected areas (garage, bathroom itself, and a portion of the living room that is on the other side of the bathroom wall). They took pictures of the damage, used moisture meters to assess the extent of the damage, and advised us on how to handle the insurance. They next day the insurance guy came out and let us know that we were in fact covered and more work could start. So yesterday the water damage company came out again, removed more of the garage ceiling, removed our laminate flooring in areas adjacent to the bathroom that were damaged, and gutted the bathroom - removed vanity, removed toilet, removed flooring, and removed some of the bottom parts of the drywall.

My concern is that I am 9 months pregnant.. my daughter is literally due in a few days. I was not aware of the concern with drywall dust and now I am trying to find out if this applies to removing drywall or just installing it.

The drywall that they removed is in a tiny bathroom on my 2nd story (we have a 3 story townhome). There is also a door between that bathroom and my living room. I stayed upstairs on the 3rd floor yesterday with a window open and a fan running while they were doing the work. At one point I did even put a towel under the bedroom door because I heard them on the phone talking about spraying something. Turns out they used a biodegradable nontoxic version since I am pregnant. They covered most of the furniture in my living room (table, chairs, and couch). However at night when my husband came home (about 8 hours after the workers had left) I did spend several hours downstairs and I did remove the covers from my furniture. The door to the hallway where the bathroom is located remained closed for most of the time except for when my husband needed to go downstairs to the garage. The bathroom door remained closed the entire time.

I was not aware of anything about drywall dust and so at night I did also begin to run my A/C. Is my entire A/C system going to need to be cleaned out now or is the dust generated from simply removing drywall minimal?

Was I exposed to anything harmful yesterday and am I being exposed to anything right now at this moment? Do I need to leave my house?

Our insurance has offered to put us up in a hotel however I am not sure how long the renovations are going to be going for and at what point I want to go to a hotel. At this point the company is not coming back until Sunday at which point they will assess whether or not the dryout is complete and renovations (putting back flooring, etc.) can begin. They said that could be several more days before that starts since it has to go through the insurance and they need to find matching flooring, etc.

I am not comfortable bringing my baby home from the hospital if there's drywall dust everywhere but I don't feel fully comfortable with a newborn in a hotel room either. I don't know what to do :(

After they do the actual drywall installation am I going to need to hire a drywall dust cleaning company to come out? Am I going to need to wait 1-2 weeks after the drywall installation for my baby to come home?

Please help advise what you would do in my situation. This is extremely stressful to me and I just want to bring my baby home to a clean house.

gregzoll 10-28-2011 09:09 PM

It would be no worst than breathing in the dust caused by someone throwing a bag of flour into a room. Personally, the worst thing is, if you or someone else has asthma, the dust can set off an episode. Check with your insurance company if they will pay for a room at a motel or hotel for a couple of days, or stay with family. It is more stressful dealing with cleanup and construction, especially if a child is on the way.

If the crew doing the job is doing it correctly, dust should be controlled to that area, and not get all through out the house. They should be using filters on the ducts, so to keep dust from spreading into the ductwork, and the company you are using (ie servpro), should tell you what they cover in final clean up. If not, again check with your insurance company to see if they will pay towards final cleanup (ie Molly Maids).

Snav 10-28-2011 09:32 PM

Oh wow - if I lived near you I'd come over, help you out and let you relax! Good HEAVENS what a mess! So sorry *hugs*

Before I had our 2nd son we had the AC crap out and roofers on top of the house (middle of the summer) I remember soaking t-shirts with cold water and sitting on the couch stooped in complete misery for a week - no sleep, no comfort! I was relieved ot be in a comfortable hospital room soon after that when he was born. (the irony!)

Now - I wouldn't worry too much if I were you BUT it might be good to do these few things to minimize your discomfort and worry:

Have your husband get an air-filter - plug it in - let it run - buy one or two replacement filters and keep those on hand.
Have him get some plastic sheeting to hang in doorways to act as a barrier (preferrably a faux-door sheeting kit that has velcro down the middle so you can go in and out of the room whilst leaving the barrier in place.)
Have him stay hot on insurance so they don't slack off - emphasize your pregnancy and concerns.
Get some dust-masks . . . if you have to be near where they're working this might help to prevent breathing in various dusts.

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