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JDB 06-14-2012 01:52 PM

Cleaning up Mold Between Floors
About 9 months ago, my wife and I replaced a toilet that had a broken wax ring. We got some water leaking down to the ceiling on the first floor. Now I'm having what seem to be mold symptoms -- I get runny eyes, have trouble breathing, and feel nauseous when I go into the bathroom. (I'm pretty sensitive to mold; my wife feels nothing).

I think that we probably have mold growing from the original leak, so I've opened a small hole in the celing underneath.

I think I'm seeing some black wood in there (need a better flashlight!).

Assuming I am:

Is it o.k. to kill the mold by blasting ozone through a hole in the ceiling? I know this is generally not the recommended way to clean up mold; but I would do it by blasting for a limited time with no one in the house. I don't think there's anything between the floors I would need to worry about damaging?

I need to figure out if there's still a leak or some kind of humidity problem. Is it safe to assume that because the problem got worse there is? Should I try to find the pipes and see if they're leaking?

I would like to hire someone to fix the plaster ceiling. Is it going to cost a huge amount extra if I cut through the mesh and they have to replace some of it? Does area make a massive difference in price for that kind of job? For what it's worth, I'm fine having drywall put up instead of plaster.

Thanks for any help!

nealtw 06-14-2012 02:14 PM

Old plaster with oil base paint can hold a lot of water before the leak shows up and mold dosn't show up as fast as with drywall. At the time the leak was detected the ceiling should have been allowed to dry (a hole cut). As this is a toilet leak you may have more than just mold, it could have a fair amount of bacteria growing. If you are sensitive to this already it may not be a job for yourself. I beleive it has to be opened up and dried out, cleaned up, but protecting the livingroom and the rest of the house will be most important.

JDB 06-14-2012 02:36 PM

Thanks for this. That makes a lot of sense.

The toilet job was DIY, we didn't think to open up a hole in the ceiling.

I've got one now, with the dehumidifier on underneath.

Should I let that run for a bit or close up the hole?

I'd like to at least have a go at cleaning it myself, just to save some money. Do you think it's a terrible idea? We do have an industrial respirator, which I could wear. If it seems like a really stupid idea, do you know what kind of contractor I'd call? Any idea how much it might run to get it fixed?

Any opinion on using ozone in the area? My impression is that that will neutralize bacteria as well as mold?

Thanks again for your help!

nealtw 06-14-2012 04:16 PM

Hopefully more experienced people will come along, I don't know about ozone.
If I was going to tackle this, I would, use a resperater rated for this work and get a pair of throw away cover-alls and a face sheild and then build a poly tent to work in.
You could also have asbestos in the plaster and lead paint. You want to be annal about packing the waiste before taking thru the house and change shoes as you come out of the tent.

JDB 06-15-2012 10:32 AM

Thanks again! I've been hacking away at things trying to be as safe as possible.

I'm actually thrilled to be finding mold -- now I know where it is and can get rid of it. I've been using a cartridge type face-mask and don't seem to be suffering from the exposure. I finally feel a sense of hope!

Thanks again!

nealtw 09-27-2012 05:34 PM

Andy; It,s great you make some suggestions and post a link to your website. I doubt it will bring you many hits until you start giving good well thought suggestions. Chlorine is only used on solid surfaces and I can't immagine using a brush with it. Full strength or what?

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