Mold testing, inspection, and mitigation, removal, abatement or remediation in Southeast Michigan houses.

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Mold Clean-up and Removal Advice

Bad Remediation Advice

Here is an example of the kind of hype, misinformation and exploitation that abounds in the world of mold "experts." It's extracted verbatim from a website with a high marketing profile. You can probably find with Google. The red inserts are our comments.

Q. I need some advice, I am buying a home in Michigan and I had a home inspection done yesterday. The inspector noted some mold growing on the rafters and plywood. I assume this is from replacing the leaky roof 6 or 7 months ago. Should I be concerned about the mold and can it be cleaned up and killed easy enough? Or should I buy another house to limit the danger of buying a problem house? What are your thoughts?

A. You should be very concerned [HYPE] about attic mold because it can spread into and inside the ceilings and walls beneath the attic. [NOTE 1] Your first step is to have the attic area [and probably the entire home] inspected for mold and tested for mold [NOTE 2] by a Certified Mold Inspector. [NOTE 3] If you are not willing to pay for your own, independent, complete testing of the attic and home, you might consider buying another home. [SCARE TACTIC] But whatever home, you buy, it would be good to have the entire home thoroughly examined and tested [NOTE 2] for mold problems [NOTE 1] because buying a mold hell [SCARE TACTIC] can be disastrous for both your family's health and finances. [SCARE TACTIC]

Notes:

  1. (a) No it can't spread, unless those areas are moist enough to promote growth.
    (b) The normal state of airflow within a building is upward (the so-called "stack effect") i.e. from the house to and through the attic, not the other way around.
    (c) If there is mold on both sides of a sheetrock ceiling, it's because it began growing on both sides, not that it grew from one to the other. Mold cannot grow through sheetrock. Period.
  2. Testing is a waste of money. According to the authoritative New York Guidelines testing is useful only in specific circumstances, and nothing in the questioner's description fits those circumstances. The extensive testing being promoted is a transparent attempt to drum up revenue.
  3. To our knowledge, this high-sounding designation is conferred by a for-profit company, and is not recognized by any professional organization. In fact, you can become a CMI via the internet for a mere $1,395. In plain English, all that would translate to "diploma mill."

Good Advice: Protech's Reply to the Questioner

A. First let's talk about the causes of the growth. A roof leak (since fixed?) may well be at fault, but it might be from improper bathroom exhaust fans, or from inadequate attic ventilation. An experienced inspector can distinguish among these causes with only a visual inspection, and can tell you what would be needed to bring the attic up to the best practices as embodied in the current (2000) Michigan Residential Code. Incidentally, this Code is mandatory for new construction, but only recommended for existing.

Once you are certain that the moisture/ventilation problem has been corrected, the only thing left is to kill the mold, clean it up, and lock in any that has escaped the cleanup. Small areas (roughly up to 10 square feet total) can be handled as a home maintenance problem. Larger areas should be handled by professionals, using appropriate containment to ensure that the mess created during the work does not just spread the mold to the rest of the house. In extreme cases, mold can cause structural damage to the roof sheathing. However, your home inspector would have told you if that were the case.

It would be interesting to sample the molds and have a Latin name to toss about, but it wouldn't in any way affect the procedure for cleanup.

Bottom Line

If you like the house, negotiate with the seller about cleaning up the existing mold and correcting the problems that caused it, and then ... buy the house!


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