Mold, plaster ceiling, hardwood floors. Long story.
I tend to ramble yet manage to stay on point with details, so my apologies in advance.
I am new here and seeking some advice or suggestions.
I live in a single family home, Cape Cod style house. It was built in 1941 I believe, and there have been no significant renovations or work done since original construction, just paint and a new roof about 20 years ago.
On the second floor we had a long term issue with a leaking air conditioner, unfortunately this issue was not realized until it was potentially too late.
Directly below the window that the AC unit was in there is significant (in my limited experience) water damage to the hardwood floors, which are original.
To my best estimate, the duration of the water source was from May 2013-Sept 2013. No other water has come in the house since then. The issue is completely isolated to the left portion of the home, the center stair case being the divider.
The boards have begun to split, and in some areas the finish has dissolved?
At first it seemed to be isolated to that area, however on the other side of the room I see boards splitting but no damage to the finish.
For months I've been convinced that there is toxic mold in the house due to the water damage. Honestly, I am physically ill from either the mold, or my own mind.
Yet two different companies tell me that there is only surface mold in the house( dining room ceiling). They went in the eves and pulled back the insulation, and said there were some water stains, but no mold. Also they said that the wood was "tanned", but normal and nothing to be concerned about.
Directly below this second floor bedroom is the dining room. The ceiling and walls were re-painted about 10 years ago. Green/black mold is visible and spotting across the entire ceiling. You will not notice it at all, unless you look up and inspect the ceiling. If there is low lighting in the room you can see dark patches, the size of a dinner plate, scattered across the ceiling. The "mold" company told me it was due to the pattern of the paint. I thought I was crazy noticing this, but when I mentioned it to both of the companies they could see it as well and discounted it as nothing.
They said if I was so concerned, that the only way to be sure would be to tear down the plaster ceiling. I don't even really know what its made of. Its been there for 70 years and has never been touched.
How can these people tell me there is nothing wrong, but then suggest the only way to be sure is to rip out the ceiling!!!????
Personally I am in disbelief, I thought these people were going to tell me the worst case scenario, and they are telling my there is no issue..
I'm lost guys, where do I start? I can provide pictures if needed.
I am vacating this structure in the next few days.
A 1940's age house probably has drywall (sheetrock) as opposed to plaster-lathe walls, others here will know better. So replacing the ceiling may not be as dire a project as you think. If it makes you feel better, it can be done. I think that's the message the mold company was trying to say.
As for the splitting in the hardwood floors; since it has happened on the far side of the room also, it is likely not related to the water damage. hardwood floors can dry out over time and this may be what happened.
As far as your not feeling well - it is possible that you can have a "reaction" to the dust or insulation caused by the mold company poking around.
Of course, it's hard to tell anything definite from just your description, but these are some possibilities / thoughts.
Drywall was around in 1940 but not very prevalent so I doubt if you have that and what you have has also been sealed with oil based paint, a few times likely.
I would damage the ceiling in a closet to find out what you have for sure. !940s houses usually dry out pretty good but that depends on what they used for insulation. If the floor has to be repaired as in replaced, that is where I would want to dig in and inspect the ceiling below.
You could always have an air test done.
And welcome to the site.
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