Mold 101 - What Every Real Estate Professional Needs to Know about Mold
If you see discoloration on sheet rock or any building material, DON'T let the handyman rip it out. If there is mold growth behind the wall, the entire building may become contaminated with settled toxic mold spores if you tear out the wall. We can test and know before any demolition occurs. Or, to say it another way, if you've staged the house and then find a wet area that needs repair and let the handyman tear it down, you may need to professionally clean (see $$$$$ here) all of the staged furnishings, plus the entire interior may need to be wiped down (see more $$$ here) and then HEPA vacuumed. And this can take weeks.
WET building materials "hold" mold better than dry material. So, mold growth behind a very wet sheet rock wall will tend to stay on the wall and not into your nostrils in the breathing space of the room. However, in long term leaks behind walls, say from an upstairs icemaker in the refrigerator, ambient air (read contents and nostrils here) become contaminated. Carpet padding can wick enough water from a wet wall to grow mold and impact the ambient air.
If tape pulls the paint off a wall, the wall is wet enough to have mold growth. A mold inspection is indicated.
Better to know the complete situation before you close. We WANT you to close and will do everything we can to help all the concerned parties understand the problem and how to fix it. We can help you get some quotes for the repairs. No one wants to speak with your client three months after they close on a house that needs $75,000 in unexpected repairs from mold/improper drainage, etc., etc., etc.
Mold needs cellulose (sheet rock, but not plaster) to grow. Mold won't grow on cement. It will grow on a biofilm on the top of the cement. It will grow on wood. When water travels through cement, it leaves white efflorescence which is not usually mold. You don't want wet cement - it degrades the cement over time and impacts the interior. That is an indication of a drainage problem. A mold inspection with infrared is indicated.
Keep the humidity below 50% to discourage favorable mold growth environments.
Install working bath exhausts on timers - especially in rentals. You want the exhaust fan to stay on for 15-20 minutes after anyone exits the bath.
No one, without professional mold testing, can tell if discoloration is mold or not.
"Black" mold (stachybotryrus chartum atra) grows like jello, so we seldom see it in the air. Unless the handyman tore down the wet bathroom wall.
Don't have the clothes dryer venting into a garage where cardboard boxes are stored. Have your clients vent the dryer directly outside. And store contents in plastic containers to discourage mold growth.
It takes about 3 days to get mold results (except for viable sampling that requires scientifically seven days to grow) back from the lab, but we can get same day service from our lab. There is a rush charge, but if you've got know know today, we can make it happen. Including Sundays, if prearranged.
We respect our client's privacy to the point that we will not speak to other interested parties now or in the future without our client's written permission.
Our reports provide a clear, thorough and complete snapshot of the microbial condition of the area of concern. We will explain all parts of our work until we have no "gaps in understanding" with any of the involved parties.
To spend your client's inspection dollars wisely, have the termite and home inspectors first. If either or both of those reports mention "water' drainage" "rot" or any condition that you think may indicate mold growth, or a drainage problem give us a call and let's talk about your situation.
Single paned windows with no insulation, like most of older homes, causes it's own set of mold problems. Again, know the true situation before you close.
If you see discoloration on linoleum, don't tear it out until you have it tested for asbestos.
Always call with any questions that you may have - accuracy before momentum.