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Is that black paint in the attic or is it...


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Mold?!

Really, It was everywhere. The only place that was lacking mold, funny enough, was right over the bathroom vent. Must have used clorox cleaner in the bathroom.

The attic had two big gable vents and that's it.

ON A SIDE NOTE:

The basement had a sump well that was a culvert pipe turned on it's side with 2 feet of water in it. The dry basement guy gave them a bid of $10,000 for a system including an industrial dehumidifyer.

Back to the attic:

So they need more ventilation and some kind of cleaning/eradication product. Any reccommendations. Or should this be handled by "professionals"

Thanks from the stupid new guy probably getting in over his head,

John

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Hi,

If the underside of the roof was just discolored dark gray to black, doesn't have any fuzzy stuff growing on it and no delamination you can treat it with BoraCare and it will be alright. Just google it and then look for a local distributor.

It's about $100 a gallon and can be cut 1/1 with water and applied as a fine mist to the underside of the roof with a 2-1/2 gallon pump sprayer. It's toxic to fungi, not toxic to humans and doesn't leave any residual odor.

It's a pain in the a** to to mix and agitate (gotta keep it in constant motion), but it'll basically kill all that black stuff and make everything it's applied to immune to future infestation and bugs.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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I used to provide all manner of recommendations for mold, but the entire topic has gotten so goofy, I dodge it entirely.

What one see's in my reports now goes something like this.....

"I saw some black stains in the attic/bsmt./crawlspace that could be mold. Mold is in the news a lot lately, w/ lots of opinioss regarding it's effects on humans. I am not a doctor, so my opinion on the possible health effects is worthless. You should talk to your physician about the possible health effects of mold.

What I do know is water is necessary for mold to grow; if there is mold, you have a moisture problem that should be corrected. I think water is entering the building @................................ To correct these conditions, you should ...................... . After the moisture problems are addressed, you should have the mold removed by a mold removal contractor. Additional information regarding mold is available @

CDC http://www.cdc.gov/nceh/airpollution/mold/pib.htm

EPA http://www.epa.gov/iaq/molds/moldguide.html

http://www.epa.gov/iaq/molds/images/moldguide.pdf"

Or this, which I believe I lifted from Jeffrey May; it may be plagiarized. If it is, I'm sorry.

"The media/manufacturer/contractor history of health and environmental scams is long. Viruses, bacteria, carbon monoxide, cigarette smoke, mercury in fillings and tuna, heavy meals in drinking water, radon, lead, asbestos, electromagnetic fields, Alar in apples, DDT, endocrine disrupters, UV light, to name a few, and now mold. Everyone has an opinion on these issues, depending on their experiences and fears. Most worry a little about some issues, and a few worry a lot about many.

Whatever you believe, each individual’s true risk is a complicated affair, a combination of genetics, previous and current exposures, age, health, drug use, etc. Experiencing a bee sting or eating a peanut may seem trivial to most of you, but can be lethal to some. Do you cover your mouth or hold your breath if someone coughs in an elevator? Hope that the person who made your sandwich washed his hands after using the toilet? In reality, you can rarely if ever estimate the risk of any hazard for any particular person.

Risk is everywhere, and fear, rational or not, increases our perception of risk. Awareness of mold risk is a relatively new phenomenon, and evaluating the true risk is confusing, because unlike most of the other issues of concern, it is not one, but thousands of things: glucans, mycotoxins, allergens and volatiles from the spores and hyphae of not one, but potentially hundreds of fungal species. And spores in the air, though invisible, are ubiquitous. Also, unlike most other risks, mold growth consists of living organisms, possibly absent one day, and present the next. In addition, mold is food for mold-eating mites, millions of which can be foraging in moldy crawl space.

So what do you tell the client with a crawl space full of mold? That every crawl space is full of mold and not to worry? Buy the house and then burn it down? I believe that the precautionary principle should rule here. Scientists don’t yet know what all the risks are from mold exposure, but many physicians do know that chronic indoor exposures to mold spores can cause respiratory problems, asthma symptoms, chronic cough, and in more extreme circumstances or hypersensitivity pneumonitis. (Organic toxic dust syndrome, OTDS, is an acute illness caused by massive mold exposure in grain silos, for example). So it makes sense to keep exposures low wherever feasible. (For home inspectors, this means wearing at least a NIOSH N-95, double-strap mask or respirator, in crawl spaces.)

The client will not be living in the crawl space, but studies have shown that 30 to 50% (or even more) of the air in a house can come from the crawl space. (As has been noted, leaky ducts will certainly increase the air exchange.) Even if the crawl space is relatively isolated from the home, microbial volatiles can diffuse through the wood and create musty odors in the habitable spaces above.

Will the spores or other mold components from the crawl space be a risk to the client or his family? This is a question that you will rarely be able to answer. So, again, it makes sense to minimize everyone’s indoor exposure. In practical terms, what does this mean?

I believe that there should be no visible mold indoors. This includes basements and crawl spaces (and HVAC systems). Preventing mold growth is very simple: keep biodegradable materials dry and away from humid air. Basements and crawl spaces in most areas of the country should be dehumidified and tight (not ventilated to the exterior).

Basements and crawl spaces where there is mold growth should be cleaned and previously moldy surfaces sealed. Fiberglass insulation must always be removed. (In dust I sampled from over 50 moldy basements that were not dehumidified, 75% of the insulation was severely contaminated with mold growth in the trapped dust, usually Aspergillus and/or Cladosporium mold, and over 30% of the insulation was infested with mold-eating mites, another source of potential allergens.) Crawl spaces should never have exposed soil. Concrete over the soil is ideal, but an airtight vapor barrier is acceptable.

