Hot Environmental Topics

Bank Owned Homes & Mold

Jun 19, 2020 8:45:00 AM / by david sulock posted in mold, mold remediation, mold cleanup, mold contractor, Mold Testing, mold inspections, mold survey, mold assessments, mold consultant

0 Comments

The recession of 2008 can still be felt today in the form of foreclosed properties that have been flipped.    These flipped homes look nothing like the home when it was bank owned.   Flipped homes certainly hold appeal for homeowners who want move in conditions homes.  The photo below shows a house that went through renovations.

flipped home-1

This is a photo of the same home same area pre renovation.   Note the mold on the wood furniture on the left hand side of the photo.

mold in home before flip (002)

Bank owned houses due to no occupancy, have wildly ranging temperatures and humidity fluctuations.  In short, the house gets hot and humid in warmer months, which allows mold to grow.  We have done homes where we come across mold on walls, trim, furniture, attics, basements and crawl spaces due to the house not being heated and cooled.  These homes also may be like this for years.  This certainly makes for homes that are in desperate need of rehabilitation, the question you have to ask is was the mold addressed?

Almost certainly mold in attics and crawl spaces are typically not addressed as these are not areas where the flipper will get bang for their buck or even look for repairs.

Basements typically get partially redone because it creates a living space that was not present before.  The problem is mold that has grown during the foreclosure process gets covered over by clean sheetrock, concealing the mold.  We have seen cracks in foundation walls covered by fresh sheetrock.

Basement mold

 

Basements in bank owned homes typically will have some levels of mold growth.  Again, when these homes are not occupied, there is a high possibility of mold growth.  

Why Mold Test a Flipped Home?

Many house flippers tend to look over the mold growth in basements, one because they are not aware it is mold growth and two, they are unaware of any water issues.  It is Curren's recommendation to always do  Mold Testing in basements of those homes that are being flipped, especially if they were once not occupied and a Foreclosure, sheriff sale, tax sale or bank sale property. There are times when basements are finished or re-finished and the mold growth is covered up, but not specifically remediated.  Meaning, mold will continue to grow and fester in these areas and will not just disappear.  

Attics are yet another area that are not in the realm of a house flipper.  When an house is not occupied for a period of time, humidity and moisture builds up, especially in an area that has no air flow.  Non-occupied homes do  not always have electricity and whole house attic fans, attic fans and humidistat attic fans will not turn on when necessary.  These situations lead to mold growth in attics.

mold can grow in an attic

Curren Environmental suggests Mold Inspections and testing in homes that have not been occupied for a period of time.  Mold growth will occur within 72 hours in the right environment.  Its not to say that home flippers are hiding the mold, they may just be missing that what they see is mold growth.  They are not mold experts.

Questions?

Call Curren Today

or email at info@currenenvironmental.com

 

Read More

Will mold be an issue in my home sale?

Jun 4, 2020 10:30:00 AM / by david sulock posted in mold remediation, Mold Testing, mold inspections, mold survey, mold consultant, professional mold remediation

0 Comments

Will finding mold growth hurt my chances of selling my home?   This is a common question we are asked when a home buyer finds mold during a real estate transaction.   Mold is a known health hazard, from inhalation of mold spores to the generation of MVOC and mycotoxins, which are generated by mold growing can adversely affects human health. And although you may be living with the mold without incident, you can guarantee that the new owner will not want mold in their new home

In states like New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware where the housing stock is older, building materials have had more time to degrade which allows mold to grow.  Heck a 50 year old home has had plenty of time to have plumbing issues.  If purchasing an older home, expect mold during a sale.

attic mold

Finding mold and having to remediate mold is not driven by laws like a leaking oil tank would dictate remediation. Rather remediating a mold problem is going to be on the top of the buyers "To Do List" prior to purchase. Buyers can overlook the worn carpet, older windows and out-dated bathroom, but buyers can not overlook mold that tends to have buyers draw a line in the sand.  For one, buyers have plans for new paint, replacing the windows and carpet but not having to cleanup a mold problem.

basement sheetrock mold

Clearly visible mold is not a desirable feature of a home, we have never seen someone promote the presence of mold to sell a home. Sure we see homes that are being sold as is, which is a clear indication the owner knows there are defects in the home somewhere. But to say you have large walk in closets, newer kitchen and mold in the basement, yep we don't ever come across that statement.

