Black mold all over drywall = hypochondriac's nightmare!?
July 15, 2010 8:25 PM   Subscribe

My bathroom has black mold growing at the top of the wall/edge ofthe ceiling. The wall is white paint over drywall, and the paint has been blistering and revealing thick black mold under the paint/ on top of the dry wall. This area of my bathroom sometimes leaks due to another leaky bathroom being located rght above my bathroom. My questions: 1. How quickly do I need to take action 2. Can I resolve this myself, safely 3. If I clean it, what chemicals do I use 4. If I clean it, what safety gear do I need (breathing mask, gloves, etc) 5. If I clean it, what are my health risks and can they be easily treated with antibiotics/quick doctors visti? 6. Should I burn the house down and run right now?
posted by thankyoumuchly to Home & Garden (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Seek professional help immediately. Do you rent? If so, involve the landlord ASAP. I can't imagine how bad the mold must be with the leaky tub above you. Don't mess around with mold.
posted by studioaudience at 8:30 PM on July 15, 2010

Black mold is a pretty serious problem and the room likely has to be gutted to the studs and rebuilt entirely. This isn't really something you can likely do by yourself, im sorry to say.
posted by dfriedman at 8:31 PM on July 15, 2010

Maybe this link will help:
posted by studioaudience at 8:33 PM on July 15, 2010

I had a bathroom with a teensy little bit of mold. I ended up having to gut it back to the studs and even replace some studs. I think that there are probably some Very Bad Things behind that drywall.
posted by Ostara at 8:33 PM on July 15, 2010

Yeah, I would let a professional handle it. One of my friends tried to clean some mold that came from a leak outside her apartment wall and ended up with a nosebleed. Another friend's doctor prescribed her an inhaler due to a breathing problem she picked up from the mold in her apartment. (yay for student housing...)

Mold is disgusting and dangerous, so you should let someone knowledgeable deal with it.
posted by joyeuxamelie at 8:33 PM on July 15, 2010

Black mold can be deadly if left to fester long enough. Even if it isn't black mold you need to get it professionally checked out to make sure. Make plans to use another bathroom in the meanwhile. I'm sorry about this, and hope you have a responsible landlord.
posted by Mizu at 8:35 PM on July 15, 2010

This should be obvious but I'll say it anyway. The mold will never go away for good until the other leaky bathroom is fixed.
posted by mmascolino at 9:51 PM on July 15, 2010

Ditto. Given that the mold is "thick," this is a serious problem that you don't want to deal with. How close is your bedroom? You should probably start planning on moving now. Especially if your bedroom is nearby, you won't want to be living there during cleanup unless your landlord hires a top-notch company that sets up a plastic sheeting enclosure with negative air pressure, HEPA filtration, and a decontamination chamber.
posted by slidell at 11:57 PM on July 15, 2010

How long has it been there? Have you been around it for a while and no one is getting sick?

I know this is going against the grain - and I am not your doctor, nor your lawyer - I work in construction. I am an electrical estimator. Fifteen years ago, mold was not that big of a deal, and people were not falling over dead from it every week.

Today, well I have seen many mold issues get blown out of proportion. There are goingh to several companies that you bring in to look at this that tell you - in order to get all the mold, you need to take the bathroom back to the studs, treat, and re-build. In other words, in their mind, cha-ching, we can force this guy to do a complete bathroom re-model.

If I were you, I would get some estimates, just to see - But if it has been there a while, I would deal with it my self. Tape the door shut air-tight. Put a powerful fan in the fan to air it out. Wear a mask. Then go to work with boric acid. Boric acid is what any professional is going to use to get the mold. Maybe cut a few whole in the dry-wall, and pour copious amounts of boric acid down the walls.

But like I said, I am not your lawyer or your doctor.
posted by Flood at 5:18 AM on July 16, 2010

If mould is visibly and thickly coming through the drywall from a bathroom above, that means the cavity behind the drywall is totally saturated with mould, the studs and joists are eaten through with mould, and that the least thing that needs to happen is that adjacent walls/ceilings/floors should be stripped to the studs so the damage can be assessed. By people wearing respirators.

I agree with Flood that mould can be no big deal, but the situation you describe is the complete opposite of a simple case of surface mould you can wipe out with some boric acid. Even if you do kill what you can see, there are pounds of it behind the wall that you can't see but are releasing spores even now and spreading throughout the building's infrastructural cavities.

It's impossible to predict if someone will be affected by mould spores, many are not. The key problem is that if you do get mould in your sinuses, it is difficult to eradicate once it takes firm hold. And the deleterious health effects from that last a lifetime.

If it's an apartment, you need to notify the landlord and make arrangements with them to move (to another unit?) ASAP. If you own the building, you need to do the right thing right now and seal off your bathroom and get some professional help.

I'm sorry.
posted by seanmpuckett at 6:17 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]

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