That was the reaction from a client who called us for a toilet overflow that was just to big for her to handle “this time”.

It was 2:00am when the user of the bathroom flushed the toilet, which clogged and water began to run across the limestone floor and rolled over the limestone entryway and down into the basement. The owners would spend the next 9 hours vacuuming up water with their home carpet cleaner and shop vac.

After removing the padding and spraying the carpeting with a product not designed for the purpose of killing any viruses or bacteria (see my last blog) after the recommendation from a home improvement store employee, they rented some fans and dried the carpeting.

It was actually all the walls in the basement that were extremely wet and ceiling drywall starting to drop when she realized that maybe this time it was a bigger job than she could handle. She called her insurance agent who recommended us to come take a look with an infrared camera to find the hidden moisture and how much was actually wet.

The 6″ baseboard was separating from the walls in the bathroom and the foyer, a good sign that the walls are wet. The moisture content underneath 40% the limestone floor was wet at 99%.  Ok, let’s get to the client’s shock moment.

The toilet had overflowed a year ago, not near this bad so they just wiped up the water and then had a plumber unclog the toilet. After a conversation with the insurance adjuster and being that this is considered Category 3 black water damage because of microbial fecal material contaminating everything, we agreed that the limestone floor would need to be removed. We pulled the 6″ baseboard to find mold behind the baseboard.

The mold behind the baseboard covered 1/2 of the perimeter in the bath and 8′ behind the baseboard in the foyer. That is not all; there was a water heater that blew out over 5 years ago. Again the home owners cleaned up the mess themselves. One of the bedrooms in the basement that got wet again this time had the same problem, mold behind the baseboard on the drywall.

Wait, it happened this spring when the guy who came to turn on the sprinklers left a drain valve open and it flooded another room in the basement. The sprinkler company sent another company in with fans, pulled the pad, dried the carpet and put it back together. This room was also wet from this toilet overflow. I would ask you to guess what but I think you figured it out, mold behind the baseboard in this room as well.

Ok, it gets better. The last toilet overflow sent the water down the furnace vent and into the ceiling of the basement where the HVAC runs that feeds the house with hot and cold air. The seams on the venting are not sealed so they were picking up all the mold spores that had dried and were spreading them throughout the home.

The homeowner’s response as she was shocked “You have got to be kidding me, I just didn’t know”.

Now everything was wet during this water damage cleanup so the mold cleanup was not as bad as it could have been. I will tell you that this home was worth well over 1 Million, having all of these mold issues would impact the resell value of the home as a good home inspector may have uncovered some of these issues. That could scare away a buyer real fast.

Conclusion, most people will handle these small water damages themselves and I am not alone in that decision, even before I knew what I was doing. However it may be a good idea to contact a company to come take a look with moisture meters and an infrared camera to find the hidden moisture as the water damage could be bigger than you believe.

As always we are here to answer your questions and help if you need assistance with a water extraction after water damage or to do any mold cleanup for you. 303-791-1870 or email us at