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Ants, asbestos, and mould oh my!!!

$23,251 of $100,000 goal

Raised by 427 people in 1 month
If 5000 people donated just $20 each, that’s all it would take. My home city has a population of nearly 1 million and while I realize not everyone has the means to donate, I do hope that they can find the time to share to help me find those who might be able to. Please help me make my home habitable before winter comes.
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My name is Karla. I am a 32 year old small business owner. I have worked in my trade for over 14 years.  I founded my company 6 years ago. It has been my dream to create an equal opportunity work environment that focuses on craftsmanship over production. I have poured my heart and soul into my business, working over 16 hours a day for heaven knows how long. I've gone months without taking payroll to invest in my team. All of this to create something bigger than myself.
As some of you may know, owning a business can be incredibly rewarding, but also comes with high risk. It took me four years to align my financials in order to get approved for a mortgage. Banks don't like self-employed individuals, we don't look good on paper. I was so excited on the day I took possession of my home. I did it on my own, no co-signer. I was so proud. That was September of 2016. I did all the right things, ticked all the boxes. I had hired an inspector, realtor, mortgage broker and lawyer to advise me throughout the process. The first home I put an offer on failed inspection. The second passed with flying colours. 

On June 23, 2018 I was sitting on my couch, when I saw an ant. I picked it up with a piece of paper and I set it outside, thinking nothing of it and continuing on with my day as usual. The next day, I saw three ants. At this point, I realized that I might have an ant problem. I went searching and found a little pile of what looked like sawdust in my living room. I did some online research and quickly called an exterminator. I had carpenter ants! He sprayed my home on June 26th with a product called Dragnet, and I noticed a few days later that there were now ants in my basement. I contacted the exterminator and he came back to spray again, this time both the interior and exterior perimeter of my home. He told me to wait 2 weeks and then start searching for wet wood as that was what was attracting them. Well... on Thursday July 19th I went searching. I found a MASSIVE carpenter ant colony in my living room wall as well as black mold.
I spent my evening banging the walls with a hammer and vacuuming up the ants and rotting wood. I contacted my insurance provider and they promptly informed me that I am not covered for this kind of damage as the wood rot was caused from a slow leak over many years and they don't cover infestation or mold of any kind. None of this showed up in the inspection as it was under the exterior flashing. I have absolutely no recourse and after a visit from several general contractors and a remediation specialist, I now know that I can't even afford to remediate the mold let alone repair the giant hole in the side of my home before winter comes, and now the exterminator won't return my calls. I am so afraid that I am going to lose everything. I have worked so hard to get here, to earn my way into my own home. To lose it all to ants?!?! I can't sleep at night and when I do, I dream of them crawling on me. 

The remediation specialist is the only one to give me a semi-solid quote so far and his cost will be approximately $6,000.00 for just remediation, not for repair. The new exterminator quoted me up to $700 for a guarantee that the carpenter ants won't return this year, but I may need to repeat the treatment for up to two years. General contractors have given me ballpark quotes of $15,000.00 to $30,000.00 to replace and repair damaged framing, replace insulation and vapour barrier, replace all flashing boards and flashing, replace all exterior siding, remove stucco and replace water damaged OSB. The price may increase if we find another colony or if the colony or mold moved into the attic. Once I have written quotes I will certainly post them here.


July 25, 2018: The remediation specialist took some samples and it turns out that I have asbestos in my home as well. The only thing protecting me from it is a thick plastic sheet I taped up myself with duct tape. I was given a revised quote of 12-30k for asbestos and mould remediation depending on how much of my home has been exposed. I will also need to see if I have been exposed. I am at a total loss for what to do next. 

Thank you for your time and understanding. Any help is greatly appreciated and I will find a way to pay it forward.
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The carpenters who volunteered to start working on my home understandably pushed back the start date due to a very early snow fall. They are hoping to get started this upcoming weekend, September 22-23, weather permitting. Thanks to the kind folks at Big Steel Box, I was able to store the contents of my home just outside my front door FREE OF CHARGE!! I am happy to share that the asbestos abatement is now completed. Only the work that was absolutely necessary was done. The rest of the repairs will need to be completed from the exterior of the house to avoid disturbing the asbestos further. There are several windows that need to be replaced but also several that will be salvageable. New windows have been ordered and won’t likely get here until November. I will admit that I am very nervous about these next few steps. Once the carpenters remove the exterior plywood we will have a better idea of the extent of damage to the structure of my home. For the last couple weeks I have been hopping around staying in friends guest rooms or on couches and will continue to do so until I can move a bed or couch back into my house. My cat is set up at a friends house where she is getting spoiled with love and attention. I try to visit her a few times a week. Thank you again to everyone who has shown even an ounce of kindness. You have helped make this devastating experience a little more bearable. I promise to continue focusing on the positives and trying to learn as much as I can from this experience.
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A lot has happened in the last month and I am very excited to share some wonderful news, but first I want to thank every person who has volunteered, donated, and otherwise helped to propel me closer to a resolution to this craziness! I am relieved and excited to share that there is a plan now in place for the majority of the work needed on my home before winter. Work will begin next week and the hope is that everything will be sealed up by the end of September. Early next week the asbestos abatement will begin. I have been in communication with a member of the carpenters union named Ian. He contacted me to let me know that there are currently 10 carpenters who have volunteered to repair my home, beginning on September 15th. They aim to be done in just 2 days!!! I will need to purchase materials like insulation, lumber and tyvek and secure the rental of a dumpster and storage container. I can’t begin to tell you how surreal this feels. This has been an incredibly humbling experience that has reinforced my faith in the kindness and compassion of others. Some as close as neighbours and others as far as the U.K. I am eternally grateful.

I am waiting to hear back regarding the siding and soffit. I will post another update soon!
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I spent the entire long weekend alongside some wonderful volunteers as we tore off the exterior of my home to reveal much more extensive water damage. I will be spending every spare moment of my time wrapping the house in tyvek before the rain hits again.

Thank you so much to those of you who have already donated, offered meals, organized bottle drives and shared this page. I am eternally grateful. I'm still a long way from a resolution. Please keep sharing. Please keep talking about this. I still need your help.
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I found an ant in my bedroom... I couldn’t take it anymore. I pulled back some flashing and sure enough, more ants. At least 2 other colonies.
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$23,251 of $100,000 goal

Raised by 427 people in 1 month
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