Frequently Asked Home Inspection Questions



Mold


Mold is a fungi and a natural part of the environment.   Mold can be found both outdoors and indoors.  Mold can begin to grow indoors when mold spores are carried in through the air, as tiny spores that cannot be seen by the naked eye, and land on a wet surface.  There is more than one type of mold but none can grow without the presence of water or moisture.

The types of mold that are toxic produce hazardous byproducts.  These hazardous byproducts are called mycotoxins.  The most common toxic mold we hear about is Stachybotrys chartarum, also known as black mold or toxic mold.  It is a moisture-laden, slimy, greenish-black material that has cellulose.  It grows on products like paper, wood and drywall, but doesn’t grow on cement or tile.  Mold can be damaging even if it is not toxic.  Any mold left to grow on an organic material will, given time, destroy it.

A house that has been flooded is at a high risk for mold.  If the home is located where there is high humidity and the temperature is right, it creates a perfect environment for the mold to reproduce, even before cleanup can be started.  A house or an area of a house that has been damaged by water should be dried within 24 to 48 hours to help prevent mold from growing. 

Moisture control is the main way to control mold.  If mold is found, it should be cleaned up immediately and the water problem corrected.  If the water problem is not fixed, the mold will most likely come back.  Porous materials such as wood, drywall, carpet, ceiling tiles, etc. cannot be properly cleaned and disinfected and usually need to be thrown away.  Non-porous materials or hard surfaces such as ceramic tiles can be cleaned and disinfected.   The first step in cleaning up mold is to identify and fix the source of moisture.  Second is clean the moldy area with water and detergent.  Third, disinfect the area with a solution of ½ cup bleach to a gallon of water.  Last, dry the disinfected area.  Remember to never mix bleach and ammonia together because the combination produces a toxic gas.  In some cases a specialist in the field of mold removal may need to be consulted.  Home Inspectors are qualified to spot mold even if sometimes they will not be able to tell you what kind it is.  They can have samples of it identified by sending it to a lab for analysis.  Mold can normally be seen in the routine a Home Inspection.  Most Home inspectors know what it looks like and   can warn you of its presence.  Here is St. George we are in a  dry climate and mold isn't as big of an issue except where a leak in a house is involved.

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