A lingering aroma after drywall repairs, mysteriously getting stronger.
July 27, 2010 2:18 PM   Subscribe

A lingering aroma after drywall repairs, mysteriously getting stronger.

A couple of weeks ago, our first floor apartment got flooded with rainwater seeping through all manner of places: seams in the ceiling and walls, from cracked paint, and through drywall. It was all from rain, apparently something about a broken downspout. Soon after, the housing mngt came and fixed things up. Removed the damaged paint, repainted, sanded, etc... that was 2 weeks ago. In the past few days a paint-ish or chemically smell has been permeating our living room (where the damage was the worst), and in the last day it's gotten stronger. It is not a moldy smell. It did rain recently, but we had no leaking. Also: the maintenance folks loaned us their huge dehumidifier, which I'm still using. I empty it daily, and the water has no odor like what we smell in the room.

In short, wtf is this stink and where does it come from? Our windows only open 5 inches, and we get about zero air flow. How can we get rid of the smell? We're lighting incense and running a small air purifier but the results are not stellar.
posted by wowbobwow to Home & Garden (7 answers total)
Is it a rotten egg smell? If so, that may be Chinese drywall. Call your housing management people.
posted by Carol Anne at 2:30 PM on July 27, 2010

Did they actually replace the drywall? You don't mention anything beyond repainting in your description. If the drywall got wet, it MUST be replaced. Additionally, they really should have opened the walls to make sure there wasn't deeper water damage, or standing water between walls. You could very well have mold growing behind the wall if they did not do the correct repairs.
posted by Thorzdad at 2:35 PM on July 27, 2010

Yeah it's mostly a patch job they did. Can mold smell like chemicals, though? There's spots on the wall that they did not do, and they're obviously water-stained. I went so far as to peel off some paint and looked around at the plaster. No smell. A little rust-colored, but the water that leaked was that color too.

Don't think it's a rotten egg smell... not sulphur-y. More like paint. The only other people affected are upstairs, and they had their work done at the same time as ours. I don't think it's other people's paint smells wafting about, in other words.
posted by wowbobwow at 3:08 PM on July 27, 2010

If drywall gets wet, you have to pull it off and look at the insulation or whatever else is back there. It sounds like that might still be wet and need to be removed.
posted by iknowizbirfmark at 3:29 PM on July 27, 2010

Perhaps a mildew-prevention treatment? Some high-end water-cleanup services clean wood and then paint it with a paint that includes a 10-year warranty against mold appearing. But you would have smelled that immediately. This two-week delay and the new rain make me nervous. Have you let the property management company know?
posted by slidell at 7:29 PM on July 27, 2010

This reads like a purely cosmetic patch job - just a replacement of the drywall?

If so, it's entirely possible that the water intrusion issue remains. Did they even take a look at where it comes in through the exterior wall?

As for the stink - you'll probably need to have everything redone (properly this time, hopefully) if it's still wet inside the walls.
posted by owls at 8:26 AM on July 28, 2010

Yep, it was mildew. They're re-doing the repairs as we speak. Thanks, all!
posted by wowbobwow at 12:13 PM on August 27, 2010

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