Nervous About Mold

We have an upstairs laundry room.  The hose came out of the washer and flooded the entire laundry room and caused water to drip through the lights of our kitchen, which is just below the laundry room.  To drain the water, we cut holes in the ceiling of the kitchen (a few small ones) and let them drip for about a week.  Then we just patched them up because they appeared to be dry. Now those patches seem to be sagging, though there is no moisture that we can feel.

I'm wondering if there could still be water damage in the ceiling.  There is no staining anywhere, and no mushrooming of the laundry room vinyl flooring, but could there still be water damage that we cannot see?  This is a new construction home and had mold treatments done on it before the drywall was put up. I am nervous about mold growth though.
Brenda S. 10-7-06

I have good news - and a little bit of bad news.  First, the good news is that I think it is unlikely that you have any mold problems.  Mold needs three things to grow:  air, food and water.  While there is plenty of air and drywall is a terrific mold food, the fact that your leak was a one-time washout means that there's not much moisture left to feed a mold problem.

Now, for the bad news, it sound's like your drywall ceiling is damaged.  If it took "about a week" for all that water to drain out, I am almost certain it is.  You were correct to put holes in the ceiling to drain the water, but I suspect that you did not put enough, or that you missed the lowest part of the ceiling where a good part of the water collected.  There is one thing, though, which I'd like you to check before giving up on the ceiling.  I'm wondering if it is the drywall, or the just the patch that is sagged. To find out, take a very strong flashlight and hold it up close to and parallel to the ceiling.  As the light washes over the ceiling, you should be able to spot exactly where the sag is.  If it is the ceiling, then the drywall is permanently damaged and would need to be replaced.  However, if it is just the patch, perhaps the repair work wasn't done too well and can be done again.

If you do end up replacing the ceiling, I'd recommend a product called Dens Armor Plus, made by Georgia Pacific.  It looks, cuts and is installed like drywall - but with one key difference.  Dens Armor Plus has a fiberglass face that won't feed mold, instead of a traditional paper face that does just that.

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