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Hi all,

My wife and i are interested in buying a house. Sellers' inspector found mold in attic and had someone in to remediate. Our inspector said it looks like the mold is still there (can see the discoloring on the wood still, can't tell if it's incapsulated). The sellers' remediator said they cleaned everything, sprayed with mold-killer, encapsulated it, and ran HEPA filters there for 3 days. When we told sellers what our inspector said, they had a second company in to evaluate the first company's work and they said (from the first company's description) that it was done adequately.

Since the mold still looks like it's there, how do we know that it's dead and that it stays dead? Do we need to continually have it tested or something? When we go to sell the house one day, how do we convince prospective buyers that even though it looks like there's mold there, that it's dead and not a problem?

Thanks for any advice...

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Hi all,

My wife and i are interested in buying a house. Sellers' inspector found mold in attic and had someone in to remediate. Our inspector said it looks like the mold is still there (can see the discoloring on the wood still, can't tell if it's incapsulated). The sellers' remediator said they cleaned everything, sprayed with mold-killer, encapsulated it, and ran HEPA filters there for 3 days. When we told sellers what our inspector said, they had a second company in to evaluate the first company's work and they said (from the first company's description) that it was done adequately.

Since the mold still looks like it's there, how do we know that it's dead and that it stays dead? Do we need to continually have it tested or something? When we go to sell the house one day, how do we convince prospective buyers that even though it looks like there's mold there, that it's dead and not a problem?

Thanks for any advice...

Either accept the documented statements from the folks who know (at least a little) about what's considered proper remediation, or tear off and replace the affected parts of the roof.

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If the second company - hired by the seller - came in and said only that the work was 'done adequately', I'd toss that assessment in the trash.

I'd want a detailed report. Did it involve physically removing the growth? From what areas? How removed? Show me the protocol. Was the growth killed first? Encapsulated? Where did the elevated humidity come from that allowed the growth to begin in the first place. Source of humidity corrected?

No detailed report? No sale. At least not until MY remediator does what I ask for and MY inspector says it's ok.

Marc

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Was it even "mold"?

The entire mold "industry" is loony enough that it's entirely possible the "mold" in the attic was staining from when the lumber was sitting in the lumber yard. It wouldn't be the first, tenth, or hundredth time I've seen "mold experts" report on mold that was, oh, maybe.....40 year old stains, or mildew, or black sap stains in the wood. I wouldn't trust what anyone in any mold related business had to say about anything; I'd have to see it with my own eyes and make an assessment of the house.

If you're someone inclined to believe the ridiculous tripe offered by mold experts and those with extreme vested interests in convincing you it's a big problem, don't buy the house.

Otherwise, don't sweat it. Buy the house. Ala Meiland, figure out where the moisture in the attic came from that allowed the "mold" to grow, correct it, and get on with life.

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The source of moisture was ducting from the 2nd floor bathroom vent that was either improperly installed or knocked loose. That has been fixed. Our inspector verified that.

Perhaps we should just replace the roof (which is about 14 years old) to eliminate the (dead?) mold that's there. That's $6-8k expense.

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Nightwing - From your comments it sounds as though the remediation approach is pretty close to that which we write in our plans. When a sealer (encapsulate) is used there is an option to use a clear application. If any substances were left over from the cleaning process they would still be visible. The clear sealer has a slight shine to it when you view it from the right angle - it's not always easy to see.

Don't go the "dead mold" approach. Whether dead or dormant mold spores can still cause reactions. I suggest you obtain all the relevant documentation pertaining the the remediation for use when you turn around and sell the home down the road.

One other thought. Did anyone figure out why the mold was there in the first place and was anything done to correct the cause? That's important to know. In our reports the cause is identified (with the appropriate corrective measures) in our remediation plans.

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The source of moisture was ducting from the 2nd floor bathroom vent that was either improperly installed or knocked loose. That has been fixed. Our inspector verified that.

Perhaps we should just replace the roof (which is about 14 years old) to eliminate the (dead?) mold that's there. That's $6-8k expense.

It's probably a lot more than 6-8 grand; you're talking about stripping and replacing all the sheathing.

Most 14 year old roofing is OK, and may even last another 14 years. There's no such thing as a statistical life on roofing; roofing performs as well as it drains. What did your inspector say about the roof?

If you really can't stand the idea of encapsulated mold, replace the roof and sheathing. Otherwise, it's OK if the contractor applied an encapsulant.

