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Our kitchen is now complete, and the granite countertops are installed. It only took six months. Unfortunately, we had to install a new reverse osmosis system when the old one stubbornly refused to start up again after six months of inactivity. And then a series of unfortunate events meant that a slow drip from the new RO faucet leaked behind the granite countertop, down the wall, and inside the sink base, causing a surprising amount of damage in only a day. It made the laminate swell and bubble and peel off the inside of the sink base.

We were most unhappy. We were even more unhappy when the sink base swelled, rose in height by a fraction of an inch and cracked the new granite countertop. Luckily the granite was of a pattern that makes the crack invisible and easily-sealed. But that’s the kind of project this kitchen has been – one clusterfuck after another. Less-stubborn aliens would have given up long ago. But we are very stubborn.

In the mountains, of course, the residual moisture from our little disaster would not have been a long-term problem. The humidity is so low that it would have all dried up in a day or two. Unfortunately we live in the jungle now. The moisture would never, ever go away. We knew that if we didn’t investigate, the problems could get worse.

So I cut a hole in the floor of the sink base and found what we had feared most – black mold (Strachybotrys chartarun). Black mold can kill with its airborne toxins. In fact, some people suspect that black mold killed “Clueless” actress Brittany Murphy and her husband a few years ago. Black mold is not to be ignored.

So I mixed up a vicious batch of pool shock granules and water (a very strong mixture of calcium hypochlorite), which we proceeded to paint on the black mold to ensure that it would kill the mold and leave a residue which would prevent the mold from coming back. We’re reasonably certain it killed the mold – the mixture ate the paintbrush. Before the paintbrush disappeared completely, though, we painted every surface under the sink base. It should be mold-proof now, proof against almost any organic life form.

I also put a Goldenrod heater down in the hole under the sink base to keep it warm and dry. And we’ll leave the hole open for a week or two to ensure that it’s truly dry before we cover it up again. We’ll make a removable cover plate so that we can get back in there easily.

None of this damage is visible, standing in the kitchen. You have to crawl under the sink to see a problem. We doubt any of our guests will do that. And the cats don’t like the chemicals under the sink. At least, the surviving cats don’t. So the remnants of the disaster under the sink will remain undisturbed for the foreseeable future.

Onward and upward.  


One Comment
  1. 2013-01-16T13:54:21-05:00 13:54

    I would think even the tree leaves would have black mold on them in the jungle. There’s probably black mold on the black mold.


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