Fretting over the type of mold and hazards associated with mold are a mute point, you won't see someone allergic to nuts try and differentiate the dangers between a peanut, walnut or cashew. 

Level heads prevail when managing a mold issue, you have to address mold on a molecular level.   You have mold growth in a home because the environment was conducive for the mold to grow.   Arguing that only a little water seeps into the basement after a heavy rain will not get a buyer to stop crowing about wanting the mold fixed. 

A competent mold company that is looking out for everyone's best interest is harder to find than you would expect, this is directly related to the fact that there are no mold regulations in New Jersey, Pennsylvania or Delaware.  Without mold regulations, you have no licensing, without mold licensing you have no competence hurdle for someone to perform mold work.   Any "Chuck in a Truck" will proclaim to be your mold expert.

At Curren we have completed 1000's of mold inspections and remediation and while each one is similar (they have mold) there are nuances to the project.  See the photo below, mold was caused by a disconnected dryer vent which exhausted moist air in the ceiling.  

mold in ceiling

We have seen a few things when it comes to mold.  We have a team of experienced inspectors and our crews are trained from the top down to do your mold job right.  This starts with finding the cause, fixing the sources and removing the mold.

mold inspections mold remediation

Mold Questions? Click Here

Read More

Mold Found in Attic

May 13, 2020 11:45:00 AM / by david sulock posted in mold survey, professional mold remediation

0 Comments

Mold likes to grow where people don't like to be.  Attics are a common place where we find mold during inspections.  Home sellers are often surprised to find out that they have mold in their attic.   Attics are not heated nor air conditioned, which means both humidity levels and temperature fluctuations are very varied and due to these conditions mold will find a home to grow.

All photos you will see on this page are from the same attic, each area of mold grew because of different environmental variables.

mold found in attic

The mold you see in this photo was caused by the bathroom vent leaking moist air onto the wood sheeting.

 

attic mold

The mold in this photo was from natural humidity over the years.

How do you correct attic mold.  First you need to identify the moisture source and correct the issue.  Attic mold may be caused by insufficient ventilation or air leaks from finished spaces.  Some bathrooms will vent moist air into the space creating an environment for mold growth.

 

Remediating mold rarely ever requires replacement of the wood surface but rather thorough cleaning of the wood, application of a fungicide and lastly a preventive coating that warranties that the wood will not allow mold growth.

 

20200507_141154

This photo shows an attic that has been remediated.  The white coating you see is fungistatic, meaning it inhibits mold growth.  These coating provide the owner a warranty that mold will not grow on the treated surface.

attic mold remediation

 

Curren environmental has over 20 years experience with mold, we have remediated thousands of properties over the years.

If you have a mold question or requested mold remediation Curren can help with an appropriate solution.

Call for Mold Questions.

 

 

 

 

Read More

Mold Testing & Mold Inspections

Oct 3, 2019 10:19:27 AM / by david sulock posted in mold contractor, Mold Testing, mold inspections, mold survey, mold consultant

0 Comments

Mold is truly a four letter word and also a very misunderstood term.  You've heard of "Black Mold" (not a real mold term) or "Toxic Mold" (no such thing)? In the mold testing and mold inspection industry "black toxic mold" should not be used.  Misinformation abounds, so here are some important facts about mold, mold remediation and mold testing

when do you test mold?

Growing mold off-gases, causing that musty odor you smell, and if you think your basements smells that way because it is a basement, you're wrong,  it's not supposed to smell musty.  Mold growth stains surfaces and is visible if you understand where and what to identify as mold.  If you see mold growing inside a building, something is wrong, it is not normal or typical, even at the shore/beach.  Curren knows because we have inspected thousands of properties and, no, they all do not have mold growing.

