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Any Help Much Appreciated! - Mold


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We are in the process of buying a home that we knew had a mold problem. We were told the mold was due to a leak roof that was repaired in 2009. We were not initially too concerned and were willing to purchase with the anticipation of having the mold removed prior to moving in.

However, now we are having second thoughts as we have had more of an opportunity to look at the mold and to research the issue. We are concerned that (1) the mold could create structural issues (2) there may be even more mold than we see but we can't cut open the walls to assess this since we don't own the home and (3) we have a one year-old and while we're not of the "Mold=Death" mentality, his well-being is without a doubt the highest priority for us. And

I've included some photos of the worst spots and was hoping that someone might be able to offer some advice as to how difficult it would be to remove (one company quoted us 8k to remove) and ultimately, whether it would be foolish to purchase a home with this magnitude of mold.

Any help, suggestions greatly, greatly appreciated!

http://www.flickr.com/photos/49096743@N ... 682287447/

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Uhm, the only thing I see that I can positively ID as mold is the drawer pic, so is that predicated on the stains or the fact that everything looks as old and out dated as the Harvest Gold range hood?

I would be far more concerned by the poor condition of the tiles than anything else in those pictures. A redo is in order, but for far more reasons than a little mold.

Tom

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Yes, it's hard to tell the degree of the problem.

It might be a big deal, or not.

Is drywall damaged, or is it surface mold? Does the shower leak? What other moisture source could have caused the problem?

Very important.......who told you the problem was a roof leak? The realtor? Realtors are very big on making problems appear isolated and inconsequential.

Was there an inspector involved in the transaction?

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Yes, it's hard to tell the degree of the problem.

It might be a big deal, or not.

Is drywall damaged, or is it surface mold? Does the shower leak? What other moisture source could have caused the problem?

Very important.......who told you the problem was a roof leak? The realtor? Realtors are very big on making problems appear isolated and inconsequential.

Was there an inspector involved in the transaction?

Since we haven't bought the property, we were told that we couldn't due any investigation that involved cutting, etc.

There is a leak in the upstairs bathroom, most likely due to the seat in the shower and we were told the pan beneath would have to be replaced at a cost of about 1k.

There was an inspector, it was originally ordered by the selling agent, but we have contacted our own inspector to look at it as well.

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Any pics that show whole areas? Some establishing photos would help but it looks like a substantial gut and redo.

No unfortunately, no pics to show whole areas (other than the photos from the for sale ad).

The first thing one smells though in walking into the house is the mold. There is carpeting, but hardwood underneath (at least upstairs).

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Uhm, the only thing I see that I can positively ID as mold is the drawer pic, so is that predicated on the stains or the fact that everything looks as old and out dated as the Harvest Gold range hood?

I would be far more concerned by the poor condition of the tiles than anything else in those pictures. A redo is in order, but for far more reasons than a little mold.

Tom

Ha! Yes, everything is in need of updating, but we are okay with that (the house was advertised as "new" - 1964 - ha!)

Wouldn't the black/green stuff on the wall be mold as well?

Thanks!

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Well, don't be afraid to beat up the selling agent. It's a sleazy business for the most part, and they'll make everything you request seem like you're asking for a first born.

You can let them dictate terms to you, or you can dictate terms that protect your interests.

Sometimes you have to open stuff up to see if there's a real problem.

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Good morning, Fischer:

We are concerned that (1) the mold could create structural issues ...

Mould can virtually never create a structural issue. In fact, in the last 20 some odd years of performing mould inspections in several hundreds of structures, I cannot think of a single situation where the mould caused or contributed to a structural issue.

We are concerned that (2) there may be even more mold than we see but we can't cut open the walls to assess this since we don't own the home

The only problem associated with hidden mould would be an odor issue down the road. There are ways to perform wall cavity inspections with limited intrusion (see my "Facebook" page for photos and examples:

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Bailey-CO ... 887&ref=mf

We are concerned that (3) we have a one year-old and while we're not of the "Mold=Death" mentality, his well-being is without a doubt the highest priority for us.

Well, once the project is completed, there will be no worries about health problems. There are no health concerns with “hidden mould.â€

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Thanks all for your kind responses! We had my brother-in-law, who is a contractor, look at the house and he was of the opinion that it was not that bad. There are two areas where the drywall would need to be removed (the windows did not have proper flashing) but other than that, it appears to be minor, if yucky, surface mold problem. We checked out the house again during some heavy rains and other than the windows, the house was as dry as a bone. If we find anything of interest later on, I will come back and update.

Thanks again all!

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  • 2 weeks later...

It is funny how the media jumped all over a couple of stories about mold and turned a common problem into the swine flu epidemic of old homes. Sure there are some dangerous and difficult mold problems to contend with, but the majority of the mold problems can be fixed with some cleaning and repair. It is good to get a couple of opinions first though, just as you did.

Sam N

Indianapolis Real Estate

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  • 3 months later...
  • 1 year later...