Also, is there an ambient level measurement? This may surprise you, but you're breathing mold right now; the vast percentage of mold reports I see note approximately similar levels both inside and outside houses. Maybe yours is different, but I doubt it. I find mold every day, in just about everywhere I look. Most of it is dealt with just fine by cleaning personnel doing what they do.

Eric is in the mold business. He's inclined to recommend all sorts of things that people in the mold business recommend. Mold business folks like confusion; it's high margin activity.

Also, taking health advice from home inspectors is something you might want to think about.

Talk to your doctor or medical professional; see what they say. Get an ambient mold measurement, then compare it to what's in your house.

Get a balanced perspective. Talking to mold folks and home inspectors isn't a balanced perspective.

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Please do. I have been begging Eric and other's that push mold issues to provide me with peer reviewed medical studies substantiating anything they have to say. So far, I'm still waiting.

I like data. Maybe your house will provide some that tells me I'm all wrong and need to carefully consider my position on mold.

The data that I collect, from doctors (some nationally famous) and customers that do mold tests, suggests it's possibly one of the least significant IAQ hazards except for a relatively small percentage of the population. Mold folks don't do data; they like the idea that it's a problem regardless of any other consideration.

Data rules AFAIC.

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... (because my wife is paranoid).

Then look for another house, because, no matter what the results say today, she may never be truly comfortable.

Happy wife, happy life!

(it's just easier that way)

Agreed. Replace that roof deck or look for another house. I might have a different answer if I could see the house myself but given just your info, that's how I'd proceed.

Marc

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The source of moisture was ducting from the 2nd floor bathroom vent that was either improperly installed or knocked loose. That has been fixed. Our inspector verified that.

I would doubt the bathroom exhaust fan was the only reason for the mold growth, unless it was very localized. It's likely that the exhaust fan combined with marginal attic ventilation is the cause.
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Condition the attic space. SPF on the roof deck will encasulate (read that as make it invisible) the 'mold', eliminate the need to evaluate the attic vent scheme, and cost $6-8,000 less than the new roof you've under guestimated. Oh, and there will be factual, measurable gains for the investment.

Then you can burn the remediation documents. No need to remind the missus there was a problem, or disclose an (non)issue that has been fixed.

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That'd work. I still wonder what's actually going on. Is it really mold? How much? Cause? These things are not addressed in the OP.

These things can be real, or not. One never knows because the mold folks make everything seem like a death trip.

The guy may not need anything more than what's already been done. What was already done may not have even been necessary.

It'd be good to see pictures and get some sense of what's really going on.

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Kurt,

It seems everyone involved (sellers' inspector, sellers' remediator, our inspector, and our air-quality tester) agrees that it was/is mold.

The only source mentioned was re: the bathroom fan ductwork that ran through the space and had a hole in it. Both inspectors and the remediator all seem to agree that there is adequate ventilation. The only other comment re: roof quality was from our inspector who said that the roof was getting near the end of its life, with some lifted shingles and popped nails.

Here's a clip of the tape test results from the lab. Air quality results due tomorrow.

Click to Enlarge
tn_201321815545_tape%20test%20results.jpg

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Seth,

I try to stay out of and away from mold evaluations and remediations. That said, I do own a mold remediation company and have never tested for mold. Couple of times we have had a third party properly test after the work. Sounds like you are in the middle of a spitting match.

My opinion, from several hundred miles away, is that there ain't enough "mold" to stick in your eye, much less spend hundreds and hundreds of dollars to learn what you already know. What you have written regarding holes in vent pipes, tape samples, air o cells, etc is quite typical and nearly all nonsense. Your last post of the tape test results should be read, then disregarded. It tells you nothing.

Concrobium used as an encapsulant will appear nearly invisable. There is a product that will remove the discolored material. And there are 1,000's of products that will cover the mold.

Fix the air circulation problem if you buy this house. Please see Richard Moore's post above.

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Yeah, it's mold. Not much of it. I see that amount on regular basis, always report it, and about 1/4 of the time folks actually do something about it.

Clean it, encapsulate it, forget about it.

Or, give in to craziness and wife's paranoia and reenter the freakshow called the NAR home purchase process.

Personally, I'd pay twice the amount of money already spent to simply not have to endure any more realtor blather and inspector-speak. The mold would be the easy part.

Shopping for houses is way more stressful than dealing with a couple thimblefuls of mold.

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