Robert Lamoureux | Dealing with water damage, prevent mold

Robert Lamoureux
Robert Lamoureux

Question: Robert, we live in Santa Clarita and recently had water intrusion to our downstairs bedroom, during the last rains. The ceiling and walls are both affected and though we’ve called it in to the management company, these wet areas have yet to be opened, and not even a roofer has shown up at our home. I am concerned about mold especially given that I have severe asthma. Is this valid, should I be worried? 

Al R. 

Answer: Al, absolutely you should be concerned. It only takes 72 hours in the optimal conditions (cold, dark and wet), for mold spores to begin growth. My best advice to you is for you to reach out to what sounds like a lazy management company, via email. Generally, once you have a paper trail going with photos and information, things get moving. Find out who your property manager is and if you can, cc their boss in the email. Document dates, times, add photos and your expectations. I also recommend that you look at your CC&Rs and become familiar with exactly what is written showing their responsibilities. Stating these facts in your email certainly can’t hurt, and it’ll help you know what their legal responsibilities are plus what leeway they have for responding. They first need to get a crew out to remediate, meaning remove all of the wet materials. This will be drywall, insulation and anything else such as carpeting that may have been soaked. They’ll set dryers and possibly dehumidifiers, which will help dry the space. If they do in fact find mold, depending on the square footage of what is found, this could go into a much bigger and more expensive issue for them. Once an area larger than 4 square feet of mold is found, a mold remediation company has to be involved. This includes tenting, cleaning, air purifying and testing. 

Let’s hope it hasn’t gotten that far because this is generally about a week of no-access to this area for the homeowner, due to tenting. Once the area is deemed safe and dry, the testing can begin to find the original source of water intrusion. Water is tricky and what seems like the obvious source isn’t necessarily the source or the only source. They need to get that figured out hopefully prior to the next rains, so this issue does not happen again. They’ll repair their findings, then get to putting your home back in order. Stay on top of them via email. Hopefully that will give them a jolt into action. Best of luck to you. 

Robert Lamoureux has more than 40 years of experience as a general contractor , with separate licenses in electrical and plumbing contracting. He owns IMS Construction Inc. in Valencia. His opinions are his own, not necessarily those of The Signal. Opinions expressed in this column are not meant to replace the recommendations of a qualified contractor after that contractor has made a thorough visual inspection. Email questions to Robert at [email protected].

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