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jstcruzin 08-04-2008 11:25 AM

Mold problem under flooring
I have a mold issue that I tried to avoid but could have already been there without me knowing, I dont know. Six to seven months ago our a/c unit clogged and the water built up and got everywhere...under the floors (laminate that is no loner availible). I dont think this is the first time its happened in this house but the first time with us living here. I bought fans and dehumidifiers and lfited the floor as much as I could without damaging everything. Let it dry out for weeks and hoped for the best. Now I can smell a musty/moldy smell between the base boards and flooring. What is best plan of attack to fix this problem and clean it up?

1. Time frame?? Can I hold off on the job to save up some cash to pay for new floors? I can no longer get the flooring I have (flooring too old to find, already tried) and will have to do the enitre house approx. 1500 sq. ft.--the problem is located next to the a/c vent and i dont want the mold being sent to the entire house with a/c running...I love in miami and its hot!!

2. Is there anyway of killing the mold without having to replace the floor, or am needing to suck it up and start looking for new flooring?

Thank you for all your help and suggestions...I hope I have stated all the information but if there is something else that someone needs to know to help...let me know.

Lood forward to all your knowledge...good or bad news

Big Bob 08-04-2008 11:49 AM

Pull out your homeowners insurance policy and start reading.

This should be a covered loss under most HO3 & DP policies.

Carrier would owe for water damage not AC condensate repair.

Mold will have a limit on coverage: $10K is typical...

water damage to flooring etc. should be covered.

You have a duty after a loss to mitigate damages...and contact your carrier in a timely manner. Have an outline of your efforts ready... the adjuster will ask. Also ave a reason you didn't contact them sooner.

Good luck.

PS I'm a GC that specializes in insured loss restoration and also a FL licensed Insurance adjuster.

jstcruzin 08-04-2008 12:53 PM

Is it worth going to the insurance? I can't get the same floor and wouldn't they only cover the damaged part of the flooring, which i dont think is that much in relation to what would have to be replaced? I dont know I'm not by any means an expert on this matter.

Big Bob 08-04-2008 02:11 PM

Yes, it is worth it.
If floor covering can not be matched than repair is not an option.
Replaced area will depend on location of damage and layout of your home.

If damage is in the hall and hall opens (with cased opening) to the living room...then both would be replaced. Rooms that have doors and do not have damage to the flooring might be dealt with by installing a threshold or transition at the doorway in the hall.

The same would apply if you had carpet.

Your flooring needs to be removed to deal with the mold. care should be taken so that the mold is not spread through your home. This is not a good DIY project. Your carrier will pay for this per your policy and proper replacement of like quality and similar kind of floor covering.

Call your agent.

jstcruzin 08-04-2008 02:42 PM

Ok, called and set up the claim. How will the claim work? I'd like to be prepared. It isnt something you can see until they take up the floor and see where the mold has grown, correct? So how will they write the est. sight unseen? And will they just take my word that the flooring isnt availible anymore? Sorry, I'm new to the homeowner thing and I just know how a car estimate works with seeing the damage and writing what you see, if there is a suppliment it isnt usually a big isnt the same case or is it?

Thank you for all your help so far...I guess this is part of owning a home, right!

edit: The location is in a dining/family room and into the kitchen area the flooring is in all the house but the bathrooms and a great room off the dining room (as i think they are called down here in FL)

Big Bob 08-04-2008 04:25 PM

Good for you.. Yes this is some of the joys of owning a home.

Just tell the adjuster what you know. " I contacted abz, bcz, & cdz flooring and they all told me this flooring was discontinued." They will double check with their vendors...wouldn't you?

explain what happened.."AC condensate flooded the area. We did......and thought we had it dried out. Now we notice this Oder and are afraid it might be mold."

The adjuster will take it from there. Yes they will write up the damage that can be seen at this time. Should any additional damage be discovered you or your contractor must contact the adjuster and the damage will be supplemental to the claim. You will receive these instructions on the estimate. I have written supplements twice the size of the original estimate...the loss is what it is. Carriers and contractors will write line item estimates...they will use one of four estimating programs. Just give a copy to your contractor...they should do the rest.

Most carriers have a network of restoration contractors..The adjuster will bring this topic up. Citizens does not. If you have Citizens ask your co-workers, church members etc. for a recommendation. You want an insured loss specialty contractor...they will know how to handle your restoration...and deal with your carrier. Interview a few if you want..go with the one that puts you in your comfort zone . This should only cost you your deductible unless you want them to do additional work outside of the scope of the loss. If you can't find a good contractor let me know via PM. I will ask my contacts.

Is mold visible? They may want to pretest before restoration. If it shows up after a few planks are removed they may need to stop...cover it and call for testing. This is all to protect you and cover the contractor.. They may want to test after restoration is complete to confirm no contamination.

Adjusters come in all sizes of smart. If you had some old damage don't try to pass it off as new. Minor old damage on your flooring should not matter.

jstcruzin 08-05-2008 01:23 PM

I dont have Citizens right now but was going to be switching to them because my carrier just raised the rates $600 the coming year. I was wonder who I would have do the work a friend from work had someone they know put in new flooring for them, but im not sure about the cleam up of the mold. Can I do the demo part to help with the cost? Remove the baseboards, remove old flooring? I would like to save some of the deductible if I can...if not and a pro has to do the entire thing I would understand.

