Archive for July, 2012

This Old House – Our Water Damage Repair Project

Friday, July 6th, 2012

In the master bathroom, the old cast iron tub/shower drain pipe has been leaking, apparently for quite some time. On Sunday, the pipe reached a total break point, which let the drain water from a bath to pour down the backside of the sheetrock wall between the next room. Hearing the water gushing, we had to pull the bed out of that corner of the room away from the wall to discover the carpet was saturated with drain water and starting to mold, and the lower corner of the sheetrock wall was soft and wet. That room is my daughters room, filled to the brim with 20 years of knicks knacks, books, girl stuff. It had to all suddenly be pulled from the room. She was horrified and in tears.

Even though it was Sunday late afternoon, we were able to reach a plumber who said he could come out Monday morning. Most of Sunday evening we packed Syringa’s stuff into many boxes we’d saved from moving so many times, and we packed the boxes into my Volvo to take to the storage unit. I moved my favorite things out of the little room and she moved into it. I had to rearrange and move furniture all over the house in order to fit Syringa’s bedroom furniture in some new livable location, because I could see the water-damaged room was not going to be habitable for awhile.

Monday morning Joe the Plumber arrived. This man was courteous and efficient and he was able to replace the broken pipe without too much trouble, for under $300. (While he was here, I showed him some future project points, such as ?a new small basin? in Syringa’s bathroom, and a repair of a faulty valve in the shower of the master bathroom.)

Getting a handle on the leak, I progressed to finding someone to come and get the wet moldy carpet out and haul it away, as soon as possible, not only to get the mold out, but to start the drying out process. I found a company that works with property managers to quickly handle cleanout jobs, and they could send a guy out the next day on Tuesday, perfect! He arrived late morning, a very nice clean-cut young guy who cheerfully cut up and pulled out the old carpet and pad underneath in the 10′ X 15′ room, packing the mess into many large plastic garbage bags which he had to carry out one by one, out of the house, up the stairs to the upper carport parking pad and load into his van. Yuck!!! A couple of hours, and a bill of $275.

Underneath the carpet, we found oak hardwood flooring. Many years ago, whoever had laid the carpet had staple gunned the carpet pad to the floor, all down the length of the room, several rows of staples about 3 inches apart, and now each of the staples had a tuft of rotten carpet pad hammered down underneath. After the guy had swept up and left, I spent a couple of hours carefully pulling each staple out of the flooring (I figured over 650 or so) and cleaning up the bits of carpet pad. I put down a strong Borax solution on the wet stained wood floor and scrubbed along the edge of the wall floor board. Borax is said to be one of the best non-toxic products for stopping mold growth.

Wednesday was the 4th of July. We were lucky to get those two service guys out so quickly, and we were also lucky in that finally the weather is warming up and drying out. It has been such a cold rainy year, and this house was feeling damp! Now we know why, especially that was so. . .

Thursday I neatly cut away the soggy lower corner of the sheetrock and revealed the tub pipes behind the wall. The old pipe insulation was horrible, wet and moldy, as well as the backside of the cut away pieces of sheetrock, and I cleaned it out with gloved hands. I put a lamp in the corner and we have a fan going, with the windows open. Now we have to wait until everything dries out completely. The oak flooring in the corner is pretty wet, slightly buckling, but not too bad. It feels solid to stand on, not rotten and soft, but it is darkly stained in spots. After it is dried and sanded, it could be OK.