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Flooring and Carpeting/Hardwood floor water damage and possible mold


hallway floor
hallway floor  

Larger hallway pic
Larger hallway pic  
The hot water tank in our home in the mid-west failed and lost it's 40 gallons of water.  This water was channelled from the mechanical room in the garage under the walls and traversed our home in between the hardwood flooring and the decking under it to the other end of the house.  The areas under the two affected carpeted bedrooms were dried out and padding removed within 48 hours and seem that they will be fine after replacing the carpet and padding in those rooms.  The hallway and into the living room however had hardwood flooring.  It is pre-finished wood and the restoration company the insurance sent out placed fans on it along with a dehumidifier.  These were placed on day two.  On day three rescue pads that sucked air up through the hard wood were placed to help remove the moisture.  As this happened on a Wednesday we had all these machines running until the following Monday.  On Monday the adjuster and the restoration rep decided it was time to remove the machines and demo the hard wood from the affected area.  It sat like this, without fans, etc.,  until Thursday when they removed hardwood from the affected area.  The day after demo was done fans were placed back in the hall along with the dehumidifier again.  It has been this way since then and I was told due to the sponginess of the OSB it would be this way until at least Sunday.  Right now I'm worried because although they have been spraying some solution on the floors and previously on the hardwood since day two we may have gotten mold.  I'm having trouble telling if that is in fact what it is or not and I've included a picture so you can see what I am seeing.  I would like to know if you think it is mold and if I should press the insurance company about the mold and the fact that the OSB is spongy since the restoration guy said they likely grind it down after and I worry this will affect the hardwood being replaced.

I appreciate your time in answering this,

Sounds to me you've been thru a real nightmare!  It certainly does look to me like it could be mold.  Its very hard to determine, but all that water is what mold likes.  As far as the moisture on the OSB - an installer needs to test for moisture before putting down the floor. Every manufacturer has guidelines for this.  For your protection, I'd want to review the results with the installer.  

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Carol Blaha


Flooring questions: Specification, Warranties, Inspections, Product Knowledge, Enviromental Issues


I have been in the field 25 years, first as a specifier, then retailer and currently manufacturer representative on contract with 8 manufacturers, independent inspector and conduct moisture testing. Founding board member of the CO Chapter, US Green Building Council

WFCA (World Floor Covering Association), NTCA (National Tile Council America) SCRT (Society of Cleaning & Restoration Technician), ASTM F60, (Environment) and F06 (Resilient Floor)

Colorado Real Estate Journal, Smart Buildings

MBA, CTC (Certified Tile Consultant), RRT (Carpet Repair & Reinstallation), CCT (Carpet Cleaning Technician, ISSI (Substrate Inspection) and completed coursework for Independent Ceramic Tile Inspector, Hardwood/Laminate Inspector and Senior Carpet Inspector. Scheduled to complete Independent Resilient Inspector in April.

Awards and Honors
Multiple Awards for Salesperson of Year and President's Club

Past/Present Clients
Clients include Fortune Co's to mom and pop

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