Hurricane Harvey left us with quite a mess to clean up and after all the sheet rock was torn away by gracious members of our church (Second Baptist and #HoustonStrong), friends, and family we started the mold remediation process.
Before I continue I want everyone reading this to know that I am not a mold expert, nor do I claim to be. My husband and I researched options and this is what we did and what worked for us. As with any DIY project, do you own research and do what works best for you and your unique situation. With that said, if you haven’t seen my initial post after the hurricane you can read about that here.
Since we “only” got about a foot of water that meant sheet rock had to be removed one foot above the water line for a total of 24″. If you’re unfamiliar with sheet rock, it’s sold in sheets of 4×8′ or 4×12 commonly. So, with a 24″ line we could score the drywall / sheet rock and get two panels out of one sheet when we got ready to install. Before installation could take place the whole house had to dry out. This was a challenge simply because we live near Houston and the normal humidity is sometimes like a sauna and we had no power. Some very wonderful friends loaned us a generator to hook fans and dehumidifiers to in order to speed up the drying process. After about 3 days of that the power kicked back on and we were able to help the drying process by cranking down our AC to the coldest setting. Thank GOD our new AC still worked!!! Still it took about 10 days to completely dry everything out. Luckily a cool front followed the hurricane and brought with it some days with low humidity and that really helped things dry out.
Another great thing was that when the sheet rock, cabinets, and flooring were removed we got to it in time and there was no mold growth yet. Yay! Still we needed to take precautions. We bought some gallon jugs of pro-strength Clorox bleach and a pump pesticide sprayer to make application easier. After mixing a 50/50 solution (yes, my husband goes over board) he sprayed the entire house with this bleach solution. This would kill and inhibit mold growth while the wood dried out. It’s some powerful eye-burning stuff! If you ever have to do this and I pray you don’t, do it fast and leave! It’s just too strong and probably causes some major brain damage if you breathe it for too long. We also sprayed this solution on some solid wood pieces we left out in the sun to dry. Solid wood is great – even immersed in water it can usually be sanded and repaired.
After being displaced from our home for almost a week we really wanted to get “home”…or to some version of what home used to be. However, having a toddler made that a bit more challenging. My mom offered to take a week off work to keep our son with her and my dad so he wouldn’t get hurt in our house of exposed studs and electrical wires. After purchasing a new bed we were able to sleep the first night at home again and it was rough. Concrete floors, dust, dirt…it was just still so gross after all the cleaning and scrubbing. I think I bleach mopped our tile floor 5-10 times and there was still a layer of grime. Definitely no going barefoot yet!
Finally, we were ready to install sheet rock. My husband would have probably let the house dry for months for fear of mold, but we had to get something up to cover the walls before our toddler came home. Villarreal drywall to the rescue! These men got our drywall hung in less than 24 hours. Our house is a one story so it’s a lot of wall, even at only 24”! They were fast. We didn’t have them tape or float, just nail it up simply so our garage and exterior were insulated and walled-off and so that my kid didn’t think the studs were new passageways between rooms.
Click here to see exactly how the house looked. FYI I am not a great videographer so if you get motion sickness maybe skip this one. 🙂 Next week I’ll let you know how we tackled the cabinet situation for less than $1500.00!