It is funny how the media jumped all over a couple of stories about mold and turned a common problem into the swine flu epidemic of old homes. Sure there are some dangerous and difficult mold problems to contend with, but the majority of the mold problems can be fixed with some cleaning and repair. It is good to get a couple of opinions first though, just as you did.

Sam N

Indianapolis Real Estate

Yeah, even here in Canada, the tax payers supported CBC are propagating the weeping mom's mold horror stories, with mike holmes thrown in for good measure. Have a look, knock yourself out. [:-monkeyd

CBC_Marketplace Growop Coverup

http://www.cbc.ca/marketplace/2010/grow_op_cover_up/main.html

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Yeah, even here in Canada, the tax payers supported CBC are propagating the weeping mom's mold horror stories, with mike holmes thrown in for good measure. Have a look, knock yourself out. [:-monkeyd

Yeah,

We've seen that video here before. Holmes doesn't get much in the way of props here and he never will as long as he continues to try to define this profession as how only he envisions it - namely invasive.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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  • 1 month later...

Good morning, Fischer:

We are concerned that (1) the mold could create structural issues ...

Mould can virtually never create a structural issue. In fact, in the last 20 some odd years of performing mould inspections in several hundreds of structures, I cannot think of a single situation where the mould caused or contributed to a structural issue.

Im sure mold can cause structure failure. What else breaks down old, abandoned homes? Its not just bugs and water, mold needs food also.

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Dan,

You're right, fungi does break down old abandoned homes; but it isn't the "mold" that people freak out over that's doing most of that work - it's mostly woodrot fungi. The little bit of mold that folks run to lawyers for is years, maybe even decades from destroying a home while unseen and undealt with woodrot fungi can do it in a couple of years.

When folks use the M word they aren't envisioning woodrot fungi or other fungi that are commonly associated with breaking down the organic materials in a wood framed structure, they are envisioning the terrifying "black toxic mold" that's always mentioned by the media but never defined and they are never told in media stories that those same "toxic mold" spores are the same ones that we breath 24/7/365 and have been breathing our entire lives.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Dan,

You're right, fungi does break down old abandoned homes; but it isn't the "mold" that people freak out over that's doing most of that work - it's mostly woodrot fungi. The little bit of mold that folks run to lawyers for is years, maybe even decades from destroying a home while unseen and undealt with woodrot fungi can do it in a couple of years.

When folks use the M word they aren't envisioning woodrot fungi or other fungi that are commonly associated with breaking down the organic materials in a wood framed structure, they are envisioning the terrifying "black toxic mold" that's always mentioned by the media but never defined and they are never told in media stories that those same "toxic mold" spores are the same ones that we breath 24/7/365 and have been breathing our entire lives.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

I know, mold is in the Fungi family and...Im just being difficult. These forums are awesome btw.

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Oh my god,

There's "toxic" water vapor in my home. I heard that it can feed fungi and cause dark stuff to grow on the walls of my home and that people can die from it if there's too much of it. What shall I do?

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

Call me, we'll have team of testers come over and swab your walls, ceilings and floors for a flat rate of $750 + lab fees ;)

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  • 2 weeks later...

I read some of the replies that were posted just recently and would like to know where you get your information concerning mold and how it's hype or over stated? Opinions are fine and dandy but mold in a home is a health hazard. Granted mold is everywhere and can't be avoided but when it's in a confined space like a home or office it doesn't take long to cause health problems due to the fact the mold spores that are released and are more concentrated. Mold gives off VOC's which stands for Volatile Organic Compounds which is exactly that VOLATILE! What's bothersome is most here are home inspectors and to think they would think that mold can't create health problems in someones home isn't a problem is just wrong and should think about another line of work. More times than not a home inspector doesn't know his clients on a personal level and must assume that mold can create health problems down the road and shouldn't be taken lightly

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It's pretty simple,

We in this business used to routinely point out "mildew" to folks, explain to them that they had a moisture problem and recommend they get it fixed. We'd been doing that for decades without any problems and nary a word about "toxic" mold in the newspapers, magazines, on radio or TV - or even on the net for that matter because the net had been around for a while.

Then Ms. Ballard won her $34M lawsuit in Texas* and suddenly mold spore that everyone on the planet had been breathing their entire lives became "toxic." The next thing we knew, inspectors were being sued for missing "toxic mold" - the very same stuff that is in every house on the planet 24/7/365. One doesn't have to have an IQ of 180 to figure out that Chicken Little is alive and well and running all over the media.

There's at least a few hundred other sites where mold hypochondriacs hang out. Could you please go hang out on one of those and leave us evil inspectors alone to continue contributing to the mass extinction of our own species.

Thank you.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

* The trial judge later vacated most of her award because the trial did not prove any causal link between mold and sicknesses in otherwise healthy persons. He let her keep about $4M and said that he was doing it as a way to punish Farmers Insurance Company for their own actions in the case.

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