Mould removalMould removal

Mould removalMould in houses is recognized by home inspectors as evidence of a problem related to moisture. More recently we have become aware of the fact that the mould itself may be more of an issue than the original problem.

A leaky bathroom or roof is easily repaired with caulcking yet the resulting damage may require the removal of finishes, insulation and sometimes framing. The customer may be sick and have to leave the house.

The folowing are an important list of facts relating to mould issues in homes:

  • Mould is part of a group of organisms called fungi that also includes mushrooms and yeast. Moulds are natural decomposers in the food chain, examples being the bread or fruit spoiled in your kitchen. Mould grows requires: mould spores (always present), right temperature (2-40°C), organic food (books, carpets, clothing, drywall, wood, tar paper etc), a source of moisture.

  • Homeowners can generally only control the last factor, moisture.

  • Mould can be black, white, red, orange, yellow, blue or violet. If a stain loses its colour when bleach is placed on it then it
    most likely is mould. A musty or earthy smell often indicates mould but some moulds have no odor.

  • Testing for moulds generally requires air sampling indoors and out. If the samples are different then the house may have a mould problem. If there is already staining, a sample of the mould can be brought to the lab to determine the strain of mould.
    It is usually cheaper to clean up small areas of mould rather than it is to have it tested.

  • Although there is currently no standard, mould grows is generally classified as follows: Small area - no larger than a square meter, Moderate - more than three patches each less than a square meter or many patches less than three square meters
    (4 by 8 sheet of wood), Extensive - more than a 4 by 8 sheet, being exposed to this much mould is not good to you.

  • If there is a flood or leak in a home, dry it up quickly as possible (within 48 hours).

  • Plastic vapor barrieres, tiling and caulking can trap moisture in a location and cause mould growth.
    They must be removed if there is a suspected mould problem.

  • In some countries moulds have been classifies into three hazard classes based on associated health risk. Moulds commonly found in basements include Aspergillus versicolor, Aspergillus fumigatus, Fusarium spp and these are all Hazard Class A. A mould commonly found in wallpaper Stachybotrys chartarum is also a Hazard A. Hazard A fungi should not be present in dwelling units. these are highly hazarduos to your health. Hazard Class B are those fungi which may causse allergic reactions to occupants if present over a long period of time. Class C are not known to be a hazard.
    There are more than 150 moulds found in indoor environments.

  • Most home insurance policies do not cover the clean up of mould. If there is a pre-existing problem then there is certainly no insurance coverage and a home may not be insurable until a cleanup has been done.

  • Home inspectors are not covered for any claim relating to mould. There is no insurer providing this coverage. All home inspectors must have a contract signed prior to an inspection including this and other clauses. A contract signed after an inspection is invalid and not insurable. Our firm has a contract online and we E-mail the contract to customers who have booked an inspection.

  • Smell or odor is not part of a home inspection since it is subjective and is based on time and the presence of other odors.
    If an inspector smells mould than further investigation is usually required.

  • Mould cleanup can be expensive and in some cases the home is not worth cleaning up and has to be destroyed.
    Our firm is aware of 2 such circumstances in the Ottawa area.

  • Small areas of mould are generally cleaned up on washable surfaces using an unscented detergent. Mouldy drywall is usually cleaned with a damp rag and baking soda. Dry all surfaces as quickly as possible. If mould returns the moisture source must be found.