Mold in old houses

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evang007
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Mold in old houses

Postby evang007 » Wed Feb 20, 2008 8:18 pm

I am not sure if anyone on here has had these problems with their MCM or not, but here goes...it started with a couple of leaks under the house that my husband's grandmother had known about but didn't fix. When we had the guy go under the house, he said it was like a river - and who knows for how long. A week or so later my husband was in the backyard & stepped on a rock ad the main water line underneath the ground split. At that point he knew we need to repipe the whole house with copper since it was all the original galvanized plumbing. Later that evening we ripped out the carpet (original from mid 50s) and some of the floors were warped from obvious old water damage and the bedroom had mold on the floor in 1 spot. Two different built-ins had mold in the bottom as well as the pocket door to the master bedroom. My husband went under the house the next morning to find the beams half covered in black mold.

We weren't sure who to trust or what to do since there's so many scams out there and mold is the new hip thing to scare people right now. We decided to have a guy come out and he tests for moisture in the walls and drills little holes to capture the air in the walls to send for mold testing.

He just called and said the report came back and we have mold in almost every wall and should replace the bathroom walls, a laundry room wall and 1 bedroom wall.

I know there is mold that isn't dangerous and mold that is. His grandfather who just past away lived in that house for 40 years and was 93 and very healthy. We have no idea what to do. The walls are asbestos, so to get this mold out of the walls is going to be VERY expensive. Has anyone else had this issue in their home? I am sure of the fact almost all homes have some mold - especially these older homes that have had absolutely no work done on them ever.

Thanks!!!
Dawn

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Postby modernvintage » Sun Feb 24, 2008 2:05 pm

we pulled out of escrow because we found mold in a home in Costa Mesa. it was a 1700 sq ft house on a slab foundation. they quoted $20,000. could it be covered by home owners or title insurance?

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Postby JXBrown » Sun Feb 24, 2008 5:31 pm

Mold (aka "mildew") is a sign of a moisture problem. It leads to wood damage and termites and may lead to fairly expensive repairs*. Mold is also allergenic and if you suffer from hay fever and asthma and it's not contained, it may make your allergies worse. If it's hidden inside a wall, however, it's not going to cause you any sort of health problem. Cats are also highly allergenic, but no one ever talks about "toxic cats" or suggests that you need to hire a Feline Remediation Service or carries Fluffy out of the house in a hazmat suit. Most of the claims about mold are scams.

See:


* By "expensive repairs" I mean repairing or replacing a leaking roof or repairing rotted structural members, not hiring someone to replace drywall and what not.

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Postby Tony » Sun Feb 24, 2008 7:07 pm

Mold, to my point of view, is one of these pseudo problems. Convenient if you want to get out of an escrow. But is it really a real problem? We've lived for hundreds of years with mold and damn'd few people have died from it.

In some areas of Brentwood, in West Los Angeles, houses can fail a mold inspection if the doors and windows are open. Detecable mold just drifts in with the wind.

Mold on the surfaces of walls or on the floor can be addressed with mopping with chlorine bleach. Inside the walls is another story.

Surprsingly (or not), mold is more an issue in new houses that are sheathed in Tyvek or other moisture barriers. In older houses there is more are infiltration which allows the house to dry out and minimizes the mold.

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Postby Luka » Mon Feb 25, 2008 8:33 am


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Postby Miguel » Mon Feb 25, 2008 9:31 am

Please keep in mind that if mold infestations are inside walls and not accessible to treat with chlorine, then this might become an issue in the long run.
Molds propagate by spores, that spread with air movement. Unless the infestation is killed with a desinfectant (chlorine or otherwise), upon drying, the colonies will start releasing the spores that will become airborne.

Now, there's mold and mold. Many of the mold species that are common to food degradation have strains that produce mycotoxins. Things like aspergillus (black mold), botrytis (grey mold), penicillium, etc can produce mycotoxins given the right circumstances. The only way to assess if you have a potentially dangerous infestation is to have an expert in the area take air samples and have them plated.

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Tony
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Postby Tony » Mon Feb 25, 2008 10:09 am

Absolutely right Miguel! Whenever dealing with somethink like mold or asbestos it's always best to hire an expert.

