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END MY NIGHTMARE - Renting, damp basement floor, drywall mold, floating laminate

END MY NIGHTMARE - Renting, damp basement floor, drywall mold, floating laminate

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  #1  
Old 06-29-13, 01:11 PM
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Exclamation END MY NIGHTMARE - Renting, damp basement floor, drywall mold, floating laminate

Someone help me end my nightmare, please!

My partner and I just moved into an apartment with a basement. We need the basement space for storage and as a guest room.

The landlords gave us permission to do work on the basement.

Before moving in a contractor friend of his gave us an estimate to frame the walls and ceiling and install flooring. I had done research about keeping water/mold from becoming a problem and what he was saying didn't sound right to me but I left it in his hands.

The walls were framed with regular drywall (not mold inhibitive). The floor was installed with rosin paper on the bottom, a 2-in-1 underlayment over that and then floating interlocking laminate (Shop Project Source 7-5/8-in W x 50-3/4-in L Winchester Oak Laminate Flooring at Lowes.com) over that.

Two rooms received flooring while the third which contains the washer/dryer was left bare.

A number of problems have happened since then:
  1. I had a problem with the washing machine late one night and ended up with water all over the floor. That water made it's way into both floored rooms but likely saturated one completely while it left the other only mildly damp.
  2. The non-guest room developed black mold on the drywall. The floor was removed and found to be soaking wet underneath (this was around a week after the flooding from the washer). All flooring was disposed of and the drywall was sanded by hand. After sanding a spray was applied to prevent more mold growth. Unfortunately it keeps coming back on the wall. Every 2 days I go and sand it off and spray again.
  3. The concrete floor is getting very damp across the whole basement in large splotches. I had already removed some flooring in the guest room and the paper underneath, but today I saw that some of the paper was now wet from the natural dampness of the concrete.

I don't know what to do. My plan is to leave the non-guest room without a floor. But the guest room needs one. I bought the flooring already to replace what's been removed (about half).

I am prepared to now do the work on my own as I have lost faith in trusting someone just because they are known as a contractor.

What do I need to do to be able to have a floor in the guest room without fear of mold being caused from the dampness? What needs to be underneath to be safe and in what order?

Right now we do not have a dehumidifier but I plan on getting one.
 
  #2  
Old 06-29-13, 03:07 PM
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Welcome to the forums! You haven't been here long enough to know my disdain for laminate flooring, so here goes. Laminate flooring is either MDF or HDF with a picture of wood on it and a coating of Aluminum Oxide for a finish. At best, on a scale of 1-10, it ranks <-5. Did you get your washing machine repaired? You may want to consider a washer pan with a pump on it to preclude this from happening again.

OK, did your "contractor" do a moisture test on the concrete before he began? Did he tape a 3' x 3' piece of clear plastic to the floor and let it set for a few days? If the floor has inherent moisture it will show up as water droplets on the plastic. Did he tell you the reason for rosin paper? Did you provide the underlayment approved by the flooring manufacturer? Or just the cheapest on the shelf?

Mold won't go away. If you don't get every spore, it will begin to procreate almost immediately. Only mold remediation companies have good success at removing the mold like what you are experiencing.

Bottom line, you spent 68 cents per square foot, plus rosin paper, plus underlayment for your laminate. You can spend about that same amount and tile the floors and call it a day. Tiling is not rocket science, and you need something more than a wood (MDF) mess.
Now, you are spending another 68 cents plus underlayment to do it again. Getting bit by the same snake twice doesn't cut it. You need the rooms, and obviously your "contractor" let you down. We can walk you through tiling these floors. Don't lay down laminate again, until you do a moisture test.
 
  #3  
Old 06-29-13, 03:28 PM
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Hi Chandler. Thanks for your reply. Some quick items:

The floor gets very damp in some spots - a finger wipe will leave moisture on your finger.

As we're renting I'd like a solution that is easy for the landlords to do away with if they aren't happy with it.

