Please help. drywall dust damage

Our basement flooded in January and we had to replace the sheet rock. There was also an area of popcorn ceiling at the entry into the basement. We hired some one to resheet rock and remove popcorn ceiling finish. We had put some plastic up, but did not realize the devastation that the contractor would be doing to our whole home. He did not warn us or put up any protection or suggest that we did. He sanded the 3 foot by 5 foot popcorn ceiling and sent a plum of white dust through out the house through the duct work as well as blowing to the second floor. ( we thought that there would be a vacuum system on any major sanding that he did) We tried to get this terrible dust up by vacuuming to no satisfaction. (the dust made our window screen WHITE). We were very upset with the way the contractor did this. We had no idea what was going to happen. Then as he was getting ready to finish the walls he did it again and it went all through the house again.
My question is does anyone know how we can get this terrible dust out of our home. We have tried our vacuum cleaner and it just cakes up in the cleaner or blows out of the back. This is making our family sick and is in everything It has to be in the ducts as well as carpeting, furniture, clothing and bedding. Can we rent something get it up? We have tried washing the basement floor, but it does not seem to help. We cannot put carpeting down until we get this all out of the house. We are worried that we will have to take the rest of the carpeting in our home up because of the dust.
We would appreciate any ideas on how we can get this dust out of our home. Thank you so very much.
Betty
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On Jul 20, 10:04 pm, snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (Danielle Eastman) wrote:

Sorry you got stuck with a a sloppy incompetent contractor. Your next stop should be your lawyer. He can advise you on what legal steps can be taken for compensation for the damage. The best way to get rid of the mess is to call Servpro or another remediation specialist to clean it up. Your contractor was obviously not familiar with smaller remodeling jobs. It is common in some wide open construction projects to omit dust control since the structure is not completely weather tight. It may be helpful to talk to more experienced remodelers to learn what dust management techniques they use to show what was lacking in your project. In my projects I use a vacuum sanding system called a Magna Sand that dumps the dust in a water bucket before it reaches the Shop Vac. Pros likely have something similar. It tends to make the plastic curtaining almost 99% effective in my experience.
Joe
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On Jul 20, 8:04 pm, snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (Danielle Eastman) wrote:

Just lots of vacuuming, shop or upright depending. Change the filters or bags as they fill up.
Run your HVAC system with the fan on "ON" change, filter as needed.
A 3' x 5' popcorn ceiling area is pretty small. If it was gypboard popcorn, water spray & scrape would have been the method. If it was hard plaster popcorn, rough trowel knock down & they mud or plaster to get to smooth.
Your contractor should had made dust control arrangements, not all that hard.
Seal off "clean" area of house & shop vac the dirty areas
The HVAC ducts should be fairly clean if you have a filter on the system
A dry wall sander could have been helpful.
Now that the dust is all over the place...its a vacuum & wash effort.......multiple times. Lots of vacuum bags / filters.
Just keep cleaning, you will eventually get it all but it will take time & effort
cheers Bob
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snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (Danielle Eastman) wrote in

I am wondering was this contractor insured? Even if they weren't, why did you make final payment upon job completion? Should have been held back until the job was done, including cleanup, even if they had to sub-k out the cleaning.

errrr, and you let him?
(made final pmt, let him do it twice...signs of trolling here)
Assuming you are posting this and it is summer where you are and you say it got spread throughout the house via the HVAC, you were running the AC?! First, I hope you've changed the filter since! Second, Someone needs to check the coil on the AC. If it got caked with dust it seriously needs to be cleaned by an HVAC company. The AC filter is to keep the everyday NORMAL dust out of the coils. What you describe is stuff that can trash AC coils prematurely. The coil is not cheap. The labor to replace it is not cheap.
Now go check the filter again.
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On Jul 20, 10:04 pm, snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (Danielle Eastman) wrote:

