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-   -   Flooded basement and Mold Remediation? (http://www.diychatroom.com/f2/flooded-basement-mold-remediation-7887/)

Lightyear 04-19-2007 06:44 AM

Flooded basement and Mold Remediation?
 
Hello,

We are flooded in my furnished basement. We have furniture and carpet. The water is still coming in after 5 days.

We are going to have the basement cleaned by a specialist. By that I mean carpet taken up water sucked out, cleaned dried with fans and hopefully dehumidifiers.

But I want to be protected against mold. I just learned that cleaning a basement and doing mold remediation are two separate things. Should we hire someone who does both? Or will getting the water out on time protect us from the mold?

Thanks

AtlanticWBConst. 04-19-2007 07:40 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Lightyear (Post 41549)
Hello,

We are flooded in my furnished basement. We have furniture and carpet. The water is still coming in after 5 days.

We are going to have the basement cleaned by a specialist. By that I mean carpet taken up water sucked out, cleaned dried with fans and hopefully dehumidifiers.

But I want to be protected against mold. I just learned that cleaning a basement and doing mold remediation are two separate things. Should we hire someone who does both? Or will getting the water out on time protect us from the mold?

Thanks

Hi,

Because of the location of your damage (Basement) and the cause (flooding) - the chances of mold growth are extremely high.
To answer your question: Yes, you should consider a company that does both removal, cleanup and mold/moisture remediation. No, getting the water out right away will not protect you against mold.

Now the Problem: These companies are straight out handling the same problems with other homes right now.

Here is a link with further information:

http://www.epa.gov/mold/moldresources.html

Good Luck.

handy man88 04-19-2007 08:34 AM

Generally speaking, you have about 24-48 hours to get rid of the water before mold starts to grow. Because of the weather though (not summer yet), I think you should be okay if you a) stop the water from coming in, b) get rid of all that stuff (furniture, carpet, etc.) as soon as possible, and most importantly c) dry out your basement. The steps that are being taken by your specialist are correct.

You do NOT need a mold remediation specialist until it is determined that you in fact DO HAVE MOLD. After the cleanup, I would hire an environmental consultant to do a mold inspection and air sample. His analysis will determine the extent of mold in your basement, and whether it's necessary to bring someone in.

I would not bring in a mold remediation company until you get that independant analysis from the consultant. That keeps parties separate and eliminates a "doom and gloom" scenario where they could use scare tactics to pad their profits.

The steps that your specialist is doing right now is pretty much equivalent to what a mold remediation company would do, but they will take it a few steps further. That includes:

* immediately sealing off the basement to prevent any possible mold to go upstairs. This includes HVAC returns in the basement.
* bagging all your basement belongings.
* removing all the wet drywall and insulation.
* sanding down any mold on wood surfaces.
* cleaning out your HVAC air ducts.
* installing fans to create a zero pressure atmosphere (draw a vaccuum) to pull all air outside while bombing the basement with a chemical that kills mold.
* spraying all suspect areas with the same chemical (this chemical supposedly becomes inert after 1 hour).

What is your water situation and why is water still coming in? Focus should be on fixing the water intrusion issue first while removing stuff that's lost. Have those heavy duty dehumidifiers running non stop and have fans on to circulate the air. Don't rely on your HVAC system to do any of this.

AtlanticWBConst. 04-19-2007 08:41 AM

Link:

http://www.epa.gov/mold/table1.html

AtlanticWBConst. 04-19-2007 08:46 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by handy man88 (Post 41560)
Generally speaking, you have about 24-48 hours to get rid of the water before mold starts to grow. Because of the weather though (not summer yet), I think you should be okay if you a) stop the water from coming in, b) get rid of all that stuff (furniture, carpet, etc.) as soon as possible, and most importantly c) dry out your basement. The steps that are being taken by your specialist are correct.

You do NOT need a mold remediation specialist until it is determined that you in fact DO HAVE MOLD. After the cleanup, I would hire an environmental consultant to do a mold inspection and air sample. His analysis will determine the extent of mold in your basement, and whether it's necessary to bring someone in.

I would not bring in a mold remediation company until you get that independant analysis from the consultant. That keeps parties separate and eliminates a "doom and gloom" scenario where they could use scare tactics to pad their profits.

The steps that your specialist is doing right now is pretty much equivalent to what a mold remediation company would do, but they will take it a few steps further. That includes:

* immediately sealing off the basement to prevent any possible mold to go upstairs. This includes HVAC returns in the basement.
* bagging all your basement belongings.
* removing all the wet drywall and insulation.
* sanding down any mold on wood surfaces.
* cleaning out your HVAC air ducts.
* installing fans to create a zero pressure atmosphere (draw a vaccuum) to pull all air outside while bombing the basement with a chemical that kills mold.
* spraying all suspect areas with the same chemical (this chemical supposedly becomes inert after 1 hour).

What is your water situation and why is water still coming in? Focus should be on fixing the water intrusion issue first while removing stuff that's lost. Have those heavy duty dehumidifiers running non stop and have fans on to circulate the air. Don't rely on your HVAC system to do any of this.

Please realize that the poster has had water in their basement for over 5 days....as of their post.
It could still be in there a while....before it is all removed.

Chances of mold are EXTREMELY HIGH.
(refer to EPA link above)

Precaution dictates Mold remediation/mold PREVENTION procedures prior to any repair or restoration work and walls are enclosed. Whether they choose to use two different companies for clean up and testing and remediation is up to them....But really, under the circumstances, the chance for future mold growth is probable.....