I was thinking of laying down 1" XPS and then putting the laminate over that. (No rosin paper, no underlayment). But honestly I'm very much a novice hence why I allowed myself to get into this mess in the first place.

As for the mold I may have to cut away the drywall and dispose of it. It's been contained to that one room and only certain spots on the wall but it's being stubborn.

Can I do a moisture test with your average saran wrap?
 
  #4  
Old 06-29-13, 04:34 PM
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By laying down XPS, all you are doing is standing on a milk crate while the boat sinks. You still have water under it all. I agree with your method and need of removing the bottom portion of the sheetrock. You need to wear a double respirator and safety goggles when you do this. Mold spores will be released into the air and are not your best friend.
The moisture test should be done with clear plastic, probably in the neighborhood of 6 mil. You can get a small roll of it at paint stores or box stores. Tape it down on all edges using painter's tape. I have never heard of using Saran Wrap, but if you can get the sticky mind-of-its-own stuff to lay down flat so you can tape it, you may have a winner.

Let us know what the moisture test says. We're here.
 
  #5  
Old 06-30-13, 05:00 PM
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Kitchen aluminum foil will work as a moisture test, tape all edges with a sealing waterproof tape, not duct tape. The installation instructions are listed next to your product, this included;

Installing the Vapor Barrier
Concrete sub-floors must always be covered with a 6 mil vapor barrier even if
linoleum, PVC or resilient vinyl is firmly attached to the concrete. The 6 mil film is
laid in strips running in the same direction as the laminate flooring planks. The
strips must be overlapped by 8 inches and joined together by moisture resistant
tape. The film should be run up the walls 4 to 6 inches and later folded or cut
back after the planks are installed to fit behind the base moulding. For installation
over a concrete sub-floor, a calcium chloride moisture test kit is recommended.
Without a documented measurement of residual moisture content, an expansion
claim against the manufacturer for damages cannot be considered.

Foamboard is a good floor insulator and moisture retarder, to a point. You could also use Delta FL , Enkadrain, Dricore or similar, with/without some floating plywood; http://www.buildingscience.com/docum...g-your-basment

Figs. 2,3; BSI-003: Concrete Floor Problems — Building Science Information


IMO, rosin paper is not recommended under any floor as a slip sheet because it bleeds, and has a perm rating over 50.

Gary
 
  #6  
Old 07-01-13, 10:22 AM
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Thanks for your input Gary. I had originally looked at DRIcore before we had talked to the contractor but it's an expensive option. We moved to this rental in order to save money and now with the cost of having to redo a reno the savings are quickly disappearing.

My emotions are making this process difficult for me.

Just now I put down saran wrap with duct tape but was only able to get one square down do to all the dust on the floor underneath. I also still have a good portion of flooring installed not to mention a lot of our stuff (furniture, boxes, etc.) is in the basement on top of the floor so maneuvering is a bit difficult.

I'm thinking everything may have to be moved upstairs, the floor taken out and then swept and possibly mopped clean and let dry before I can actually begin to fix this space. I'm just stuck in the past hurt of having to take on this work myself when I already paid to have someone else do it.

As for the mold I've resolved that I will be getting a drywall saw and cutting it away. But if I wanted to patch up the parts that were cut away how difficult would that be? How much will I have to worry about drywall dust getting everywhere? Again, I have a lot of stuff in the basement now and some of which is valuable costumes which cannot simply be cleaned if dust or mold get on them. They're in a sealed garment bag but it's semi-permeable in order to breath.

Something that I haven't dealt with is how to dispose of the moldy flooring materials. I don't know how to - they're outside in a trash can waiting for me to move them. What is the proper way to dispose of mold? We also have building materials like drywall, stud wood and insulation that needs to be disposed of, how can I dispose of those?

One step at a time I guess. What will the moisture test actually tell me?
 