Thats to small an area to make the stink you are making about it, have you ever tried a maid to really clean your house, try one once, it might take 2 times. Yes he should have been smarter, but so should have you, was he the cheapest price.
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How did it get into the duct work ???? ,clothing ,bedding ??? I'll admit it does get messy but you sound like you just want to bitch !! You put up plastic , you didn't do a good enough of a job !! How did he blow it up stairs ??? SORRY
Jerry
http://community.webtv.net/awoodbutcher/MyWoodWorkingPage
http://community.webtv.net/awoodbutcher/1974RuppCentair
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Trolling down the river in the summer time. I smell a fish. That story stinks !!! Jerry
http://community.webtv.net/awoodbutcher/MyWoodWorkingPage
http://community.webtv.net/awoodbutcher/1974RuppCentair
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Jerry, Thanks for the concern. I wish it was a fish! We could throw it out with the garbage!!!! We did definitely make bad calls. The people that did our job were the son and daughter-in-law (licensed contractors) of a very sweet little old lady in our church. Don't usually fall for that , but you are right...it was our call...our mistake. I am not asking for sympathy. Just answers to do what is needed . Our home is a split entry and the popcorn ceiling was at the bottom of our stairs and as he sanded with the power sander it went everywhere. We did have plastic and you are right, we should have done more. Probably the cold air return should have been covered. We did not know. We have changed the filter many times...even have a filter over the cold air return downstairs that we have changed. plus a standing HEPA air filter system. Jerry, you make it sound so black and white and maybe it is. STUPID is what we were, but that is over and now we have written to this forum to find answers. I would have made up a better story than this. We do appreciate all of the information that everyone provided and any other suggestions, but Jerry, you don't need to reply. We will be fine. We will get through this like all people do. Again, thank you all very much.
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This cleanup sounds very much like the cleanup that was necessary when asbestos was discovered in the office where I used to work. The heating ducts were immediately vacuumed out with a commercial hepa vacuum and then sealed off. The area immediately affected was sealed off with heavy gauge plastic. The area outside of that area was then cleaned with a commercial hepa filtered vacuum with the exhaust vented to the outside through yet another filter. When that was finished, the newly cleaned area was lightly pressurized and the same procedure was followed in the sealed off area which was now negatively pressured. It took a couple of weeks for the whole process to be completed (removal of the asbestos and the cleanup).
Good luck with your cleanup
Ron
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First, I guess you've taken this up with the contractor and he has 'declined' to clean up the mess ? Take detailed pictures of all the dust in ductwork, carpet, on floor and wherever first, before cleaning. You could consider legal action against the fellow but for a job of this size, the lawyers would probably "eat" any funds recovered. "Small claims" court could be a possibility. If you decide to do it on your own:
As far as general vacuuming of drywall dust goes, there are SPECIAL filters made for this purpose. Using your 'regular' vacuum for drywall dust WILL ruin your VAC. If you have a heavy duty Shop-Vac type, get a drywall dust filter and go over everything again...maybe twice. If you dont have one, check with your local Industrial rental place.
You may need a DUCT Doctor type guy to clean your ductwork. The prior advice about your furnace/ A-C filter and coil is a must.
If you haven't paid the full amount, I'd hold the balance and use it for the cleaning/filters etc above.
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Thanks Rudy, We will check with an industrial rental company and get the filter. We fianlly had to tell them to leave. They actually started to sand for the third tme! We strongly suspect that they were on something. It was a learnig experience. We have built 2 homes and never had this problem. Sometimes people have to cut their losses and walk away. Angry...of course, but we will get over it. Thanks very much Rudy, for the information.
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At this point the OP (I assume per her description) has widely distributed fine dust...all the big piles of it have been cleaned up. Now she has nusance drywall dust everywhere.

made for this purpose. Using your 'regular' vacuum for drywall dust WILL ruin your VAC. <<<<
How is widely distributed drywall dust susbataintilly diffefent than normal everyday garden variety dirt? The stuff tracked in or blown in? And how will using her regular vac for general clean up "ruin her VAC" if she uses decent filter bags / filters and changes them as needed?
Most people abuse their upright vacs, run them for a LONG time with near solid filter bags and they still run for years.
OP-
keep cleaning (vacuum carpet, dry mop & wet mop hard flooring. Wash fabric items that can be washed.) I demo'd two closets on the first floor, lathe & plaster. Did a bit (about 2 sheets worth) of drywall work. We sealed off the rest of the house but some fine drywall dust found its way upstairs. No HVAC running before, after or during the work. It took a couple weeks for the house to return to normal. Lots of rags for dry & moist wipe downs (hardwood floors & furniture).
Next time forget the "family connection" get a referral from a neighbor or friend who;s opinion / judgment you respect. A solid referral is more important than anything else.
cheers Bob
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On Jul 20, 10:04 pm, snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (Danielle Eastman) wrote:

