Surface mold in basement?

Asked by Aaron Trompeter.com, Saint Cloud, MN Tue Dec 4, 2012

Walking through a home yesterday (foreclosure) my investor and I found mold in the lowest basement on the surface of the walls. This is the second home this week I've found it.

What experiences have other people had with mold remediation?

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10
Jim Olive, Agent, Key West, FL
Fri Dec 7, 2012
I can't tell you how tempted I am to get myself certified in mold remediation, JUST so I can debunk all of the myths out there that mold contractors perpetuate to make a living. I had a total insurance loss of my NH home to mold. I learned a lot in the process of recovering and "remediating" the property. The first thing everyone should know is that mold is everywhere at all times. Spores float around and rest on surfaces and we never see them...UNTIL conditions become conducive to growth. Think of it as a seed...give a seed some water, dirt and sunshine and it will grow. Without those, it's just a seed. Mold needs moisture. As soon as you introduce sufficient moisture, mold spores will begin to grow and produce the visible evidence that we often see in high humidity, moist places. Keep those places dry and clean, and you will not have mold. As for "remediating", the certified contractor that remediated my home for $40,000 did so by wiping down all the non-pourous surfaces with warm soapy water. The pourous surfaces that had absorbed the water (and grew mold) had to be disposed of (which included a lot of fabric and some drywall). It's NOT rocket science. Clean it up, KEEP IT DRY (ie: dehumidifier) and you will have no mold problems.
Next I'll get my MD so I can address the "health risks" of mold, which as I understand it, only affect a very small portion of society that is particularly "sensitive" to certain resperatory conditions.
2 votes
Caleb Hart, Renter, Orem, UT
Wed Jan 7, 2015
I know that mold can be a problem for a lot of people. If it's a certain type of mold, then it's potentially dangerous and fatal. I don't want my kids growing up in a house that's killing them. I don't know what I would do if I knew I had mold in my house for years. http://www.restorationpa.com/Fire-Remediation-Mold-Remediati…
0 votes
Jim Olive, Agent, Key West, FL
Fri Dec 7, 2012
Wait...let me modify/clarify my comments a bit....I meant to say "SOME mold contractors" don't want to cast all of them in the same dim light, that wouldn't be fair...
0 votes
Christopher…, Agent, Bloomington, MN
Fri Dec 7, 2012
Totally agree Jim with this specific scenario. For investors this is a minor problem and I ALWAYS see some overact big time (My investors love mold properties for this reason).

Outside of this context in other scenarios I don't know, because I just don't come across those in my profession. I do know this one though because I have seen hundreds of houses with mold in Minnesota since the foreclosure boom.
0 votes
Aaron Trompe…, Agent, Saint Cloud, MN
Fri Dec 7, 2012
Thank you all for your answers. It is good to have a resource such as you available.
0 votes
Jennifer Fiv…, Agent, Red Hook, NY
Thu Dec 6, 2012
I have not had much experience with this. Just discovered mold spore in air quality test so I am talking to a remediation company. This was not visible mold.
0 votes
L.Jorgenson, , Northfield, MN
Thu Dec 6, 2012
I to see a lot of forclosed homes with mold and it is common due to the houses being cold, dark, and damp. Almost 100% of the time if there is mold on the wall surfaces there is a great deal of moisture behind the wall. All the materials should be removed such as wall covering, "fur" strips or studs, carpet and sometimes cielings.Any materials left behind should be treated if possible. Leaving any material behind that is not treated is not recommended because of the mold that is not visible. Also keep in mind that removing material does NOT fix the PROBLEM, Moisture is intruding and that should be addressed, such as low grade, gutters, bad or broken drain tile, broken water pipes, bad shingles and etc. Some "contractors" are able to remediate but, a knowledable remediation company will know that you can't stop and the surface or even just in the area or room it was found. You have to inspect and treat the entire home in most cases.
I have inspected and repaired many homes with mold and can tell you first hand that the mold does not stop on the surface..EVER. To the Realtors showing and listing these properties remember this, if there is visible mold do not turn on the HVAC untill it has been cleaned and removed as it can and will spread through the entire house causing serious health hazzards. Also Mold and Mildew are the same. If it smells or looks like "Mildew" it is Mold.
0 votes
You bring up a good point, but I will say that 99% of all mold in foreclosures comes from being winterized and sitting vacant through our hot summer months of July and August. It should not be shocking then that mold happens in the basement correct? You always need to confirm the source, but from a buyers perspective I see a lot of people get scared off by mold because they think it is going to cost an extra $10,000 to fix. Most likely these types of houses are investor types that are going to get remodeled anyways, and mold remediation companies are overblown for this specific scenario. I do LOVE LOVE your comment on HVAC though. There is a process that needs to be done!
Flag Fri Dec 7, 2012
Christopher…, Agent, Bloomington, MN
Tue Dec 4, 2012
I have seen this quite a bit myself with foreclosures in Minnesota. MOST of the time the walls just need to be replaced, along with everything else the investor will do anyways. Basements are easy sources for mildew and mold to grow with homes sitting vacant so long. My basic contractor can do the "mold remediation". Besides having to wear the suits he really does not charge that much extra to do it at all.

There are different levels, and I have been in some seriously bad ones with black mold, but I have never been in a home where a specialist was needed. Any licensed contractor should be able to perform this.

I confess though I am certainly not an expert in this field, so due diligence as always.
0 votes
Christopher…, Agent, Tarrytown, NY
Tue Dec 4, 2012
Your best bet is to bring a mold specialist back with you if you really have interest in one of the homes, hopefully you'll get an honest one.
0 votes
Tim Moore, Agent, Kitty Hawk, NC
Tue Dec 4, 2012
Many people see black and assume, incorrectly, that it is mold. Often it is not and can be mildew or something like that. Just like asking some roofers to come over to inspect a roof, some mold inspectors know you think it's mold so they say it is mold. I saw an undercover sting on tv not long ago where they called in mold inspectors to look at a spot and give estimates. One spot the stingers used black pencil lead to simulate the mold look and many inspectors said it was mold. This is a growing scam as people run screaming the sky is falling. Sometimes it might be, often it is not.
0 votes
Just goes to prove a person should conduct their business honestly. Tell me, did they at least accentuate the honest contractors in any way, or just focus on the dishonest?
Flag Wed Dec 5, 2012
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