Additionally, 'if' the damage is covered by their Home Owners insurance - there may also be 'requirements' and 'stipulations' for the coverage to be paid (we have seen this) ....

handy man88 04-19-2007 09:18 AM

It depends on how they want to approach it. They can call their insurer and get them to pay, but risk having their premiums go up. Then, their house could be blacklisted and be hard to sell down the line. That's a call to be made by the home owner.

That issue aside, they need 1) stop the water intrusion issue, and 2) hire an environmental consultant to assess the extent of the problem. That's always the best way, to get an independent expert who has no vested interest in the job to be performed.

A mold remediation company is generally a cleanup crew. An environmental consultant is a trained and licensed individual who can perform experiments and draw on his expertise to gauge the situation. Based on his analysis, he can provide the mold remediation outfit with suggestions on what needs to be done.

The final thing is that the enviromental consultant will come back after the cleanup to do a follwoup analysis. This will determine if the mold cleaning outfit has done their job properly or whether more work is needed.

Clutchcargo 04-19-2007 09:38 AM

What type of wall system do you have? Is it standard 2x4 and drywall construction?
When I bought my house, there was clearly a mold & mildew problem in the basement. I threw the entire finished basement in the dumpster, problem solved. Although, maybe not to the extent of un-finishing the entire basement, isn't that essentially what mold remediation specialists do?

slickshift 04-19-2007 11:44 AM

The truth is, to answer the OP's Q accurately, you really won't know until it's cleaned up

5 days of water is a long time, the chances are high there's mold
But I've seen basements with water in them for a lot longer then that that didn't develop mold problems

Should you hire someone who does both?
Not necessarily
Will getting the water out in time "protect" you from mold
Not necessarily

There's just no cut and dry answers

To answer CC's Q, Mold Remediation may include ditching even the studs, but often isn't necessary
Often it does include removing drywall, there's not much you can do to salvage that if it gets soaked enough

Lightyear 04-19-2007 02:12 PM

Thanks for the feedback.

My wife wants to save some of the basement items. Can we save them if we clean them up? Or are they forever ruined?
I have some computer equipment I want to keep as well as books and such.

Thanks.

handy man88 04-19-2007 03:48 PM

Yes, everything can be saved if you clean it properly. Bleach and water is generally the best.

AtlanticWBConst. 04-19-2007 07:41 PM

FWIW - Bleach and water does work to clean off mold and fungus stains.

However, to actually kill fungus, you need a Fungicide.
(When we are called in for moisture damage repairs we always use an actual 'fungicide')

Here is an excerpt from 'Moldbuster', a member on this forum regarding this:

Bleach (sodium hypochlorite) does NOT kill mold on a porous surface. That is basic chemistry. There are numerous independent scientific studies that show this to be the case including one from the Oregon Dept of Wood Science. If it did, it would be registered as a fungicide with the EPA and you will not find an EPA reg number. If bleach/X-14 really did kill mold, trust me, the chemical companies would be shouting this off the rooftops. Read the label and the advertisement. X-14 says it removes mildew STAINS for two weeks...that is right in their advertisement on their website (quote..."With new X-14, simply spray problem mildew and watch those mildew stains quickly disappear and stay away for up to 2 weeks!"). Look at the literature...nowhere does it say it permanently kills mold or mildew...only that it removes the stains (meaning it wipes off the surface flora). If you do this, you are taking a chance every time and setting yourself up for a lawsuit. I come in and do treatments all the time for guys who did exactly this (sprayed it down with X-14 or Bleach then painted over it...particularly in apartments. Good fungicides are not only not inexpensive, they are less obnoxious so why not use them? Just from that alone...you should be using a fungicide.

His statements are true. If you do further research...it's dead on.

Link to this particular discussion about the point:

http://www.diychatroom.com/f2/mold-basement-5931/

Lightyear 04-19-2007 09:46 PM

Thanks again for all of your helpful replies. I really appreciate all the time you are taking to help me.
The water is still coming in. But it should stop soon. I hear the days will start to get warm and sunny tomorrow.

Clutchcargo 04-19-2007 10:29 PM

Lightyear, are you in Southern NH, by chance?

slickshift 04-20-2007 08:53 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Lightyear (Post 41614)
My wife wants to save some of the basement items. Can we save them if we clean them up? Or are they forever ruined?

Again, unfortunately I have to say that will depend
Some may be saved, some may be ruined

Please also keep in mind moldbuster is an internet salesman of products for mold problems, and that should be taken into consideration when reviewing any advice from that member

AtlanticWBConst. 04-20-2007 09:14 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by slickshift (Post 41707)
Please also keep in mind moldbuster is an internet salesman of products for mold problems, and that should be taken into consideration when reviewing any advice from that member

Thanks Slick,

I realize that. That's why i did my own research about all of it.

We service about one dozen luxury apartment complexes with a total of 300+ units each. That service also includes regular calls for water damage due to roof leaks, water heater leaks, plumbing leaks (this year alone, we have had to do gut and re-do about 30 units). Because we sometimes have to do our own moisture testing and other checks, I wanted to make sure that we were following all proper procedures (including the times that we work along with certified mold remediation companies).
That is why I did my own research about the bleach and water concept. I also did my research on the so called - sold off the shelf - 'mold sprays'.
Regarding the common mold sprays that are sold everywhere, I found, true to fact, when you turn the labels over and read the fine print, they do say that they do not work on pourous surfaces.
They also state that they get rid of stains, BUT, do not state anywhere that they actually 'kill' mold or mold spores.

For years, I was under the assumption that bleach and water and these sprays work. The fact of the matter is that you do need a Fungucide to KILL mold and mold spores.
Thus, we always use an actual 'fungicide'.

(When I can find the time, I definetely plan on getting the schooling required for actual 'Mold Certification')


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