Pertaining to mold testing, when obvious mold is present the EPA agrees testing is not necessary.

If you have discolored building materials and are not 100% if its mold, surface sampling can be performed for verification of questionable staining indicative of mold.

mold testing

Mold Testing can verify if a stained or discolored surface is impacted with mold growth, such as  surface sampling and/or air testing (non viable spore trap sampling). These mold tests quantify both mold spore count in a room and also evaluates for hidden mold in a complaint room where no visible mold is present.

Call Curren Today

Pro Tip:  Buying a house that is being flipped and the basement is finished, get a mold inspection with mold testing.

Pro Tip:  Buying a home that was bank owned and rehabbed?  Get a mold inspection with mold testing.

mold air testing

Our ratio of finding hidden mold in both situations is around 90%, but 70% of the time we get called in AFTER someone has bought one of these types homes, in cases such as these, mold is found after you own the property.

Proper mold remediation is the removal of an unwanted condition, such as mold. This follows a multi-step process which typically entails containment of work area, followed by physical removal, cleaning and encapsulation of remaining organic surfaces and air scrubbing, all of which are appropriate and proposed for the subject site.

Curren Environmental has over 20 years’ experience in the environmental field and we provide Certified Education (CE) classes on environmental topics, including mold, so we know what we are talking about. There are only 11 states in the country that have mold regulations and licensing  programs and New Jersey is not one of them. Curren nor any other company in New Jersey holds a New Jersey license for mold remediation as the license does not exist. Generally speaking, mold remediation follows asbestos abatement guidelines to contain a workspace, establish air filtration and remove (remediate) mold. Curren has personnel that hold asbestos licensing and our personnel follow these procedures from independent training schools as well as in-house training program.

Expert advice from mold experts

888-301-1050

 

Read More

How much does a mold assessment cost?

Mar 11, 2019 8:31:00 AM / by david sulock posted in mold inspections, mold survey, mold assessments

0 Comments

Mold surveys on average can cost $300.00 to $700.00 for a residential dwelling.  Mold inspection costs are contingent on size of the area evaluated and if mold sampling (surface or air sampling) is performed. 

Thorough inspection include not only an experience mold inspector but include infrared evaluation to locate moisture

Infrared mold inspection

 

Commercial mold assessments  can start around $600.00 and go into the thousands of dollars contingent on building size and sampling performed.  Many commercial mold inspection include are sampling to assess overall air quality in the space.   Health concerns driven by employees and tenants in leased spaces dictate compliant rooms where inspection is required.  Vacant commercial spaces that are purchased or have new tenant leases often have mold assessment performed to assess mold risk and as  baseline for overall air quality relative to mold.  In short the longer a space is unoccupied, the greater the likelihood that mold growth will occur.

 

commercial mold assessments

 

When is mold sampling necessary?

Mold sampling is completed to verify that a stained surface is mold or mold air sampling is performed to assess for hidden mold or general air quality. 

The photo below shows stained wood supports and there was a question in the real estate transaction if the staining was or was not mold.   Surface tape sampling was performed.  Ultimately the staining was found to be mold, a red flag in the photo are the cobwebs, insects and mold both need moisture to thrive.

mold inpsection sampling

 

When is air sampling for mold necessary?

Many mold inspections are driven by a concern that water damage occurred in a space (either disclosed or suspected).  When mold is suspected but not visible, air sampling is typically performed.   You might have a newly renovated space, which would clearly conceal any evidence of mold either past or hidden, air sampling is very thorough way to evaluate the space.  Even infrared may have a problem if the water source has been addressed, you moisture meters and infrared cameras no matter how expensive can only find moisture when present.  Often times the water issue is repaired but the mold is not remediated.

