Hey Everyone, I thought I'd share the rather exhaustive list of all of the things we have done to help get the mold out of the house, the mycotoxins tamed, fix water issues, and over all create a healthier environment.
I'm not quite sure this is the entire list but it is damn close to it, I will look back and update if anything seems to be missing. (I did leave out the purging of items and multiple EXTENSIVE cleanings of all items we kept during remediation and post remediation- but that's an entire other longwinded entry.)
I hope some of these ideas inspire you or give you something to think about on your journey...
(From Journal Entry dated FEB 2021:)
"We've done almost every single thing we possible could have to get our house free and clear of mold and/or moisture, here they are in order: -Hiring out for complete remediation/mold removal in basement. (We went with a team we met and had long discussions about mold illness with and felt out their the procedures of the remediation process. We also asked about adding on extra measures that we felt were needed due to my health concerns and they were very receptive.) -New gutters/downspouts for entire house, running at least 8 feet away from the home. -HEPA purifiers in every room upstairs, one giant Austin Air Health Grade Plus Air machine downstairs in the common open living room/kitchen/dining room. One Austin Air Purifier in our basement also. -Resealing concrete work and masonry sealer 60% of our basement walls where the moisture seemed to have seeped in through the sides in bad rain/snow melting. -Stripping the kitchen, the stairwell wall, and half our dining room down to original studs. Sanding, bio-ciding, and leaving to air out/stay open for observation for 3 months.
-During stripping the kitchen, We removed two layers of old kitchen floors and checked the original layer for mold, and sealed the original base floor of the kitchen.
-During stripping the kitchen, We removed all kitchen appliances and cabinetry. We threw out all base cabinets and appliances, and then checked/sanded/sealed/repainted all upper cabinets. (Saved those for rebuild phase.) -Hiring out replacing our cracked sewer pipe in our basement. -Hiring out replacing our entire leaky plumbing stack in our house. -Removing/Throwing out all cabinetry in our bathroom anywhere 3 feet away from plumbing lines. -Removing all bushes, trees, extra plant life anywhere up to 25 feet away from all sides of our house. (Thank you CHIP!) -Regrading the entire outside foundation around our house: concrete work and masonry sealer on two sides. Plastic sheeting and gravel on other two sides. -Treating with Benefect Deacon 30, or high grade hydrogen peroxide, 5 separate times over a period of 3 months when all building materials were open and being monitored for leaks or mold, before beginning to seal and re-construct the kitchen, dining room, and hallway. (No mold, mildew, smells, or visual signs of water damage were found on any wood remaining in any of the workspaces during that 3 months.) -Sealing the studs. -Rebuilding walls with mold resistant drywall. -Having entire ventilation system of the house cleaned out. Negative air pressurized suction and following with a tea tree spray coating. (Anti-bacterial/ Anti-microbial.) -Reinstalling new moisture resistant flooring. -Painting walls with Kilz Mold resistant primer -Repainting with no VOC paint -Resealing (against moisture intrusion) around the rear door of the home. -Resealing the windows downstairs of our home ...until we can afford to replace them. -Removing all carpet throughout the home. -Creating an easier access ceiling area in the kitchen in order to check on the main plumbing stack and under the bathroom in case we are worried about leaks in the future.
-Created an easy access panel in our hallway neat our main plumbing stack to check for water leaks in the future. -Installed a new plumbing line under our kitchen sink, replaced our old shallow sink with a very deep sink in order to lessen odds of splashing liquid out. -Added over stove ventilation to create negative air flow out of the lower level of the house. -Dehumidifiers in attic and basement set to 35% always on. -Humidity and temp readers in kitchen, bathroom, and basement.
-Installed new sink in bathroom with deep bowl to lesson splashing. -Bi-yearly Decon 30 or high grade peroxide sanitation of the basement, and Hepa vacuuming that follows in basement. -Nightly walks to the basement/around the house looking and smelling to check the environment.
-Seasonal Ozoning of the house, rotating floors each season."
We still have some upcoming projects (our roof & attic) in the spring- thank god for that grant coming through! Currently our ERMI/HERTSI is low enough that healing can begin, even though I know there is lingering mold to be dealt with in the attic.
While I am insanely reactive to mold still- our home doesn't bother me and it feels safe here. If we need to get into the attic, which we only do to empty the dehumidifiers and check for water leaks, we have a protocol for combating bring spores or mycotoxins down into the home and it hasn't been a problem for us.
I also want to add for all those concerned about safety during all of these projects and remediation/etc that we took every single precaution in as far as using correct containment, wearing protective gear, and maintaining sanitary spaces that we worked in. It was a HUGE pain in the ass, but since my family had to live in home during all of this we needed to be as extra careful as possible. We essentially divided our house in half for 5 months and lived that way. It was indescribably difficult to live that way and my husband and kids were amazing champions for dealing with it, but we made it through. I can share more about that another time if anyone cares to know about it.
In other news, I am pumped as hell to get this new roof soon, and to just enjoy healing in our home.
After all of this work, this really is our forever home and I am glad we chose to stick it out here and work with the bones that we knew instead of running in fear and starting over again somewhere new with the mold rodeo.
To my dad, Jim Hagen:
You are the absolute champion of woodworking and construction, master of patience, and an unwavering pillar of support for me and my family. We all love you tremendously. Thank you for everything. I am so ridiculously proud you are my dad and I have learned so much about construction and tools from you, and I will continue to pass those lessons on to your grandkids.
To Chip Nolan: I don't know how you decided that you'd give up an entire half year of Saturdays to help my family rebuild but know I am always and ever grateful for your help. You are the best. Thank you for climbing giant trees and demolishing them, and thank you for accepting my at my health worsts during the reconstruction phase and always being positive.
To Katie Ludwig, Katie Gaisser, Keith Wharton, Ryan Slomiany, Alex Desha:
Thank you all for showing up in every way you did to help us out when you could. It wasn't easy for anyone to find ways to help during a crazy ass pandemic when life was already such a wild nightmare. You all gave us: moral support, tools, your craftmanship, your professional talents, your hard work, some laughs when we needed them, and support in ways that we will never be able to thank you enough for.