Go Back  DoItYourself.com Community Forums > Interior Improvement Center > Framing, Flooring and Sub-Flooring
Reload this Page >

Whats this black stuff under the linoleum in my bathroom?

Whats this black stuff under the linoleum in my bathroom?

Reply

  #1  
Old 02-14-09, 08:44 PM
M
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Newbury Park, CA
Posts: 16
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Whats this black stuff under the linoleum in my bathroom?

Its mold, it most definitely is. I started tearing up the linoleum in my bathroom (I had a mask on luckily) and notice its very black and moldy underneath. I keep pulling it up because I'm curious how much infestation there is of this stuff. Its all over. I'm in a raised foundation, and the underlayment seems to be integrated with mold. I've stopped work to call in an expert. But is there anything I can do in the meantime to maybe stop this infestation? How dangerous is this to me? (I'm ventilating my house like crazy now). I've also noticed two spots of dry rot, one near a wall and one near the cabinet in the kitchen. Any ideas how far this stuff can spread? The walls seem fine.

Picture 1 Picture 2
 
  #2  
Old 02-14-09, 11:20 PM
D
Member
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Midwest
Posts: 72
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
I looked at your first picture and I would agree with you from looking at the pic, it appears to be mold.
You said,"I had a mask on luckily"
Those paper masks will not protect you from mold spores. You need to have a respirator with the proper filter.

"How dangerous is this to me?" That depends on the tolerance level of each individual who is exposed to it, what kind of mold it is, and how much exposure you have to it. It's not good for you either way.

(I'm ventilating my house like crazy now)"
How are you doing that?
That room should be sealed off and if there is a window in the room a fan should be put in the window blowing out. Also if there is any supplies or returns for heating and cooling in the room they need to be sealed as well as the door.

"But is there anything I can do in the meantime to maybe stop this infestation?"
Yes, stop feeding it! Reduce the humidity, stop the water leaks/condensation, and remove the food.

"Any ideas how far this stuff can spread?"
Yes, it will continue to spread as long as it has what it needs, food, water, and temperature.

You have the potential for a major problem going on there assuming it is mold. I'm guessing you have worked in the area and then moved through the rest of the structure. I am also guessing that what ever was removed was carried through the house. If that is the case then it is possible that high densities of active mold spores were disseminated through out your home.
Also if your heating /cooling blower turned on during this destruction..

Any way you get my drift.

I am not familiar with the term "raised foundation" please explain. I am sure I know it by a different name but just to clarify.
Also , if you called in an expert, why is he not there within 3-5 hrs of your call. Any supposed mold remediation expert knows time is essential in protecting the occupants.
 
  #3  
Old 02-15-09, 04:45 AM
GregH's Avatar
Super Moderator
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Manitoba
Posts: 10,181
Received 49 Votes on 46 Posts
There is no need to panic and you did the right thing by asking for help.
Assuming you haven't, you also did the right thing by trying to do battle by not drowning it in liquid bleach.

Desert Eagle is pretty much spot on with his suggestions.

I will add that the proper mask would be one that is N-95 rated but there is a problem with paper masks in that unless you have been fit tested there is an 80% chance it will not fit properly and leaks will render it useless.
You need a half face respirator style with 100 rated particulate filters to be safe.
There is a good chance that this mold is of a less virulent strain but you really can not take any chances that any one in your family is sensitive to it.
Also, if the spore count is very high you could develop an allergy where you did not have one before.

In addition to offering the advice that you call someone to deal with this I urge you to use great caution if you are going to call your insurance company.
Most insurance policies have a "not insured" clause for damage caused by mold and will not pay for mold remediation.
If the damage is more widespread that that one room and you want help to pay for damage repair do not use the word "mold" when trying to make a claim.
Refer to it as water damage.
 
  #4  
Old 02-15-09, 11:21 AM
M
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Newbury Park, CA
Posts: 16
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Thanks for the replies guys... Some more info and some questions:

I was using one of the n95 paper masks when I was tearing up the floor, but I'll probably go get a plastic/rubber one before I go in again.

I was ventilating the house by opening windows and doors and propped a fan in the window of the bathroom on high when I was working in there. I threw the linoleum out the window when I had removed it to throw it away. But I did wander through the house. I'll have to seal the vent I think, but I did put plastic on the door. Its not a complete seal there are gaps around the edges. I had spent some time inside then outside when I was working to get some fresh air.

I bought this house in August and finally got around to wanting to reclaim this bathroom by tearing up the flooring and fixing it. This bathroom has not been used since I bought the home. I imagine the 4 kids in this house had caused this problem with getting in and our of the shower/bath... Luckily I'm not staying there at night, so I'm not breathing in the stuff all the time. Is it safe to remove it by myself or hire a general contractor to take care of it and fix up the bathroom? Or do I have to call a mold remediation expert to do the tear out?
 
