Sunday, September 11, 2005

Basement Renovation, Part 2

Sadly, the moment we opened the door to the downstairs, which we kept closed over night, we could smell the mold. I can't really tell whether it's worse than before, because it didn't have much time to fill the space while I was working in there, but clearly I am going to need to go after it again. During our family dinner last night, I was talking about all this with my 'uncle' Ed who suggested bleach instead of TSP. At some point, I found that TSP and bleach can be mixed. I assume that will improve the efficiency!

Yesterday, I made around a quart of TSP with around 4 quarts of water. This time I'm doing a quart of TSP and a quart of bleach with 2 gallons of water. I want plenty. I'm going to let it soak in for a while and then go after the backing & adhesive with the floor scraper. I'm also going to wear my respirator - Xin mentioned the possibility that the adhesive could contain asbestos. Now, we're not entirely sure whether asbestos stopped being used in 1977 or 1985, but it seems unlikely that the old water heater (which we replaced in 2003) was 18 years old or more and it was installed before the linoleum, as evidenced by the way they cut a hole in the linoleum to place it around the water heater. This gives me some comfort, but there was very little dust when I was working yesterday, so I'm not really too worried about it. Even if it did/does contain asbestos, our exposure to it is pretty limited and won't be repeated extensively, or over the long term.

Also, the rest of the work I'm going to be doing in getting it out is going to involve getting it wet before scraping, so we should get even less dust than I did yesterday. To that end, I started spreading my concoction around the room with the mop and scrapping it up with the floor scraper. This is delightful work, especially with the mask on, but so be it. I have my little radio tuned to KFOG - yesterday it was the Giants game - and later I might switch to the iPod. After a while of this, taking breaks from time to time, it's time for a pause; I've just spread a lot more of the solution around the basement and want to give it time to soak in for a while before I start scraping again.

Hmm... how 'bout brunch with my girls? Dawn makes 'beefritos' for Rachel and an egg sandwich for me. Yummy.

Now back to our irregularly scheduled scraping. The solution's made quite a dent in the backing and adhesive, and it's coming up a bit better, but the scraper's still not really the best thing... or maybe I'm just getting tired again. Four hours of this isn't easy on this concrete floor. Anyway, we've been talking about going to the game with Rachel for a couple of days, and it's almost time to go. I put the rest of the solution down and spread it around to let it go after the mold while we're gone. My brother came over to house-sit... we want the back door open for the day to give some ventilation to the basement.

By the time we got back from the game, the mold was clearly not completely gone, but it seems better. We'll see how it is tomorrow. Now that the floor is dry, it is also clear that I made more of a dent in the work than I realized, but there'll be more to do, and I am starting to think that I need to use an actual adhesive remover of some kind to boot. As long as I'm doing this, I want to make sure that the mold isn't going to come back and the adhesive on the self-stick tiles will do well.

I guess that makes visit #5 to a hardware store tomorrow or the next day (the first two were the paint store and Home Depot (just to look at tile) on the 3rd). I need to get a roller for the waterproofing, concrete patching material (preferably something like caulk since I just want to fill the cracks), the adhesive remover, and whatever I'm going to need to work with the adhesive remover...

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