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Help. We bought a house 2 yrs ago and remodeled it to within an inch of its life. Both my husband and I have mold allergies. The house is on a slab so we pulled all carpet and put in moisture barrier and new bamboo flooring. The flooring is continuous throughout the whole house. In Jan the water heater leaked and took out the flooring in a couple of rooms. We had a water remediation company that dealt with the damage and we hired someone to rebuild. Now we have several areas in an adjacent part of the house smell like mold and the flooring is been getting ever so slightly warped - I thought maybe the flooring was installed too tight but the boards are getting increasingly worse. There is no other evidence of the mold besides the faint smell and us getting sicker and sicker. I called the water remediation company who said there is no way for them to determine where this is coming from. I had a leak detection company come and they determined there is no active leak from our plumbing. They found several areas of moisture, ranging from 25-30% and said that is way too high, we either have damage from the water heater in Jan or we have drainage problems. How the heck do we figure out if we have drainage problems without ripping out the flooring? If we start ripping out the flooring and it lets mold out we have to move. The water remediation co does not want to be involved unless we determine they are the cause. Is there someone who can say for sure we have drainage problems? I am so confused as to what to do next.

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My initial reaction is that it is still moisture from the January incident.

Concrete can be water-tight but most poured slabs are still very porous and water will seep into many of tiny bubbles of the concrete and persist for a very long time. Though the remediation company may have come and dried the floor, the slab may still have water and it is evaporating. Replacing the floor too soon may have just trapped the moisture, slowing its drying and placing your flooring into nearly direct contact with the moisture, barrier or not. Your climate could affect this too, live in the southern US for example it is going to take a lot longer to evaporate than in Colorado.

I personally would rip up the flooring, buy just a consumer grade dehumidifier and run it for a few months; wait a month without it running and then test for moisture again. Testing the sheetrock near the floor with a hydrometer will also help determine if there is a moisture problem too.

It is a pain, but the pain and patience will protect your investment. Selling a house with suspected mold is not always easy, but not disclosing the damage is also risky.

By drainage problem you are a bit vague... or they were. If it is a problem with the sanitary line, it might require a plumber to determine that and at worst, digging up the slab! Drainage problem could be also that your landscaping is holding water up against the house which eventually could make its way into your living spaces as moisture.


One other thought.

If the flooring had been reinstalled in the winter, it could be the changes in humidity that could be stressing your flooring. But given your situation and what some professionals have told you, I would find it unlikely.

  • Thanks. The area in question was not dried in Jan since they didn't think the water has made it that far. Also, the leak company said that we could have drainage problems but did not specify any reason that would happen. – alex Jul 20 '16 at 22:43
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You can get a test done which shows the types and amounts of mold in the air, as well as on surfaces. Companies will do these kinds of tests, and there are also at-home kits you can buy. Not sure of the efficacy of the home kits, though. You can also get a plumber (or yourself) to feed a camera down your drain pipes, to see if there are any leaks. If there is a leak and it's close to a drain, though, (carefully) removing the flooring may be the only way to confirm it.

  • My caution with mold testing is that mold is everywhere, all the time, whether you have a problem or not. The tests pick up the mold that is just naturally in the air, and make people panic over everyday environments. Starving the mold is the best way to avoid it. – RomaH Jul 20 '16 at 21:33
  • @RomaH Mold testing involves taking samples from both inside and outside the home. The outside tests will set the baseline level for your area, so you can know if the levels inside the home are of concern. The air tests will also determine what types of molds are present, so you can make a truly informed decision on how to proceed. – mmathis Jul 21 '16 at 15:08

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