The mold is not visible, but the odor from the floor is very strong. I could start to pull out the baseboards and a few planks so the adjuster can see it, but I didnt know if that was a good idea for a couple reasons. Exposing the mold or if the adjuster would want to do it for themselves.

As for old damage there wasn't any we had just replaced all the baseboards and painted before this happened and I didnt see any concerns at that time so anything that turns up would be new. I'm not out to get anything extra out of the problem I wish the flooring was still availible and that this wasnt happening, esp. now...I'd just like to get it fixed before it becomes more of a problem down the road.

Bud Cline 08-05-2008 02:52 PM

Ever heard of Legionaires Disease?

Get that mold and crap out of there ASAP.:)

Big Bob 08-05-2008 03:00 PM

You should shop hard and long before you switch carriers. FL has a Insurance Crisis going on. Rates keep going up even though no hurricanes in the last two years. Carriers are dropping long term customers that are not as profitable and reducing their exposure. Citizens is no longer mandated by State Law to be the highest priced carrier of last resort, but you should be able to find a more competitively priced policy.

Again, This is not a DIY project, nor do you want some guys to "do it on the side". You need a professional that knows how to deal with all the variables on the project and communicate with the adjuster. Someone that has " been there, done that".

Have your tools ready and offer to remove some flooring when the adjuster is there. Don't tear it up...remove it only if you can put it back.
Have plastic and tape ready to seal off area if mold is there.

Discuss your deductible with your contractor... " can I do some of this and you apply it to my deductible?" Content manipulation...finish painting...might be line items on this project. The contractor should want to handle the floor demo so they can deal with the mold as they go.

If claim is over $XXXX.00 amount per the mortgagee clause in your policy the carrier is required to add your mortgage company on the loss draft (their check to you). If this happens call the loss draft dept. at your mortgage company for instructions. Your contractor can help with this.

The right contractor will make this process easy for you to understand.

Your expectations are reasonable "just want it fixed so I won't have problems down the road."

Has the adjuster contacted you yet? Scheduled an inspection?

If you want to be a little proactive...change your air filters ( hepa filter would be best) Your duct system may be tested and cleaned as part of the claim. The new filter will slow down spreading spores around the house.

PS. This odor could be coming from behind your baseboards. Water could have wicked up drywall. Your contractor will chase and find.

jstcruzin 08-05-2008 06:05 PM

Adjuster called this afternoon and set up a meeting for this Friday at 11.

Thanks for the filter idea I changed it yesterday thinking the samething that it can only help matters. These tests you are talking about for the walls, flooring and a/ they all have to be complete before work begins, even if they can see the mold (if its the case when we start taking things apart)? I have read that it can take weeks and into over a month to get results back on some of these tests. Telling you what kind of mold it is and so forth.

That was another concern of mine if the dry wall was effected and how much? and if it will be on both sides of the walls...I guess we'll find out come Friday when this process I hope gets going fast.

jstcruzin 08-05-2008 06:05 PM

What is Legionaires Disease?

Big Bob 08-05-2008 09:19 PM

Certain molds can cause health problems.

Florida is also the lightning capital of the world.
Do you drive a car?
Do you play lotto?

The protocol for mold remediation is followed when mold is discovered. They may have a short wait to schedule samples (testing) the protocol specified for the project should be followed. After the restoration, samples (testing) is also performed. When the results are complete, the before and after are compared. So you shouldn't have a big wait for lab tests.

Please know that mold is everywhere. Many good contractors have handled mold issues long before it became a popular boogie man living under your bed , in your walls , or under your floor.

Big Bob 08-05-2008 09:38 PM

when you fixed the AC condensate problem did you install a second or "back-up" drain system ? If not, you might want to do this. OR you could have all this fun again.

Let us know how your meeting goes with the adjuster.

Bud Cline 08-05-2008 10:08 PM

The source of your damage is why I mentioned Legionaires Disease. Here's the snippet from the above website I was thinking of when I mentioned it.


Where do Legionella bacteria come from?

The Legionella bacteria are found naturally in the environment, usually in water. The bacteria grow best in warm water, like the kind found in hot tubs, cooling towers, hot water tanks, large plumbing systems, or parts of the air-conditioning systems of large buildings. They do not seem to grow in car or window air-conditioners.
How do people get Legionnaires' disease?

People get Legionnaires' disease when they breathe in a mist or vapor (small droplets of water in the air) that has been contaminated with the bacteria. One example might be from breathing in the steam from a whirlpool spa that has not been properly cleaned and disinfected.
The bacteria are NOT spread from one person to another person.
Outbreaks are when two or more people become ill in the same place at about the same time, such as patients in hospitals. Hospital buildings have complex water systems, and many people in hospitals already have illnesses that increase their risk for Legionella infection.
Other outbreaks have been linked to aerosol sources in the community, or with cruise ships and hotels, with the most likely sources being whirlpool spas, cooling towers (air-conditioning units from large buildings), and water used for drinking and bathing.

jstcruzin 08-07-2008 05:49 PM

I was thinking about a back up system when it first happened, but now I should put something into action your right. I'll let you know what happens tomorrow...hopefully he'll be here around the time he said he would be here...unlike the cable guy!

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