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MOLD...the four letter word in real estate transactions.

Nov 15, 2021 1:00:00 PM / by Tiffany Byrne posted in mold, mold remediation, mold cleanup, mold contractor, mold assessments, Mold, Mold growth, mold remediation

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Mold is the new four-letter word of real estate transactions. If either mold is visually found or testing is done (airborne mold spores and/or surface sampling), the transaction has a high percentage that it may not happen. There are many stories of real estate transactions with mold growth, but this one is very interesting.

The story goes that a buyer was interested in a home and during the home inspection, the home inspector took an air sample in the basement and the outside (exterior) for comparison.  There was no photo or knowledge of where the air sample was acquired from, for example the photo below documents where the air sampling was acquired (ex. kitchen).

Air sampling

Back to the story - The buyers wanted the entire basement remediated down to the studs.  The seller contacted Curren Environmental and  we provided sampling as well.  Our sampling showed mold was present in the basement bedroom. 

Sample results before and after

What does this lab data mean?

 The Stachybotrys as shown above in the sample results prior to remediation , should not have a raw count above one, and it was at 43.  Penicillium/Aspergillus was also very high, with the spr/m3 at 23,467 where it is recommended that should not be above 1000.  The second set of numbers are after remediation where the airborne mold spores dropped dramatically and were within industry standards.  Note - no home will be mold free. 

As part of the story, you need to know that this property was vacant for over 2 years. The heat and air were on as part of maintenance but not properly dehumidified. Mold growth occurs where there is moisture and organic materials. In this case, there was visual signs of mold growth on some furniture in the basement bedroom, but not in the basement living space and  small visual signs on the sheetrock wall in the basement bedroom.  There was no need to remediation and remove the entire basement back to the studs. 

What happened next?

When the humidity is high and the property is not well ventilated, mold growth will occur. These spores can become airborne and move throughout the home. This home had a lot of carpet which holds mold spores. Curren Environmental provided Mold Remediation at this property.

  • Carpet was removed and tack strips were removed.
  • All organic furniture that could not be wiped down was disposed.
  • Removed mold impacted sheetrock, 18 inches past mold growth in basement bedroom. 
  • HEPA vacuum walls and floors in the entire basement
  • A broad spectrum, FDA approved, fungicide was applied to the walls and the flooring in the rooms.
  • Air scrubbers were on during remediation and left at the property for at least 72 hours.

As the story goes, post air testing showed elevated spore levels dropped dramatically at the property. Please see below. For this story, only the sheetrock area that had mold growth was removed and the carpet, no other sheetrock was removed.  

 

Mold the four letter word

The ending, a happy buyer, a happy seller and clean home. Not every property that has elevated mold spores needs to have everything torn down and removed. A mold remediation professional will look at the data, photos provided and any other detailed information prior to handing over a cost. It is very important to understand that mold is everywhere and there are no “Mold Free” properties.

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Are free Mold inspections scams?

Sep 23, 2021 2:33:00 PM / by David C Sulock posted in mold remediation, mold cleanup, mold contractor, Mold Testing, mold inspections, mold survey, mold professional, Mold, Mold growth, mold remediation

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It is not uncommon for mold to be found at a residence. Mold will grow silently over years in areas of your home that you may not even go in. 

Free mold inspections
During the home inspection or a mold inspection, mold  will show up during a real estate transaction. The rub with mold is that someone may see staining and call it mold or during a  home inspection, the inspector may test a surface for mold and confirm mold and then you are left with the knowledge that mold is present. What you won't know is why it grew, how to prevent it in the future and to what extent the mold is present.

The mold dilemma is there are only 11 states that have mold regulations so the industry lacks real mold professionals. If you are in NJ, PA or DE there is no mold licensing so in theory you can't find a mold professional or you can't find a state licensed professional.

The lack of mold regulations create no barrier of entry for someone wanting  to do mold work.  If you don't need a license  that saves you a lot of time and brain power.

