Mold

First, we at Perkins Home Services wish you a happy and prosperous New Year. We thank you for your continued support of our services this past year and our future endeavors together! This month’s topic? Mold!

It seems like there is not much that can scare a home buyer away more quickly than discovering mold in a potential new home. Mold is a complicated subject. Its causes and the necessary repairs are complex as well. Let’s see if we can break it down a bit and simplify things.


What is it?

Mold is a natural fungus that grows on surfaces and has many types, structures, and colors. In homes, it is often visible as a black, fuzzy-like growth but can also be seen in shades of grey, green, or white.

Why worry?

Mold causes two concerns in homes. First, it often causes the breakdown of the material it is on, such as wood. If found in an attic, it can increase the rot of the roof support structure.

Second, mold can be harmful to the health of those living in the home. Some people are more susceptible to its effects and can become quite ill from breathing the airborne spores produced.

Mold also produces mycotoxins. They can cause several health effects. There is always some present in our environments.

What are the causes?

Mold is not produced in large, harmful quantities unless the conditions are right. Warm, humid, or wet environments are best, so it is often found in attics and basements. It is also often found around laundry areas and pressure tanks. A good inspection should find any visual signs.

The real problem is the moisture creating the environment for mold to grow. We can help you determine where the moisture is coming from and what to do to reduce moisture in that environment. For example, often, the problem in attics is condensation due to lack of good ventilation. Basements, laundries, and bathrooms are naturally moist areas.

Should we test?

It is not possible from a visual inspection to be sure it is mold. Only a lab test can do that. There are a variety of tests available. The most common and usually least expensive is a surface test, where a piece of tape is used to pull a sample off the surface. This is then sent to the lab for analysis.

Another type of test is an air sample. The air is drawn thru a sample cassette. Then this is sent to the lab for analysis. The second test is more expensive but tests the air you breathe rather than the surface.

At Perkins Home Services, we recommend that you do a surface test first if you want to be sure. If possible, only do the air test if someone living in the home is susceptible to spores or mycotoxins, and after a surface, the test shows it is present in the home. We can do either or both of these tests for you if you desire them. Please contact us for pricing.

What to do if mold is found?

As discussed above, with the help of a home inspector or contractor, figure out where the moisture is coming from and find a solution that reduces this to a level that prevents growth. Maybe the roof has a slight leak that is allowing some moisture in. Fixing leaks, improving attic vents such as soffit, ridge, gable end venting, or installing a humidistat fan often reduces attic moisture.

Installing proper fans and dehumidifiers in the bathrooms and basements can often take care of the problems in those areas and fix any leaks there that may be occurring. Never have bath fans that vent into the attic.

Last, it may be necessary to clean up. This can be accomplished by a contractor who specializes in mold removal or by the homeowner. Typically, a cleaning solution consisting primarily of bleach and water is sprayed onto the surface, then the surface is scrubbed clean.

In damaged surfaces, some building materials may need to be removed and replaced before the cleaning. It is important to wear safety clothing during this process and vent the home to reduce the spread throughout the house.

KEY POINT TO REMEMBER

Don’t let mold stop your real estate transaction from happening. Let us help you test for it. If we find it, we can help you find solutions to fix it.

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