The level of care taken during clean-up depends on many variables, though workers must always wear respiratory protection. A vacant home with no carpets will not require extraordinary care, whereas an occupied home will require remediation with full, "asbestos-like" containment. Unfortunately, as more federal, state and local governments become involved, common sense will no longer prevail and wasteful levels of precautions will be required.

The black, green, brown, etc. molds that most of you are talking about are NOT wood destroying organisms. They live on the surface of wood, digesting nutrients, such as sugars (from sap) and starches (stored in parenchyma cells), or accumulated dust, but not the lignin or crystalline cellulose that provides the structural integrity of the wood. (Wood decay fungi, which need a great deal more moisture, do destroy either or both of the structural components.) Since molds are strictly a surface phenomenon, in many cases, mild cleaning or HEPA-vacuuming and sealing with paint is the common-sense approach to remediation.

Most important, the conditions that led to the growth must be eliminated. Crawl spaces should be dehumidified, not filled with humid, outdoor air!!!! (So forget about $1,000, fan-systems that only exhaust basement air and claim to dry them out!) We always recommend Therma-Stor products, which, to avoid mold growth on the cooing coil, have a minimum of MERV 6 filtration. (I often find the coils of inexpensive, inadequately filtered dehumidifiers, covered with mold. and other slime; see attached)

Or.......

"I saw mold/mildew in the crawlspace. Mold grows due to the right combination of moisture & warmth. Mold/mildew spores are everywhere, but we usually can't see them. Mold is very common in crawlspaces in this part of the country. The likelihood of finding any crawlspace completely free of mold is very small, maybe impossible.

That said, it is good to try to reduce or eliminate mold. The best way to reduce mold/mildew in crawlspaces is to make sure that roof and ground water drains away from the foundation, install an air tight vapor barrier on the dirt floor, and repair any plumbing leaks immmediately. Ideally, you should try to get humidity levels in the crawlspace below 50%; low humidity will minimize the potential for mold growth.

If you have air handling equipment in the crawlspace, you need to have it serviced regularly as well, as the ducts/equipment are a means for crawlspace mold to find its way into the habitable areas of the house. Air conditioning evaporator coils in particular are often caked w/ mold, so cleaning & servicing the HVAC equipment is important.

I am not an expert on mold/mildew removal or the health effects of mold on different people, but there are many folks who claim to be. If you decide to have the mold/mildew tested or removed, research these contractors carefully, and be sure to make a choice based on facts and not a sales pitch. If you want to know the health effects of mold on you or your family, talk to your physician.

You can get more information about mold on the internet at

http://www.epa.gov/iaq/molds/images/moldguide.pdf."

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Sorry Les No Pics.

Mike thanks, this is sounds exactly like what I was looking for. I know I'm getting in over my head but I'll let the buyers know.

Kurt, your help is and has been incredibly valuable. I've adopted your down-to-earth, no bullsh*t style and my clients really appreciate it and now you've become part of my boilerplate. Thanks for everything.

John

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The media/manufacturer/contractor history of health and environmental scams is long. Viruses, bacteria, carbon monoxide, cigarette smoke, mercury in fillings and tuna, heavy meals in drinking water, radon, lead, asbestos, electromagnetic fields, Alar in apples, DDT, endocrine disrupters, UV light, to name a few, and now mold.

Not to start a wider debate, but how in the world could anyone class stuff like carbon monoxide and lead in with mold as an enviromental scam?

Brian G.

Apples & Oranges, IMHO

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Originally posted by Brian G.

Not to start a wider debate, but how in the world could anyone class stuff like carbon monoxide and lead in with mold as an enviromental scam?

Brian G.

Apples & Oranges, IMHO

I don't know. I double checked, and that ditty is from Jeffrey May; you'd have to ask him.

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  • 4 months later...

I am hoping someone can help me. I ran across an attic with a bathroom fan vented into it and identified the black on the sheathing as mold or mildew. A restoration company came in and sprayed the attic with a white spray. Could anyone guess if this is a satisfactory remediation technique? The client wants them to scrub it. Also, does anyone know where we could get a good test kit? Home inspection is new in this area so I have run into alot of doubters and want to be able to cover all of the bases. They must of had a big sale on bathroom fans but forgot to tell people they need to vent them somewhere besides the attic.

Thank you

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They've used a pigmented shellac. That will not kill the mold or even prevent it from growing. It's fine to block stains with but that's about all. The stuff needs to be killed and then cleaned up with soap and water.

Don't let them get away with this. Do a google search on pigmented shellac and sooner or later you'll find the government document I'm thinking of that stressed this.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Wow Kurt,

Tell us how you really feel???[:-paperba I usualy give options, Mold Test, or mold clean up?

I never say "mold" (as advised by counsel) I say "mold like substance" and usually advise client's for plan "B" ......clean up. As I have established an excellent repore with a local fire, water and mold damage clean up specialist, I refer all my cliens to him and his crew.

He does not show up in Nuclear fall out suits, and blasts it clean with a baking soda type abrasive and performs the entire remidial as far as the wood, drywall and insulation replacement.

I have recieved nothing but comliments for recommending him and his services.

Hey, we need to have lunch sometime, I was down in the City 5 times last week!!!![:-glasses

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