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  • Alexa Sullivan

Laundry Room Demo Bingo

This is a virtual bingo card in anticipation of our laundry room demo. The story is below.

So, a few years ago we bought a condo. I fancied myself a DIY-er (turns out, I'm not) and pulled off the kitchen backsplash so I could redo it. I imagined a nice basic subway tile, something more in line with our mid-century modern/beach cottage aesthetic.

I accidentally tore a hole in the wall. At first I thought, "Oops."

Then I thought, "Hmm, our condo is old, I wonder if this is dangerous."

This led to hours of frantic research, followed by having wall samples tested for asbestos at a local lab, followed by an inspection of the old drywall behind the cabinetry (a piece of it was already exposed), leading to the revelation that our drywall contains asbestos (2% chrysotile). It turns out that from the 1930s through the 1970s, all drywall mud (joint compound) in the U.S. contained asbestos. The mud is the spackle/plaster used to smooth out seams. The drywall itself did not typically contain asbestos. Although the use of asbestos in drywall mud was banned by the EPA in 1977, the existing joint compound was still allowed to be sold, because America. Here is an excellent overview of all the places in your home that may be hiding asbestos.

* PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT. The widespread use of asbestos in building materials for older homes makes it critical to test your home for asbestos prior to any renovation or demolition. In fact, Oregon DEQ mandates testing on all buildings older than 2004 prior to demolition. Renovation is another story but testing is still highly suggested. Seriously, this stuff is everywhere. Test before you renovate your nest. *

Anyway, this leads to the laundry room. The shelving was installed in such a fashion that one of the shelves blocks the top of the electrical panel. Not the part you open to flip a breaker, but the larger panel behind it that you would need removed if you were having electrical work done. Say, for example, the type of electrical work you might need done on an older home. We could remove the shelf, but that would release drywall dust into the air. Even if we did that, unscrewing the panel would also release dust. Asbestos. You see the problem.

So, we're having all the drywall in the laundry room professionally abated and new drywall installed. While I expect this to go relatively well, I'm quite worried about what we might find in the bones of the room once the old drywall is out. I keep picturing massive and expensive disasters like cracked or rotting studs or the carcasses of small rodents. Maybe a muskrat or two? So I created the virtual bingo card to amuse myself. The free square is asbestos, because of course, we already have it.

Play bingo along with me and let's see what happens! There are no prizes, only photos of the before and after once we have the "after."

TL;DR: Asbestos + anxiety.

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