  #5  
Old 02-15-09, 06:02 PM
D
Member
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Midwest
Posts: 72
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
When you read my following replies keep in mind I am not there and have not seen it first hand, nor am I familiar with any local or state codes in Ca. so with that said.

Yes you can remove it yourself and with the proper precautions it will be as safe as it can be when dealing with a potentially hazardous material.

After the info you already read here you probably know as much or more then your average contractor when it comes to dealing with mold.

As GregH mentioned most insurance won't cover mold, use the proper terminology if you submit it.

A mold remediation expert will rob you! Just from the little I know of your project you can expect about a 10-15K bill to have a supposedly certified mold remediation company clean it up and that won't include putting anything back together. It may be higher then that, I am going on prices in my area.

We use Valprene and Fosters products for mold, they both work well and should be readily available at most commercial cleaning supply houses. A little pricey for a one time DIY project but way better then following the EPA recommended practice of using diluted bleach.
 
  #6  
Old 02-15-09, 07:40 PM
M
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Newbury Park, CA
Posts: 16
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Do you think it would be fine if I leave the mold on the floor exposed for a week if I seal off the doorway and vents? I'll have to work on it next weekend due to work constraints. I don't mind tearing out everything, it lets me put it back however I want. I'll look for the fosters or valprene to see if I can scrub that it for the week to fight a little bit. My biggest concern is mold spreading up the walls in a short period of time. The walls in the room were recently painted and they don't show any signs of mold luckily, but we'll see.
 
  #7  
Old 02-15-09, 08:19 PM
airman.1994's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: VA
Posts: 5,795
Received 8 Votes on 8 Posts
Sealing the room for a week would be fine! If you are just looking at removing the sub floor it should be no more than a grand.
 
  #8  
Old 02-15-09, 09:20 PM
D
Member
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Midwest
Posts: 72
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Once again I am not there. There are things that I would just see and know when on site and not ask about.

I think you have probably already spread the spores through out the house and HVAC system. No big deal to remedy.

If it is possible leave the fan in the room window on all the time unless it is blowing directly into your neighbors house and you will be fine letting it sit a week. Shut off the HVAC system and close up the rest of the house except the fan in that room.

Generally speaking most bathrooms have mold in them and you will usually find it after you open up the walls.

"My biggest concern is mold spreading up the walls in a short period of time. The walls in the room were recently painted and they don't show any signs of mold luckily, but we'll see."

It won't happen quickly if you have reduced the moisture content and changed the temp.
Painting is an easy way of covering up surface mold.That is a common practice among rehabber's/ flippers in this area.

If you have a lot of mold on the sub floor near a wall, in most cases you will have mold on the base plate and the back side of the wall covering.

If the mold is into the base plate then you have to decide on weather you want to lift the walls and replace the sub floor and plate or just do a treat and seal.

Something to keep in mind, mold spores are every where, they will only grow if they have the right food, temp. and moisture level. Change any one of those requirements and it will not grow.
 
  #9  
Old 02-16-09, 03:45 AM
C
Member
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 82
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
1. Most molds are harmless, no more than a mild irritant. This stuff is everywhere, in your shoes, gym bag. Use sensible precausions 100p at least or fresh air respirator are the correct precausions. Tyvec tuxedo would also be a good idea.

2. Id cut a hole in the subfloor and check for infultration to your floor joists(this isnt likely).

3. If the inspection in #2 yields nothing, remove the underlayment and inspect the subfloor. Trace amounts off mold can be killed. 10/1 water/ bleach. dehumidifier and leave your WC vent on. repeat(make sure you kill it all).

The contractor will want to replace everything with a speck of mold on it( i would too $+ sucess rate= pro) so he can guarentee's the mold not returning.
 
  #10  
Old 02-16-09, 09:59 AM
M
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Chicago
Posts: 1,011
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Every mold problem is - or was - a water problem, you need to address the cause of the elevated moisture in the sub flooring, if the mositure level remains elevated mold will return.

----------

Based on what I've read the health implications of mold for average individuals in typical residential settings are frequently overstated, and this is consistent with my practical experience - I find active mold growth somewhere at many home or condominium inspections I perform, but average homeowners are not complaining about mold related heath issues.

However, I'm not a microbiologist, epidemiologist or industrial hygienist, so I when I find mold I direct clients to source materials written by such specialists to obtain an objective perspective on mold heath issues.