The photo below shows air testing inside of a ceiling cavity.   The property was under contract and the buyer found permits for demolition and rebuild of the space above due to a water leak.  This portion of the dwelling which was a walk out room had been deconstructed walls and a sheetrock ceiling (newer with obvious repairs).  Air testing was warranted at s the ceiling could not be visually inspected and the space was going to be finished by the new owner.  Long story short, mold was found above the ceiling and remediation was performed at owner's experience. 

mold inspection

Experienced mold professionals know the basis of any mold growth is that for Mold  spores to grow the surface must be moist  Dry areas will not have mold growth.  Just as a room can have different temperatures so can the room have different humidity levels.   The inside of wall cavities are ideal conditions for mold growth.

mold found a finished wall

 

When do you  perform a mold inspection or mold assessment?

  • When purchasing a home
  • Unexplained musty odors (mold growth off gassing)
  • Spotting on possessions.
  • Experiencing health concerns
  • Water leak in office or home
  • Buying a bank owned home.
  • Buying a home that was flipped.

 

Mold Questions? Click Here

 

Read More

Should I perform a mold inspection?

Feb 25, 2019 9:42:00 AM / by david sulock posted in Mold Testing, mold inspections, mold survey, mold assessments

0 Comments

Should I get a mold inspection?

 

Mold inspections are commonly performed as part of many  residential real estate transactions.  Mold inspections are typically driven by the buyer as opposed  to a requirement  of the mortgage approval process.  There are three main factors that are attributable to the increase in Mold inspections.   The primary driver is consumers being more educated about mold (thank the internet).  The aging housing stock allows for degraded building infrastructure (deferred maintenance) which provides  opportunities for mold to grow.   the reverse of degraded materials is better building techniques and home improvements that create tighter building envelopes that help retain moisture in the built environment, which in turn fuels mold growth.  

 

The photo below represents deferred maintenance that allowed mold to grow.   To know the exact reason, you would have to speak to one of our environmental managers.

mold inspections are part of the home buying process

 

There are a few situations that should make you look for a mold problem.  Mold inspections should be completed on homes that  have been unoccupied for extended periods of time. If a house has been closed up and unoccupied for months or years, humidity most likely has built up inside and caused mold to grow.  All bank owned properties should have a mold inspection performed due to the humidity concerns mentioned above.  Homes that have been flipped or rehabbed should have a mold inspection performed because these homes have a high probability of growth (Most were bank owned) and we have found that often times the mold has been covered over or ignored by the real estate investor.  Flipped homes should have mold inspections with air testing to search for hidden mold.

 

The piece of furniture in the photo below, has mold growing on it.  The mold manifested itself over a period of weeks after moving into an older rehab home.  Curren found mold behind the newly finished walls and water entry from the foundation wall that was not properly water proofed prior to sheetrock.

mold inspections can find hidden mold

 Home inspections typically do not cover mold inspections and most home inspectors are not experienced with mold.

 

The photo below was flagged for having mold, a part of the photo has mold and  apart is not mold.  Do you know which is which?

IMG_3698-1

 

Mold inspections should be performed on homes where water damage has occurred either one time or when chronic water issues are present.  Basements and crawlspaces are target rich environments for mold growth.

 

1-888-301-1050

 

What affects the cost of a mold inspection?

Two main factors determine the cost of a mold inspection.  Mold inspection costs are based on the time it takes to complete the inspections, simply put larger homes take longer to inspect than smaller homes. If mold testing is needed it will add to the inspection cost as you now have laboratory analysis to pay for and time for the mold professional to interpret the data.

The best mold inspections are professionals that have experience in both mold inspection and remediation.  Finding mold during a mold inspection and following the project through to remediation provides the firm a 360 degree view of the mold problem.  We have completed thousands of mold inspections and remediation and while they all have similarities there are nuisances to each project.  

 Do I need to inspect a  new home for mold? 

New homes should have mold inspection because there is actually a term we use called new home mold.  Mold can grow during the home construction process, the crews working on a new home don't have the experience with mold and accordingly are not aware that growth has occurred.

 

 

residential mold inspections

Read More

Subscribe to Email Updates

Lists by Topic

see all

Posts by Topic

see all

Recent Posts