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Old 07-01-13, 04:35 PM
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Yep, one step at a time. I would do the sheetrock repairs before I cleaned the place up. One mess....one clean up. If your trash pick up will take bulky items, just tie the flooring in bundles and place them on the street. The moisture test, if positive, will tell you that you don't want to put down laminate without preventive measures.
 
  #8  
Old 07-02-13, 03:39 PM
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Update:

Bought a drywall saw and cut away the worst of the mold today, which reminded me of something... The contractor never installed a vapor barrier on either side of the studs. So the configuration is a wood stud frame with batted insulation with NO barrier on either side and then the drywall on the outside.

I didn't go exploring too much but the concrete wall behind the insulation seemed a bit damp. Not wet, but just from my quick observations damp.

Also on the bottom studs the mold had gotten through and left pink spots. Does this need to be sanded? Sprayed with something?

I don't know why a vapor barrier was never installed when we had agreed that one would be. Never again do I stay so much out of what's going on - no matter how busy I am dealing with other things like packing and planning.

(Still angry.)


So the square I got down in the room that seems to have little to no mold (the guest room) so far doesn't have any moisture on either side. But I'm not positive that it's sealed to the floor since the floor was very dusty. Does that make this test unreliable?

Thanks again to all who are helping. This truly is my nightmare as I am a clean freak and a health freak and specifically expressed multiple times my desire to NOT have to deal with mold.
 
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Old 07-02-13, 03:58 PM
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Does the batt insulation have a paper backing against the sheetrock? Most batts consider that a vapor barrier if it has a tar like backing in the paper. Moisture against the concrete wall is not good. It tends to say the landscaping, gutters, downspouts, etc have not done their job in keeping water away from the foundation. Any clues on that?
 
  #10  
Old 07-02-13, 09:14 PM
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The batt insulation did have a paper backing against the sheetrock.

I'll have to check the wall again for moisture tomorrow. The contractor did address a missing gutter outside the room by installing one with a downspout. We've been having heavy rain and some rainwater was getting in the very old windows we have. So one day I had gone out and noticed he never put down a splash block. I went out and got one and aimed it away from the corner of the house the downspout terminates at.

There is a small concrete area at the base of some stairs that lead to another apartment in the house outside that same window. I've visually examined it and I believe it slopes away from the house slightly. On the other side of that corner is just grass as far as I recall. I don't believe I saw puddling or anything that should be concerning.
 
  #11  
Old 07-03-13, 11:34 AM
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Another update.

The moisture test in the "guest room" still shows no signs of condensation.

I took out some more of the moldy drywall in the "storage room". What I found was that one wall had made the insulation wet. The bottom studs were also wet. Picture:

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As you can see I removed some of the insulation. On the left you can see some green mold which I also removed.

I wasn't really planning on reflooring this room anyway, but how much do I need to worry about the walls now?

Can I rely on the moisture test in the "guest room" now to assume that that room IS okay for flooring?
 
  #12  
Old 07-12-13, 03:31 PM
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Your slab is wet? Or the wall bottom plate? Describe the wall make-up; drywall, fiberglass insulation batt (faced), ?? is that a black board? pictured?

Poly vapor barriers are not required/suggested in basements as they do more damage than prevent for your location-- foamboard is suggested to stop condensation/mold, then cavity insulation of choice; BSD-103: Understanding Basements — Building Science Information

Gary
 
  #13  
Old 07-16-13, 02:54 PM
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Thanks Gary.

The wall is: Cement > Wood Framing & Batt Insulation (paper facing the interior) > Regular Drywall

I've cut out a lot of the drywall to control the mold. Other than mold control I'm done with this room. Once the mold is gone I will use it for storage (items off the floor on shelves).

The other room has much more favorable conditions with little to no dampness on the floor. I plan on putting down 1" XPS and floating laminate over that. I've resolved that I'll have to rent a miter saw and make a day of it. It will be a learning experience.
 
 

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