Companies try and drum up work by offering "Free Mold inspections".   Are mold inspections truly free?    The time to give professional advice is not free,  as there has to be a cost involved to evaluate a property and provide professional advice. Free mold inspections, should read, "You are going to pay me to remediate mold if you need it or not". In the photo below, an inspector said that was mold and recommended remediation. 

Mold or water damageProfessional mold inspections can average around $500, plus or minus depending on size of property and if surface or airborne sampling is performed.

mold inspectionsLet's be clear we have given thousands of 2nd opinions over the years and there is always three common threads we find with mold advice.

  1. Many owners of properties that are told they need mold remediation, do not actually need mold remediation.
  2. Mold often grows back when the mold was inadequately addressed. Read, consultant never stopped the actual cause of the mold. (Leak, moisture intrusion, humidity, etc)
  3. The mold testing person doesn't understand the results of the mold testing, the cause of the mold growth or the actual extent.  Case in point inspector sampled a crawl space and a basement that were connected. We were asked to provide a cost to remediate the crawlspace, when in fact the basement had the bigger mold issue and people used the basement to exercise, so the mold exposure was greatest in the basement, but that is not what the consultant recommended.    The problem with non-mold professionals is they like to take a samples because they will get a really long, slick looking report of lab data, which is all pretty boilerplate, but it looks nice.  Because the lab gives such a nice package the actual mold consultants feel they do not have to provide an opinion in writing, it happens all the time.    So they find mold but they can't say it doesn't have to be remediated, why it would need remediation, what would be the difference or really most important what is the cause, causes or even likely causes for the mold.  

Regarding the "report".  A mold inspection report isn't the lab data from the lab, it should be a written report detailing the inspection, what was found, what wasn't found, and most importantly is why was there mold in the first place.  The report should also go over, in detail, what the lab data means, along with photos.

The bottom line is many mold companies work in their best interest not that of the owner or client.  This is particularly true if you are being offered free advice.

 

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What is the driver for Mold Remediation?

Jan 25, 2021 11:30:00 AM / by David C Sulock posted in mold, mold consultant, Mold, Mold growth, mold remediation

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aka How Did Covid-19 affect Mold Remediation?

About 45 days into the Covid-19 situation, we saw an uptick in mold remediation at residential properties.  In short,  Covid-19 drove mold remediation up by 27% from 2019. How did Covid-19 drive mold remediation?

    Mold growth attic Mold Remediation Attic

Typically, home inspections (home inspector) for the sale of a property discover possible mold growth and the buyer requires that the mold be addressed. Mold is not a selling feature and it's typically not promoted on the home listing information.  

Mold Growth Sell Sheet

 

Buyers finding mold in a home is your typical mold remediation driver.

Because of Covid-19 we found there were also many homeowners performing their own home inspections prior to putting their property on the market to sell. Sellers want to know what would be some of the problems in their homes to proactively make repairs. This ensures a smoother, quicker real estate transaction. What are the top repairs? During our work, we saw a lot of plumbers, and electricians doing work.   So some homeowners found mold on their own and wanted it addressed prior to listing the home.  We had quite a few remediate mold and never sell their home as they found searching for a new home too much of an ordeal.

So Covid-19 Made People More Aware of Mold?

Covid-19 put people on lockdown, on work from home, exercise from home, cook from home, people were just home more because of Covid-19.  Being home more made people aware of their homes.  Musty odors were more noticeable, discolored wood that you didn’t think twice about but would totally pass over at the lumber yard made people think about the possibility of mold being present in their homes.    Before the Peloton bike was put in the basement,  the white powder on the ceiling made  sense. 

        Mold on basement ceiling       Musty odor is active mold growth

Working in the home office in the basement, made you smells things you didn't smell before.    Is that musty smell active mold growth?  (YES). 

How about moving those boxes out of the basement to the attic so we finish the basement.  Hey what is that dark staining in the attic?   (mold)

The basement that would get wet occasionally was now a concern.  We removed a lot of sheetrock in basements during Covid. 

 

                 Mold Remediation Basement    Mold Remediation Basement

Read more at Curren's Mold Frequently Asked Questions.

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