Too bad you didn't ask here about methods for mitigating dust during construction, I'm sure you would have gotten a lot of good ideas.
But for now all you can do is maybe get a crew of Polish cleaning ladies over to the house 2 weekends in a row. The Poles here (Chicagoland) tend to start that business when they immigrate, and man they are good. Do this for a couple weeks in a row and things will be back to normal. A whole house vacuum system would help too as regular vacumm bags do release a percentage of their dust again.
For the future. When doing interior sanding I find that if I cause a negative pressure draft in the room I'm sanding it will prevent any dust infiltration out of that room. Additionally a cheap water bucket sanding device works wonders, a small vacuum sucks through your sanding pad with a water bubbler in the middle. Also you can wet sand a popcorn ceiling to knock down the heavy parts first then do a dry sanding the next day for final smoothing. But I still like negative pressurizing a room with a fan in window for any kind of dusty work.
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I made a huge wallboard dust cloud once by cutting a rather large opening with a circular saw. Fortunatley I had the presence of mind to open the nearest window and turn the whole house fan on high. The cloud of dust moved out like some sort of scifi movie.
Vacuums with bags are useless for wall board dust. It clogs the bag in a few minutes. I use my shop vac and connect a 2nd hose to the outlet and run that out the window.
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On Jul 20, 11:04 pm, snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (Danielle Eastman) wrote:

you need a vacuum with a HEPA filter, and you'll need several spare filters. Drywall dust is very fine and will trash your average shop- vac quite rapidly.
nate
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I destroyed our wonderful expensive vacuum cleaner trying to suck up drywall dust. The bearings didn't like it. Use a cheap ShopVac with their good filter instead.
Wetting the dust first would be my recommendation...anything to keep the dust out of the air.
John

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On Mon, 20 Jul 2009 20:04:27 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (Danielle Eastman) wrote:

...
Change your filters and vacuum bag often. Shampoo carpet/upholstery and dryclean draperies. Soft rags and a can of Enddust. Clean everything. If there is airborne dust, duct tape a furnace filter over a box fan (when the filter gets clogged, change it to improve efficiency and to prevent motor burnout).
This is going to take a lot of work that could have been prevented. Next time, tape off the room with plastic sheeting.
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(Danielle

This is what happens when homeowners try to run their own job...The sanding was normal...You said you have had TWO houses built and you didn't realize there was dust involved with drywall ??? Exactly how did you expect them to remove the popcorn from the ceiling ???Guess what ?? the next drywall guys are gonna sand as well...Tossing out the first guys accomplished nothing...May as well wait till the job is complete now...What you SHOULD do and should have done in the begining is rent some of those plastic walls that are held up like a Shower curtain rod or build your own by pressure fitting 2X4's or strapping adding a few screws and stapling plastic up TIGHT OR tell the drywall guy it is his responsibility and he will include it in his price and do it..Turn off AC untill job is done...As for clean up , rent a Porter Cable or Makita shopvac and vacume everything...Shampoo rugs ..Remove window screens and wash with a hose..Dust with Pledge and clean with what ever cleaner you use for the other stuff..Call HVAC guy to clean ducts and AC coil...Good luck...Hope you learned something...If putting up barriers isn't in the contract it is YOUR responsibility...Drywall guys do drywall..House cleaners clean houses....
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benick wrote:

??? Exactly how

Why on earth would anyone sand popcorn without taking appropriate steps to prevent the spread of the dust? Sound like total incompetence to me. Wetting it and scraping seems a lot more reasonable to me, Or at least setting up an exhaust fan to create a negative pressure area, and sealing the nearby ducts, etc.
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