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Joe
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Postby Joe » Mon Feb 25, 2008 1:33 pm

keep in mind when remodeling... mid-century homes were made to "breath." By making everything air-tight, you increase the likelihood of mold growth. so don't be too concerned about making a 50+ year-old house an energy star candidate.

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Joe
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Postby Joe » Mon Feb 25, 2008 1:38 pm

"they did it, they really did it. They released the spores!"

Image

Image

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Postby Miguel » Mon Feb 25, 2008 1:55 pm

ARGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.... they're attacking!!!!
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Postby AlcoaMCM » Mon Feb 25, 2008 2:31 pm


egads
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Postby egads » Mon Feb 25, 2008 7:27 pm

Please note, in this case, leaks were known about and not fixed! You can certainly keep your house from leaking air, but keeping it from leaking water is much more important.

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Postby doctore » Tue Feb 26, 2008 9:17 am

Last edited by doctore on Wed Dec 08, 2010 7:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby evang007 » Fri Feb 29, 2008 10:49 pm

Thanks for all of the posts. We had a few mold people come out and test in the walls and they all pretty much said the same thing - the walls have several kinds of mold and they suggested we tear out the bedroom wall, kitchen wall and both bathrooms along with the laundry room. We are now in the process of getting quotes from 4 remediators who get rid of the mold in the walls and under the house (which was also covered in mold).

Tomorrow we are taking a piece of wall to be tested for asbestos because the mold remediators wont go in the walls if they are asbestos.

So we have to get the mold estimate, wall testing and then do the pipes in copper at the same time we do the mold remediation.

Moral of the story - FIX WATER LEAKS! If they had just spent the little bit to fix the leak, it would have saved at least $10k.

We are still debating though if we even need to fix the mold now. We wanted to move into the house and live there for a year then do a big remodel. We would love to wait until we do the big construction but it is hard to know if it is a good idea.

There is visible mold in several areas that we would have to clean up for sure, but mold in the wall is obviously closed in. One mold guy said it can still get in the house in the seam between walls & floors as well as get in through things like electrical outlets.

AGH - we just dont know what to do.

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Postby evang007 » Fri Feb 29, 2008 10:51 pm

PS - those pics / comics cracked me up!!

Haha

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Postby johnnyapollo » Sat Mar 01, 2008 3:20 am

While you have the walls apart you might consider updating any wiring (grounds are often missing in older homes), or adding circuits where you've wanted them. On the bright side, this could turn into an opportunity - just a suggestion.

-- John
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Postby doctore » Sat Mar 01, 2008 12:37 pm

That does not sound like fun.
Last edited by doctore on Wed Dec 08, 2010 7:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby JXBrown » Sat Mar 01, 2008 2:54 pm

Mold "remediation" is a scam. If you aren't allergic to mold, it won't hurt you at all. Fix the water leaks and any ventilation problems. Wipe the walls down with bleach, repaint, and you will be fine.

I woke up this morning with a sore throat. I looked out in the back yard and the ground was covered with drifts of yellow pollen from our pine tree. My eyes were itching, my skin was itching, and I started to wheeze. I took the appropriate medications and now I'm fine. I'm not going to hire a "pine tree remediator" to come in a whack that tree down. I'm uncomfortable and I'll be uncomfortable for a while, until the pollen is gone...but my health is in absolutely no danger. Your mold spores could get in through the outlets, but probably not in enough quantity to be noticeable unless your hay fever is really bad.

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Postby Seaside » Thu Mar 06, 2008 11:56 pm

I have allergies, but I'm not that scared of mold (I'm a microbiologist, although not an environmental one). If there wasn't damage to structural members, I'd be quite happy solving the water problem, spraying everything with bleach water, removing visible mold, spraying again, and closing it all up. If the water problems can be fixed without tear out - you could repair them, leave it all walled up and tackle it on your original 1 year plan.

May I suggest you look into Pex plastic pipe for your plumbing - it's a lot easier to put in that copper in a remodel.

Can I recommend a good, experienced home inspector instead of a remediator for a look-thru? Of course the remediators will give a large estimate - it's how they get business! They could be right, but it would be worth the $400 to me to get a second opinion.


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