OK well we didn’t get that far to tell you the whole story, but there’s definitely MOLD. And lots of it.
Last night we started ripping up the vinyl floor in the bathroom in preparation for the weekend work on the suspected (and now confirmed) subfloor damage. It’s a significantly bigger task than either of us were expecting and all I can say is I am SO glad we have a tiny bathroom now!
First, we had to remove the layer of self-adhesive vinyl tiles. To do this, we used an iron (because I didn’t feel like investing in a heat gun) and a damp cloth. We laid the damp cloth on the floor and rubbed over it with the iron for a bit to warm up the tile underneath. Then, using a baseboard pry board, we chiseled away at each tile peeling one away at a time.
I started to get curious about what was under the linoleum, so I used an exacto knife and cut a flap in the floor underneath the tiles. I’d cut 3 sides and the flap immediately started to lift open – NOT a good sign. Sure enough, the whole under side of it was covered in mold. The good news is that at least ripping the linoleum up will be easy because the adhesive isn’t even there anymore. Let’s see if you can already catch the big M. Night Shyamalan plot twist in the picture below. Keep reading…
So then we had to remove the linoleum underneath. Now, you’re probably wondering why we went through all the trouble of doing this in layers when we probably could have ripped the whole thing off at once. And well… you’re right. It’s not like we didn’t consider it. It was just difficult to even get a grip on the linoleum with the tiles on top and once we got started around the edge, it just seemed easier to keep going. Anyway, the linoleum was a bit trickier. For one thing, the adhesive residue left behind from the self-adhesive tiles made things more difficult as everything would just stick to the floor. This was the least enjoyable part about the whole thing as once you got the adhesive residue on your hands, you stuck to EVERYTHING.
We decided pretty soon after seeing the aforementioned mold that it was best to only remove the linoleum from the doorway up to the point in the room where the mold started. We were improperly dressed – no gloves, in shorts (so exposed skin), no masks, no goggles. I knew that was the wrong way to go about it, so wanted to wait to tackle the real nasty until we could buy some super awesome hooded coveralls.
So I made a cut along the floor near the door just to get a starting point. As I pulled up the linoleum, we found an unexpected twist in the whole process. Let’s see who was quick enough to catch the sneak preview from the previous picture.
There were actually TWO layers of linoleum under those vinyl tiles. Are you kidding me? If you’re going to DIY something, DO IT CORRECTLY. Three layers of poorly installed flooring leaving so many spaces for the mold to grow. And sure enough as we started to rip away, there was a significant amount of mold in between the two layers. So turns out that sneak peek spot I was seeing mold in earlier wasn’t even the subfloor. You can actually see the line of the floor pattern through the mold in that first picture. So the verdict is still out on how damaged the actual subfloor is. We probably won’t find out until the weekend when our landlord’s fiance can come over and help us move the toilet out of the way.
Being already 9PM, we hadn’t had dinner yet, and we were severely underdressed for tackling such a mold problem, we threw an old shower curtain liner over the floor and used painters tape to seal the edges. Unfortunately, that’s our only shower in the whole house. We can use the toilet in the basement while renovating, but we still need access to the shower, so we’ve got to be able to walk around on it.
We’ll go back at it again tonight – properly dressed for the occasion. We’ve been googling around and are going to either try a bleach spray or tea tree oil spray to mist over the mold. We’ll have to keep the door closed for a few weeks while we’re working on it – window open, fan blasting. Definitely a bigger project than we were hoping for, but we just know it’ll look great when it’s all finished.