Dealing with Mold


We’re in the middle of a DIY kitchen renovation.  The renovation is going great and will be over shortly, but the story of how it all started is an interesting one.   Back in September 2011 as Hurricane Irene was dumping lots of rain on the East Coast, Steve and I did a walk-through of our basement to see if we had any leaks.  We have been in our house for almost 5 years and (knock on wood) have never dealt with flooding in our basement, but these were exceptional circumstances.  

Steve made a disturbing discovery when he found that the plywood subfloor from the 1st floor underneath our sink area was not only wet but had large moldy spots.  After more investigation, he determined that our dishwasher had been slowly leaking for years, probably since it was installed which was before we even moved there.  Since it was a slow leak, our floor never flooded and the water just kept soaking through to the subfloor unbeknownst to us.

We had a mold problem.  Any area that stays continually damp will grow mold.  Mold spores are in the air, just looking for a nice damp place to take up roots and grow.  The real question was how to get rid of the mold and was it dangerous.  Most mold is no the scary black mold kind, but you can still have severe allergic reactions to common molds in the air and in your house.  After a phone call to a mold remediation company, not only was I shocked at how much they wanted to charge ($650!) to test what type of mold it was, I was scared that we were going to make everyone in our house gravely ill.  Fortunately, Steve, as my the voice of reason, convinced me to relax and found a less expensive service company that came out to determine what type of mold we had.  It turned out to be nothing of concern, but we still needed to get rid of it.

The issue was that the mold was growing underneath the kitchen cabinets, and we didn’t know how extensive the problem was.  The only way to figure it out was to take out the cabinets to see the floor and the walls.  Removing the cabinets meant removing our Corian countertops.  You can see where this is going.  We were going to need new countertops.  Once we made the decision, Steve started sawing the countertops into sections for easy removal.   He ended up replacing a significant portion of the flooring, painting not-so-bad areas with mold paint, rebuilding the sink cabinet, and replacing some drywall.  We were smart enough to have him do all this work with windows open, fans open, plastic hanging in doorways and no kids in the house.  Once you start working, you disturb the mold and into the air it goes.

Now we were mold free and trying to decide how to fix up our kitchen without breaking the bank.  As the ideas grew, we ended up in the throes of a full-scale remodel.   It has taken us a while to figure out a plan on how to make our ideas a reality, but we wanted to be cost-effective and make decisions that work for our budget, tastes, and capabilities.  The result is beautiful new cabinets, a layout that meets our needs and lighting that is bright and more effective.  And while people may look at us and question why it has taken so long, we are “this close” to having a high-end kitchen on a low-end budget.  Stay tuned for how we did it.

* picture source

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