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So, I’ve been saving my mold story for a day when my stomach can handle it. Because really, is there anything more unnerving than a mold-infested, 1,200 sq ft basement?

design_for_mankind 2010-06-22 at 12.52.00 PM

It's like a scene from a horror movie, yes? (And I'm not talking that hideous wallpaper...)

And to reward you all for coming along for the bumpy, spore-ridden ride, Husband and I have a special video treat for you at the end of this post. That’s right; we’re sharing our inspiration board in hopes that you’ll enjoy a sneak peek of what’s to come in our humble little home. (If we ever get there!)

First things first. Mold is dangerous, and this is the one area that I don’t always recommend a DIY technique. Because Husband and I had dealt with mold on a small scale, we felt confident in handling our abandoned basement. However, if you’re either (a) impatient or (b) prone to cutting corners, this is not the job for you.

We're shaking in our Hazmat boots.

We're shaking in our Hazmat boots.

If you’re up for the task? Read on, friends, as we’ve got quite the to-do list for you!

1. Do your research. There are billions (maybe a slight exaggeration) of types of mold that require entirely different treatments. In our basement, black mold was pretty prevalent, which was an easy (another slight exaggeration) fix for us. There are, however, a few mold scenarios that I would never recommend tackling yourself. Get the facts about mold at CDC and EPA before embarking on a potentially life-threatening project.

2. Get the look. Outfitting yourself for mold clean-up is key, and this is not an area where I would skimp in an effort to save money. Mold remediation can be expensive, but without the right tools, you’re in for a dangerous situation. Here’s what we used in our basement (and what I’d recommend you use, as well):

design_for_mankind 2010-06-22 at 12.27.18 PM

Behold, your mold remediation wardrobe!

  • A full mold remediation mask (we used this one and loved it!).
  • A full body Tyvek suit/coverall (these are cheap enough that I’d invest in a few, as they’ll tear).
  • Rubber gloves (these are a great option when working with chemicals).
  • Duct tape (Husband and I used duct tape to seal the suit to our gloves, keeping air out).
No, you're not looking at some fancy abstract wall border...

No, you're not looking at some fancy abstract wall border...

3. Stop the source. I know you’re dressed to kill at this point, but take the time to stop the source before removing any existing mold. Whether your home has suffered a broken pipe or malfunctioning sump pump, fix the source of the problem before tackling the aftermath. Basic equation, right?

4. Get to work. Here’s where the fun part begins. Time to battle those spores!

  1. Install a HEPA filter in your vacuum (we used an industrial ShopVac, as we had a lot of square footage to cover!) and begin vacuuming any large spores you can see. Don’t be afraid to use your rubber gloves, as this step is sometimes labor-intensive and your vacuum will need all the help it can get!
  2. Invest in a proper-sized dehumidifier (we used this model) and keep humidity below 60% to avoid additional mold growth. You’ll want to check on your dehumidifier every few hours, depending on the amount of moisture you may have in the area. We found emptied ours at least six times over the course of a 24-hour period.
  3. Once all mold is vacuumed, use a garden sprayer to apply AfterShock directly onto the moldy surfaces. We found it less expensive to buy the concentrated chemical and mix/dilute it with water at home. (According to the instructions!)
  4. Spray the AfterShock formula thoroughly on small areas then brush with a plastic-bristled broom. Repeat until entire surface area has been treated. Note: Although mold doesn’t grow on concrete, it’s important to treat these areas, as well.
  5. Continue emptying out your dehumidifier. You may notice a build-up on the coils from your chemicals and mold. If so, simply remove the coils and wipe clean with a damp cloth.
Goodbye, moldy ceiling!

Goodbye, moldy ceiling!

That’s it! Less difficult/daunting than it may seem if done correctly. Although time-consuming, we saved a lot of money by tackling the job ourselves. Ready for the breakdown?

A quote from a national mold remediation company estimated that the job would take one week and $28,000. Our DIY version? Three weeks and $550. A job well done, right?

Of course, you can bet that after we’ve cleared our home of mold, we’ll be investing heavily in mold prevention forever.

And now, the light at the end of the tunnel? A video treat for those who have stuck around through the ugly parts of this renovation: our inspiration board! Enjoy, and we’ll see you next week!


Design Inspiration

35 Responses

  1. Design Milk (Jaime) says:

    HAHA I love how Ken says "Hot Dog!"

  2. erin / dfm says:

    He's something else, isn't he? ;)

  3. Uncle Beefy says:

    Maybe you can just send me "your" inspiration board when you two are done? Better yet, wanna do a "fun" project by taking on my house next? Pro bono? ;) LOVE your choices and can't wait to see the progress!

  4. erin / dfm says:

    Ha — thanks, dear! I have a feeling this will be just the beginning. We're sort of addicted to house renovations! Fly me out and we'll talk. ;)

  5. kgseymour says:

    Gorgeous choices — I love all the white so much, but with our dogs (and my complete lack of cleaning skills), it's a no-go over here. Can't wait to see when you're all done though!

  6. erin / dfm says:

    Ha — we have dogs, too, and are taking our chances! ;) May end up re-painting at some point… :)

  7. Starlet5 says:

    That mold looks CRAZY disgusting…you guys rock! And I love the style direction. Can't wait for the next update. :)

  8. Jessica says:

    Ok Erin,

    First off.. you weren't joking when you said you had mold. Ick! Nasty. Thanks for the step by step play book on how you DIY'd it.

    Next, your video. Well, I'm maybe a little biased (because I think you're the best gal in the whole world), but I LOVE YOUR VIDEOS! I really feel like we're just having a coffee talk and going through your tear sheets. I also feel good about myself because I've saved the same barn door photo! Yay!

    I cannot wait to pop over to your house once it's complete for the grand tour.

    I don't think I can wait for next month for a video! More more more!

  9. erin / dfm says:

    You are sooooo kind, you guys. Glad you're loving the videos and Ken's sassy little "Hot dog!" thrown in there. He likes to jest. ;)

    And mold? Ick. Email me if you need help — or maybe some cookies. It's a tough job!

    p.s. I love you back, Jess! Barn doors forever!

  10. judy mahuron says:

    what a great project! i admire the spunk of anyone who could see the potential of that basement space. more videos, por favor!

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