Sunday, August 24, 2008

Bye bye floor

Well the Cunning Plans Department (CPD) has sprung into action on the mould remediation mission and the spare room has been gutted. Built in wardrobe, floor boards, joists, the lot. To save dragging mould ridden timber through the house, it went out the window.

Several of the floor boards were so bad that they just fell apart when being ripped up. At the end, we now have a door to a hole in the ground.

As you can see, there wasn't a lot of space between the floor and the ground and the house foundations prevented any decent air flow. The CPD has also taken the opportunity to knock a few bricks out (into the rest of the under house space, not outside) to get some more airflow.

The current plan for the floor is concrete, with some kind of layer that inhibits moisture. The CPD has been asking around his connections to see if he can source some cheap. We're currently looking at around $2-3K to do the floor, then we have to decide what to put on the concrete. Probably carpet since it is only a spare room.

The mouldy floor boards have gone to the tip, along with the carpet and some of the other items in the room that had too much mould to save. The joists are piled in the backyard to dry out.

Unfortunately, moving everything out of the room has stirred up a lot of mould in the air. It got to the point last week where I thought I was coming down with the 'flu. I'd feel lousy in the morning, but once I got to work I'd feel fine. Then within an hour of coming home I'd start feeling 'fluey again. However it should get better as we clean things up.

And of course all the other items from that room are now crammed into other rooms and under the the stairs. This has provided a good opportunity to do some culling of stuff. So far I've dropped off two boot loads of stuff to the Salvos. Mostly bed linen (after it had a good wash to get rid of the musty smell), books and a few small furniture items.

I also unearthed two crates containing my old goth clothes and paraphernalia (candle holders, incense burners etc..). The clothes have been washed and the other stuff I'm cleaning up and it will go on ebay in the near future. It will probably make some young emo very happy.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Well that explains a few things...

I'm allergic to mould. I'm not sure exactly which moulds are the worst, but my specialist recommends avoiding as many as possible. I've been on immunotherapy for moulds (along with cats and dogs) for around 4-5 years now. There was a big improvement in the first 3 years and then the symptoms started to come back.

One of the theories is that there may be a correlation between the increase in symptoms and when we moved into our current house. It is set into a hill and gets a bit damp downstairs. We've had forced ventilation installed under the house and G has been doing other bits and pieces to try and get some better drainage happening. The other day he went under the house and noticed that the corner that our spare room sits over is a bit of a "deadzone" in terms of airflow and that the underside of the floor boards was looking mouldy. That room always smells musty and we don't use it much, so it was a good candidate for phase one of ripping up the carpet and checking the state of the floorboards.

So today, with the help of a non-allergic friend, the spare room was emptied. When the filing cabinet was moved, here is what was underneath:

Well that explains why I always felt crap after being in that room for longer than 5 minutes and why the files always smelled like mould. Within about 15 seconds of me coming into the room to see the mould patch, my sinuses exploded and I had to flush them with saline solution, take an antihistamine and stay upstairs for a while.

Other patches were found under other bits of furniture. The carpet was quite damp. G cut the mouldy patch out of the carpet and the underfelt was also manky. So that went and the floor boards underneath were soft.

All the carpet in the room has now been ripped up and the floorboards washed with a bleach solution. The floorboards will probably have to come up as well. This picture shows the spidery black tendrils of the mould spreading across the floorboards:

This isn't boding well for the rest of the downstairs floor, but it does mean that we can do some mould proofing when putting in new floor. Looks like we're in for a bit of work on the house. If it was a better market it would be tempting to just sell the house and buy one that doesn't have a mould problem. Depending on how we go with abating the mould and whether that makes a difference with the allergies, we may still have to look at moving.