Mold - Invisible & Dangerous!
Mold is becoming a greater issue in today’s real estate transactions with statistics showing that mold is prevalent in most homes and that it is generally microscopic.
Whether it’s an older home with the opportunity for aging issues or a newer, more tightly constructed home, mold can cause health risks and lower the value of your home if it’s not addressed.
What is Mold?
Mold is fungi that can be found both indoors and outdoors, growing best in warm, damp, and humid conditions, spreading and reproducing by creating spores. Mold spores can be found in almost any environment year round. While there are thousands of species some commonly found indoor molds include: Aspergillus, Penicillium, Cladosporium, Chaetomium, and Stachybotrys.
Signs of Mold
By the time you see mold, a one inch square contains roughly 65 million spores. Mold is more prevalent in a home that has had a water leak or sat empty for even a short period of time. While it may be visible and may also produce an odor or stains, mold can grow between walls, under floors, above ceilings, or in less accessible places such as basements, crawl spaces, and attics. Mold spores are invisible to the naked eye when floating around in the air...not seeing mold doesn't mean it's not there, but you can be sure you are inhaling it.
You're Not Just Buying a House...It's Going to be Your Home
When buying, you should look for signs of mold such as water or drying stains in the basement, marks or stains on walls, smells in bathrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms, and cabinets as well as check plumbing. Review questions with the seller and review carefully your home inspection report. Buying a home without making sure it’s mold free would be a poor investment and could lead to long-term health and maintenance issues.
Have an inspection of the property by a properly trained and certified mold inspection and testing company. Expect a full inspection report similar to the home inspection report but with the focus on mold. Testing samples should be sent to a qualified laboratory and should result in a conclusion and recommendations.
If remediation is suggested, then a certified company should provide an inclusive scope of work and a warranty guaranteeing that the mold will be thoroughly removed. The company should provide timely education.
Post clearance testing is a final key element in making sure the mold removal is successful. A quality protocol suggests that the testing should occur 72 hours after remediation to allow the area to balance and to make sure the growth has been eliminated.