Out With the Mold, In With the New

Me: I can’t figure out how to start this post.

Dave: I have some suggestions.

Me: Pretty sure my grandma reads here.

Dave: Oh. I have no suggestions.

I guess I’ll start by telling you about Friday night, back when we were starry-eyed first-time home buyers who thought things like, “We can totally get the flooring done in one day!” and, “Paying for an inspection is not a waste of money!”


Here is what the left wall of our kitchen looked like on Friday morning (except for the walls; those are gray now):

5 Sink Wall

Cabinets! Counters! Shiny sink!

And here is what it looked like 8 hours later:

Water Damage

Rotting wood! Mold! Heather’s tears!

It all started when we noticed that the floor in the kitchen/dining area was a smidge higher than the floor in the living room, which is a problem when you’re laying laminate flooring. We peeked under the particle board in the dining room, and realized that underneath was a layer of linoleum, plus another layer of particle board. So we pulled off the top layer of particle board and  scraped away layers of linoleum, and things were rolling right along until we got to the area in front of the sink. A big, nasty water stain ran along the entire row of cabinets and disappeared under the cabinetry. We knew we had two choices: cover it up and hope for the best, or rip out the lower cabinets, sink, and countertops and assess the damage. I chose secret option number three, and ran out to the side yard to cry into my can of Hurricane High Gravity. My neighbors must be delighted they’ve got such a class act moving in next door.

When I came back inside, the cabinets were gone and we could see that the water had soaked all the way through the particle board and down through the 2×6 tongue and groove pieces right above the insulation. Black mold was growing up portions of the drywall, meaning that they had to be replaced as well. Luckily, Dave’s dad and brother-in-law are DIY geniuses and assured me they could totally take care of this mess for us, and that it would be way better than my suggestion of burning the place down and making it look like an accident.

On Saturday morning we got up early and headed to the lumber store to gather supplies, and then there was a lot of sawing and hammering and Coors Light drinking. At one point there was a hole in the kitchen floor.


I “helped” by blinding the workers with the flash on my phone camera.

A few hours later, I walked in to the kitchen to find the most glorious sight I’ve ever seen (aside from shirtless Chris Hemsworth):

Finished Subfloor

Clean! Pretty! Not harboring toxic mold spores!

And then, because we were still starry-eyed first-time home buyers at this point in the weekend, we rejoiced that the worst was over and we could finally start installing our floors. Our jubilation lasted until we finished the kitchen and moved all the cabinets back into place. Which is when we realized that our new flooring was thicker than the old flooring, meaning the counters bumped up against the tile backsplash, creating a giant gap.


This discovery meant two things: 1) The tile had to come out, and 2) I will be faking my own death and leaving Dave to handle this mess. DON’T TELL HIM.

Removing Tile

And of course, the damn tile was the ONE project the former owners actually took the time to do right. Sure, they laid a layer of linoleum over rotten floors, let their dogs defecate on the carpet, and ripped the dishwasher right out of the wall like Godzilla, but they made sure the one row of tile backsplash could survive the apocalypse. The glue was so strong that portions of the drywall actually tore off with the tile.

Hole in Wall

Luckily by this point we had given up on anything going according to plan and were just thankful there weren’t locusts flying out of the holes and frogs raining down from the sky.

While all of this was going on, my dad and brother got started on laying the laminate floors throughout the rest of the house. (We love the floors SO MUCH, but you’ll have to wait until tomorrow to see them as they are currently covered in about a foot of sawdust.)

I should note that our inspection report did not include any mention of water damage in the kitchen. I was ready to give the inspector a pass — it’s not like he was going to rip up the flooring during the inspection, after all — but the guy we had install our carpets on Saturday saw the mess and told us that this should have been found. He told us that even if the inspector couldn’t see evidence of the damage under the house, he should have been able to smell the rotting wood/mold. So now I’m psyching myself up to call the inspector, which is a HUGE DEAL for me since I am very non-confrontational a total wuss. I’d say wish me luck, but it is clear at this point in this house adventure that luck wants nothing to do with me.

4 thoughts on “Out With the Mold, In With the New

  1. Pingback: Don’t Be So Dramatic | heatherhomefaker

  2. Pingback: Life Lately | heatherhomefaker

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