Any home construction or redecorating project is a challenging undertaking, but with a chronic health problem, extra care is sometimes in order. We are finally starting the renovating project in our master bedroom. We postponed plans to redo our room for a couple of years while our daughter and son-in-law lived with us. Then, with the holidays and my husband having two minor surgeries in the past couple of months, we waited a little longer to finally get into the renovations.
Backtracking a little – when the kids moved in, we moved into our guest room. The kids are back on their feet and moved out before the holidays. A few weeks ago, we ripped up the bedroom carpet, and were surprised to find old-fashioned linoleum tiles loose on top of a layer of dried up “black tar” adhesive. We found some old water damage under the flooring that looked and smelled like a small area of possible black mold under the closet carpet, and my husband’s research indicated there could be a possibility that the popcorn ceiling might have asbestos in it.
With my lupus, and my husband and I both having asthma, we both have challenged immune systems. We did some extra research ahead of time to avoid unnecessary health risks, especially as we contemplated the removal of very old construction materials. Removing it was a doubly good idea, for dust reduction to help our asthma, and for removal of any possible asbestos. Besides, the ceiling surface appeared to have two or three coats of previous paint, and the “experts” in our lives assured us that another coat of paint would make it fall down in clumps, anyway.
So, I researched black mold clean up at the FEMA website, and picked up sealing safety goggles and two Niosh N-95 masks that would protect our lungs from both possible “evil” substances. After shopping for boxes of new flooring, underlayment, edging, paint and all the other supplies we thought we would need, we finally started the work today!
Donning our buggy eye wear and masks, this afternoon we started our project in earnest. First, we stripped of the offending closet carpet, stashing it into sealed garbage bags for the dumpster. I scrubbed and disinfected the blackened stinky carpet floor with pine oil cleaner followed by bleach water, according to the FEMA black mold clean up guidelines. Then, my husband climbed a ladder, as he sprayed and scraped the ceiling. What a mess!
The popcorn ceiling fell away as he worked in powdery dust and large damp clumps dropped onto the disposable tarp lining the bedroom floor. I refilled the sprayer as needed, and cheered him on from my perch on a folding chair. After the last of ceiling popcorn was down, we rolled up the tarp into two heavy “packages” the size of large garbage bags and stashed them in the trash.
Now, we are ready for the next steps in our project, retexturizing and painting the ceiling and walls, installing the wood flooring that awaits in a stack of boxes, installing new closet organizer components in the walk-in closet, and replacing faucets in the master bathroom. Then, I’ll find some new curtains to match the new color scheme, and we are planning a new wall mount flat screen television.
Since we donated our previous guest room bed to our departing “house guests,” we will hunt down a new bed and relegate our current one to the guest room. We look forward to the weekends ahead when we will finish our renovation and prepare to move back into our room. When this project complete, this will be the last the room in our house to become asthma friendly — without dust mite habitats above and with only wood or ceramic tile floors below.
We will finally be living in a totally carpet-free zone! I clean the other floors with a vacuum/steamer. An asthma friendly home helps me with my lupus, too, since flares of my asthma tend to make me more susceptible to flares of my lupus. The two conditions tend to piggy back on each other triggering each other into flare.
Today, we felt like we were living out an episode of “This Old House,” except in life, you have to do the work yourself instead of sitting on the couch, watching someone else do it.