Tag Archive for mold

Bathroom Reno Part II

This bathroom, like most projects, evolves with its own momentum. The last post was before eight-plus hours of wallpaper scraping, which I’m grateful is over given the current heat wave in the Northeast. My contractor followed up with two layers of skim coating to get the old bathroom walls smooth again. Keeping things clean during days like this is a bit of a blur, but my secret is Seventh Generation wipes. They’re free of toxins, and come in handy at midnight when it’s time to clean up the wallpaper reno, and every second lost means less sleep.

Amid this, it was time to address mold in the bathroom closet, which looked like it had been there for years and thankfully no longer active. I called in my environmental service company, and they didn’t think it was anything harmful, as the area was completely dried out. Cutting out that section of wallboard, he advised, would eliminate the issue, and the need for having it tested to confirm just what kind of mold it is.  The room would need to be draped with plastic to avoid dust migrating elsewhere in the house. He gave me specific instructions on how to ‘DIY’, and thankfully my contractor team took it on. The EPA has specific how-to’s on treating and eliminating mold that are a go-to source for dealing with this potentially health-compromising problem. When more help is needed, getting a certified mold-abatement firm to assess the situation is a next step.

With the prep finally done, it’s time to prime and paint the bathroom walls.  I’ll be using eco-friendly Ivy Coatings Primer and eggshell. The glossier top coat will be more mold resistant than a flat finish. The inside of the closet, where the mold was, I covered with Benjamin Moore Regal Satin left in the basement from the previous owner. Most BenMoore paints are mildew-resistant and low-VOC according to newer formulations that deputed just a few short years ago. If it was an unhealthy paint or varnish, it wouldn’t be worth re-using it for the possible health risks involved, but recycling better paints can be good for the planet, and for us. The Freecycle Network is a resource for recycling (and accepting) paints and as the name implies, it’s all free.

Day One: Family Safety During Reno

We closed on the house today!  As a single mom, I’m grateful and blessed for this opportunity.  After all the formalities, my first trip was to the hardware store to get “outfitted” for reno this afternoon with protective goggles, face masks, and heavy-duty gloves. The EPA covers the basics of what’s needed in protective gear in their “Good Work Practices During Remodeling” — definitely a must-read before starting any home reno project.

Children need special protection from the pollutants lurking in old homes because pound for pound of body weight, they take in more air, consume for food and drink more water, according to the Alliance for Healthy Homes, an essential resource for parents thinking about remodelling. Kids also tend to play close to the ground, where toxins such as lead often settle.  Frequent hand-to-mouth activity also places children at greater risk than adults.

In short, kids should not come in contact with any remodelling or construction work area.  Despite their curiosity, they need a safe space until both the work is done and completely cleaned up, whether that means living with family or friends temporarily, or sealing away the work area according to EPA standards.  Keeping kids completely off the property is the family rule for the Healthy Home Project.

With this house, the asbestos was thankfully removed several weeks ago when the boiler leaked and had to be replaced. I got the certification papers at the closing showing that the house is now asbestos-free.  When choosing an abatement contractor, the company must be licensed and have a good reputation…to avoid surprises. I asked for certification of their work on company letterhead documenting what was done.

This afternoon I took down drop ceilings in four rooms.  Two of the rooms had two ceilings each…one over another. It wouldn’t have happened without assistance from a young man who works at the local hardware store and was an amazing help!

Recapping Day One…have in place a safe family living arrangement during renovation, keeping children away from the work area, get proper protection for the job at hand, and accept help when needed!