For example here's what the US Centers for Disease Control say about the heath effects of mold:
"Some people are sensitive to molds. For these people, exposure to molds can cause symptoms such as nasal stuffiness, eye irritation, wheezing, or skin irritation. Some people, such as those with serious allergies to molds, may have more severe reactions. Severe reactions may occur among workers exposed to large amounts of molds in occupational settings, such as farmers working around moldy hay. Severe reactions may include fever and shortness of breath. Some people with chronic lung illnesses, such as obstructive lung disease, may develop mold infections in their lungs."

- How do molds affect people?
And this is from the EPA:
"Molds are usually not a problem indoors, unless mold spores land on a wet or damp spot and begin growing. Molds have the potential to cause health problems. Molds produce allergens (substances that can cause allergic reactions), irritants, and in some cases, potentially toxic substances (mycotoxins). Inhaling or touching mold or mold spores may cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. Allergic responses include hay fever-type symptoms, such as sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, and skin rash (dermatitis). Allergic reactions to mold are common. They can be immediate or delayed. Molds can also cause asthma attacks in people with asthma who are allergic to mold. In addition, mold exposure can irritate the eyes, skin, nose, throat, and lungs of both mold-allergic and non-allergic people. Symptoms other than the allergic and irritant types are not commonly reported as a result of inhaling mold... "

- Can Mold Cause health problems?
And here's what one consulting industrial hygienist has to say about "toxic black mold":

"Over the years, we have frequently encountered many people who ask us what toxic mould (toxic mold) looks like? There is no such thing as “toxic mould” any more than there is “toxic milk” or “toxic walnuts.”

While it is true that some moulds may elicit an anaphylactic attack resulting in death, the same may be said about cheese, or peanuts, or pine pollen, or cat dander. The term “toxic mould” was a creation of drama seeking newspaper and television journalists attempting to sensationalize what is otherwise a very boring and mundane occurrence. Similarly, the term “black mould” is a creation of the news media, since even pink moulds such as Phoma or fluffy white moulds such as Trichoderma (seen here growing on a large sonotube)or a member of the Absidia (growing here on a floor joist), may become black upon death and with subsequent oxidation.

"Black" moulds could include an huge variety of very different organisms, indistinguishable by their "blackness," such as Alternaria (here growing on a ceiling in a meth-lab), or a member of the most common mould on the planet, the Cladosporia (seen here harmlessly growing on the underside of a crawlspace access panel) or the dreaded Stachybotrys atra, (seen here harmlessly adhering to styrofoam). Some organisms, such as Torula may be black or white depending on the growing environment.

Sensational claims about mould induced “brain fog,” toxic mould syndrome, and a variety of other claimed maladies have, for the most part, been debunked and shown to be mostly fear-induced symptomologies not related to any kinds of indoor fungi."

- Indooor Fungi!


Hopefully, these sources will help you evaluate the likely heath risks of your exposure when lifting the floor covering.

----------

Home Inspection: ""A business with illogically high liability, slim profit margins and limited economies of scale. An incredibly diverse, multi-disciplined consulting service, delivered under difficult in-field circumstances, before a hostile audience in an impossibly short time frame, requiring the production of an extraordinarily detailed technical report, almost instantly, without benefit of research facilities or resources." - Alan Carson
 
  #11  
Old 02-18-09, 03:03 PM
M
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Newbury Park, CA
Posts: 16
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Tonight I'm going to don the gloves, mold abatement respirator, and some cleaning materials and try to kill the surface mold before the weekend. After reading about "toxic mold" and learning in most cases its a farce. I can't do any tear down this week, but I might on the weekend. I just want to kill some of the surface mold so that it stops producing spores since the air in the house is getting stale and we had some rain lately. Two questions:

1) Does home depot normally carry some type of mold killing cleaning supplies?
2) What should I do about the dry rot I found in two places now, before I tear up the floor and remove any dry rot I found, to inhibit or stop its spread?
 
  #12  
Old 02-19-09, 01:34 AM
C
Member
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 82
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Ive been paid to do several mold removals. Diluted bleach as i stated before does the best job for the price. Just make sure you dilute it enough or it wont work. I know that sounds odd but its true. 10/1. Buy a cheap fertilizer sprayer and have at it. You really should remove all that underlay though, its beyond salvage.
 
  #13  
Old 02-19-09, 09:14 PM
D
Member
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Midwest
Posts: 72
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
mreaston,

Not to step on any toes here but like gregh and I both said. DON'T use bleach. Especially diluted bleach.
Bleach is effective in removing mold on a NON, I say again, NON porous surface, you are dealing with a porous surface.

Just a quick fact: bleach is 95 % water and about 2-4 % chlorine.
Chlorine evaporates about 2x as fast as water.

So dump straight bleach on the porous surface, it will kill the mold for a day or two. But then what happens when the chlorine is gone, water is left. What does mold need to grow? water/moisture.

I thought I made that clear in previous responses, along with most contractors don't know how to deal with mold.

