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How to Deal With Water Damage and Mold After a Hurricane

  • Transcript

    LESLIE: Now we’re going to Texas where Linda has mold and mildew all over the house?

    Tell us about it, Linda.

    LINDA: Well, we had this hurricane called Rita.

    LESLIE: (overlapping voices, chuckles) We heard about her.

    TOM: (overlapping voices) Yeah, we heard about Rita.

    LINDA: And (overlapping voices) home after being evacuated, part of my – the shingles had all been blown off the roof and in one of my rooms I had a lot of water damage. And by the time we were allowed to get back in here, there was mold and mildew all over that room.

    LESLIE: So it’s inside the house.

    LINDA: And so when we open the front door, I mean you smell that smell. So the spores and everything are all over the entire house and what I need to know is what is – how do I get rid of it?

    TOM: Has the roof leak been fixed?

    LINDA: No, we have tarps on it.

    TOM: OK.

    LINDA: But there’s so much damage here that the contractors haven’t had time to come and actually fix it. But there’s no water coming into it at the time.

    TOM: Well, you’re doing the right thing now. In this room that’s affected, how much mold is there? Is it all over the room? Is it a small amount? I mean describe it to me.

    LINDA: It was on – well, the water came in through the air conditioner vent and through the –

    TOM: OK.

    LINDA: – in fact, the sheetrock is like bowed where the water came in.

    TOM: OK.

    LINDA: And that whole wall right there close to that, it just ran down that whole wall.

    TOM: First of all, all the drywall obviously has to be torn out. Have you done that yet?

    LINDA: No, but it’s going to be done.

    TOM: Yeah. The first thing I would do, I think spraying it with bleach is a good idea because that will kill the mold. The second thing you’re going to need to do is to take out all of the damaged drywall. Now when you put that back, you have the option of using drywall or you could use a mold-resistant drywall which might make you more comfortable.

    LESLIE: Yeah, it’s a great product. It’s from Georgia-Pacific and it’s called Dens Armor Plus and instead of having a paper facing on it, it has a glass facing so it doesn’t provide any of the food source to what would cause the mold to grow. So it gives you a good surface to paint on, to put wallpaper on – any kind of finish that you want – but it takes away that food source. So …

    TOM: I think you’re going to be seeing a lot more of Dens Armor-type products being used as we rebuild storm-damaged areas because it makes so much sense. I mean drywall, it’s just very, very susceptible to mold. That’s why it grows so quickly. And some of those molds could be stachybotrys which is fairly toxic and can make you really sick.

    LESLIE: But that looks fairly different from your regular, average mold. That’s more black and really sort of looks threatening.

    TOM: Yeah, it’s a very dark green, black, nasty mold. Exactly. It’s possible that it could be traveling throughout the rest of the house but I – it sounds to me like you have it contained pretty much to this one room. So unless you’re seeing visual signs of mold in the rest of the house, I would just concentrate on getting it cleaned up in this room. You know, the truth of the matter is that mold spores are really a part of the environment and unless you’re letting them grow throughout the house, I wouldn’t worry too much about it at this point. I would just get that one room clean up, get that roof leak fixed.

    And by the way, when you fix the roof, you want to use ice and water shield along the front edge, which is a waterproof membrane that will stop any leaks from backing up along the gutters. And then, instead of putting regular building paper on it, there’s another product called Tri-Flex 30, which is a reinforced building underlayment that’s only a few dollars more than building paper and …

    LINDA: Tri-Flex 30?

    TOM: Tri-Flex 30, yeah. If you go to GraceatHome.com – G-r-a-c-e-a-t-H-o-m-e, GraceatHome.com – you can get information on where to find those particular products. But they’re great for areas that have been affected by the storm because when these products are on your roof, even if your shingles blow off, you won’t get leaks.

    LINDA: That’s neat.

    TOM: Yeah, because the tar paper just blows right off like crazy. It’s a little bit different way of building a roof and it will make it virtually leak-proof.

    LESLIE: Now if she has any concern about the other rooms and they do need some freshening, would you recommend putting like a KILZ or some sort of a mold-killing primer?

    TOM: Not necessarily. You know, if you’re going to prime and paint any of those rooms, you would use an appropriate product like KILZ. But you know, if you’ve got the water leak stopped and it was going on for a fairly short period of time – a week or whatever it was – and you get that …

    LINDA: I think it was like two days, yeah.

    TOM: OK. So yeah, I’m not really too concerned about the rest of the house with just a leak that lasted only two days.

    LINDA: Thank you guys. I really appreciate it.

    TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

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