Selective tear out and preparation before restoration

Clean up as you go

Every piece of moldy material you clean out can re- contaminate the work you have done. As you work, remove large objects from the building and place smaller objects in heavy-duty trash bags.

Open attic

Ventilate the attic if you plan to save a plaster or dry- ceiling in a closet.

Open crawl space

Crawl spaces must be open to air in order to dry out the house. At a minimum, create openings at available, set up a fan to blow air out of the opening running in the crawl space until it is dry. Because this space may be contaminated, wear maximum protec- tion whenever you have to enter it.


 Drywall that has been underwater must be removed. If or mold damage is high, remove all of the drywall to the ceiling.

 If there has been limited drywall may be removed to the 4 foot line. Drywall is sold in 4 foot sections. NO MOLD must be visible above the 4 foot line on both the inside and outside of the wall for this option to be safe.

Plaster walls

If plaster is sound on the walls facing the outside and there is no insulation in the wall, try to save the plaster walls. To dry out wall cavities, remove the baseboard, then remove plaster to just below the top of the baseboard.


Dispose of insulation in heavy-duty trash bags.

Kitchen cabinets and countertops

Kitchen cabinets made of pressboard or other com- posite boards that have gotten wet cannot be saved. Cabinets, especially top cabinets, made of plywood or wooden boards may be saved. You can save the counter top and kitchen sink with work and plumbing when you replace the base cabinets.

Kitchen and bathroom Fixtures

Use a disinfectant to kill any remaining mold and other contaminants on hard surfaces that will remain in the home. Damp wipe all surfaces including tubs, bath and kitchen counter tops and vinyl/tile floors with a disinfecting solution (see Section 6).

Wood Flooring

Modern Malayalees in the hill regions take pride in their wood floors and panelling. These floors can be saved if the underside has been able to dry out. Remove all overlayment material as quickly as possible to allow the top surface to dry. Scrub and vacuum floor joists. If there is severe buckling of the flooring, make a kerf cut along the length of a floorboard to create an ex- pansion space. HEPA vacuum, then scrub floors with a wet cleaning solution to prepare for fixtures and grove wood floors.

Ceramic Flooring

Ceramic flooring laid directly onto cement/concrete slabs may require only HEPA vacuuming, and then washing with a disinfecting solution. Remove and dispose of ceramic flooring placed on plywood or presswood subflooring that is damaged.

Wood windows, doors and trim

Wet scrape all wood to be saved or scrub it with a wet abrasive sponge to remove loose paint. Assume all paint on pre-1978 house trim has lead in it. Scrub the surface with a wet cleaning solution.


For minor buckling cut a saw kerf through the center of one board. This will create an 8th inch space that will allow the board to be screwed flat. If there is major buckling remove one floor- board in the center of the warped area. Forcethe boards on both sides tight to each other. Face- screw the boards down. Scribe the board you removed and cut off the excess on the tongue side. Face screw this board down. You’ll probably need to drill pilot holes for the finish head screws or the heads will strip.

Vacuum the surface, let it dry completely, then paint with fungicidal primer. Treat doors and windows in this way:

 Remove doors if they are swollen and heavily damaged. Doors in older building made from old growth lumber usually can be saved and are valu- able. Have these professionally restored.

 Secure the top window sash to the window frame. Screw a metal bracket or block of wood under the top sash to hold in place. Paint the sash as part of exterior surface. Bottom sashes may need to be removed and restored before hanging against new window stop molding.

Heating and air conditioning systems

 Remove and throw away all ductwork and air handling equipment that was under water. Inspect the inside and outside of air handlers and ducts that were not under water for signs of mold. Fiberglass insulation on the interior surfaces of air handlers and air supply ducts can have a lot of mold growth. Visible mold growth on air handlers can be painted with an encapsulant coating to keep it from spreading.

 Inspect the interior and exterior of duct work. Any flexible ductwork that has mold growth should be replaced.

Source : Manoj Nair

Manoj Nair has been a journalist for nearly 15 years, working for several leading Indian publications The Economic Times, Outlook and Hindustan Times. He is also a guest lecturer at University Arts London and is currently working on the history of Indian rock music to be published by Harper Collins in 2019. He lives and works in Kochi.

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