To answer your questions.

"Does home depot normally carry some type of mold killing cleaning supplies? " NO.
Sure, they have bleach, ammonia, and various other stuff that does not work on Porous material.

2) What should I do about the dry rot I found in two places now, before I tear up the floor and remove any dry rot I found, to inhibit or stop its spread?

Remove and replace as needed.

Bottom line is look at your structure as a whole entity.
 
  #14  
Old 02-20-09, 11:43 PM
C
Member
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 82
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Desert Eagle View Post
mreaston,

Not to step on any toes here but like gregh and I both said. DON'T use bleach. Especially diluted bleach.
Bleach is effective in removing mold on a NON, I say again, NON porous surface, you are dealing with a porous surface.

Just a quick fact: bleach is 95 % water and about 2-4 % chlorine.
Chlorine evaporates about 2x as fast as water.

So dump straight bleach on the porous surface, it will kill the mold for a day or two. But then what happens when the chlorine is gone, water is left. What does mold need to grow? water/moisture.

I thought I made that clear in previous responses, along with most contractors don't know how to deal with mold.

To answer your questions.

"Does home depot normally carry some type of mold killing cleaning supplies? " NO.
Sure, they have bleach, ammonia, and various other stuff that does not work on Porous material.

2) What should I do about the dry rot I found in two places now, before I tear up the floor and remove any dry rot I found, to inhibit or stop its spread?

Remove and replace as needed.

Bottom line is look at your structure as a whole entity.
Good post again and obviously anything other than surface mold(thats what the bleach is for) needs to be replaced. Then of course kept dry.
 
  #15  
Old 02-23-09, 11:38 PM
M
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Newbury Park, CA
Posts: 16
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Alright all, I removed that layer of linoleum and plywood from the bathroom. I was very very surprised that the plywood was still very moist. I found another floor (linoleum or vinyl) under that floor which probably kept the liquid in the plywood. But for 6 months? Is that crazy? I checked the nearby plumbing and didn't see anything to indicate a leak. I did find some bent copper pipes that they had done to route them to this bathroom but they weren't wet in the walls or under the house. I also crawled under the house to check on the sub-floor from below and it looked okay.

The second layer of linoleum I'm going to test for asbestos, then rip it up or call in the experts. I did notice a lot more dry rot than I did before that I probably didn't spot. The second floor is on top of particleboard, which is probably holding a lot of water itself. Or is that better at resisting moisture?

Also, in the kitchen I had some asbestos removed there, the subfloor is in pretty good condition, two spots appear black with dry rot or old mold, but I really don't know if its active or not. I'll remove as much as I can. Also around the cabinets and perimeter of the room there appears to be dark/water-stained wood. How bad could this be?
 
  #16  
Old 02-24-09, 02:26 PM
D
Member
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Midwest
Posts: 72
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
"But for 6 months? Is that crazy?" No that's pretty normal.

"Or is that better at resisting moisture?" No, it will absorb it and start coming apart just like plywood and OSB.

" Also around the cabinets and perimeter of the room there appears to be dark/water-stained wood. How bad could this be? "

Is it baseboard, some type of wall covering? If its been wet you probably have mold on the back side of it. Pull a piece or 2 and take a look.

Sounds like your getting after it!
 
  #17  
Old 03-06-09, 12:35 AM
M
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Newbury Park, CA
Posts: 16
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Been a while since my last reply. A picture of the floor I have yet to remove (I hope to get to it this weekend):


I had asbestos in my kitchen that I had professionally removed, they removed the linoleum and the underlayment. After they left I noticed the following spots in around the side door and the back sliding-glass door. I can do my best to get it up in the subfloor. But I'm guessing I'll need to open the wall a bit to take a peek at the wall studs? I'll probably have the sliding window replaced soon probably be professionals. Also the water stain around my cabinets looks to be okay but I have no idea where its from, thoughts?

Side Door:


Sliding-glass door:


Under dishwasher:


Cleanout under laundry-area


Under dishwasher
 
  #18  
Old 03-21-09, 12:28 AM
M
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Newbury Park, CA
Posts: 16
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Pulled up the second underlayment in the bathroom, I'm now down to the Subfloor. Its not that bad but its not that good. Around the tub and toilet is pretty bad. One problem is the tub has an interior and an exterior wall since its in an alcove. I need to remove the tub, I know. I believe they used concrete for the shower surround, so I don't know what that is going to do with the possible mold. You can kind of see it below. I think I'll remove it and use cementboard or maybe concrete around the shower? How hard can that be... Pictures to follow. Any helpful advice?

Also, how can I easily remove screws that are rusty and have lost the screw head, any advice?

Exterior-facing side:


Interior-facing side:
 
 

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
 
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Description:
Your question will be posted in: