Excessive moisture will penetrate exterior walls and create perfect conditions for mold growth in the dark inner wall between indoors and outdoors.
Other indoor mold problems originate near areas that are continually exposed to indoor moisture from showers, steam, and condensation. Again, simply cleaning mold off the surface does not correct the problem. Have you ever scrubbed mold off your shower, only to see it back again soon after? That’s because the problem is not
ON the wall,
it’s IN the wall – and it just keeps growing through. Just imagine what the inside of the wall looks like!
MOLD IN OLDER PROPERTIES
Not testing your current property, or one you are considering buying, for mold contamination could be a gamble with your families welfare and your investment. Simple things that could have occurred in the past such as toilet overflow, leaking plumbing lines, window leaks, roof leaks and floods can cause toxic mold to grow and cause you to be the not-so-happy owner of a sick building.
MOLD IN NEWER PROPERTIES
How can a brand new structure be infested with mold? In many ways. For one thing, new construction techniques and cellulose-based materials used in modern homes, particularly since the 1970s, seem to encourage mold-growth.
Sometimes the building materials are received from the builder’s supplier after they have sat in a yard directly exposed to rain and other outdoor elements or stored in damp facilities where the temperature and relative humidity were ideal conditions for mold.
Sometimes building materials are delivered to job sites in good condition, but stored outdoors, uncovered and exposed to conditions similar to those previously
Sometimes bad weather holds up construction and exposes the shell of a structure to rain or snow for many days before the interior and exterior wall finishing is applied.
SICK BUILDING SYNDROME
There are two terms used to describe situations in which buildings make people sick:
1. The term "sick building syndrome" (SBS) is used to describe buildings that cause occupants to experience health problems, but no specific cause can be identified. Complaints of discomfort or feeling ill may only happen in a particular room or area, or may be widespread throughout the building.
2. The term "building related illness" (BRI) is used to describe diagnosable illnesses that can be attributed directly to airborne building contaminants.
Sometimes polluted outdoor air is the direct result of biological contaminants. Toxic mold is a biological contaminant. It can breed in stagnant water that accumulates in heating and air conditioning ducts, humidifiers and drain
pans or where water once leaked on ceiling tiles, carpeting, or insulation.
Physical symptoms can include cough, chest tightness, fever, chills, muscle aches, and allergic responses, mucous membrane irritation and upper respiratory congestion.
Occupant complaints of headache; eye, nose, or throat irritation; dry cough; dry or itchy skin; dizziness and nausea; difficulty in concentrating; fatigue; cough; chest tightness; fever, chills; and muscle aches and sensitivity to odors may indicate SBS or BRI. However, it is important to note that
these complaints may result from other causes.
Don’t take chances with your health or allow others to be exposed to serious health risks. If you suspect that a building you live in, work in, or frequently visit has a mold problem, call
MOLD AND THE REAL ESTATE INDUSTRY
Today the real estate industry is facing a relatively
uncharted encroachment — MOLD. Prospective buyers are becoming aware
of it and have a concern, sellers don’t want to think about or deal
with it and real estate agents are caught in the middle. Though mold
can certainly throw a monkey-wrench into a real estate transaction,
it doesn’t have to end in a lost sale of property.
Mold is manageable
By exercising a few systematic steps to correct the
conditions for its growth and cleaning it up, most mold problems can
be resolved. The first step in the process is understanding what the
problem is and how it came about. AMI offers cost-effective
inspection and testing services to accurately identify mold issues
and find the source,
without prejudice, bias or conflict of interest.
High incidence of mold.
According to the
Environmental Protection Agency, molds are found in up to
50% of all structures. Contrarily, many other studies show 100%
incidence of mold in structures. Public exposure to mold appears to
be universal and can probably be discovered in almost every indoor
environment. The root concerns for those worried about the hazards
of mold is their exposure to high-risk contamination levels and
catastrophic financial losses resulting from unrepairable
Some owners of real estate have found it beneficial to
conduct a “pre-emptive strike” against mold inquiries from
prospective buyers. A mold inspection and mold testing ordered by an
owner prior to the listing or sale of property offers disclosure,
evidence and a good faith enhancement to prospective buyers.
Even if the initial results of a owner-ordered mold test
indicates a potential problem, they have the opportunity to correct
and abate the mold problem. When appropriate corrective action is
taken, the follow-up clearance testing should provide results
favorable to potential buyers. This proactive measure by the
property owner minimizes or eliminates liability and litigation.
Litigation in California.
Mold-related litigations has skyrocketed upwards of 300%
since 1999. One example: April 2004 - A plaintiff in a mold lawsuit
initially awarded multi-millions of dollars in punitive damages
against Allstate has died at age 99. He was a few days short of his
100th birthday on April 12. In 1999 the plaintiff refused Allstate’s
offer of $17,300 to repair his home and filed a lawsuit for the
company’s bad-faith dealings in handling his homeowner’s insurance
claim. A three-week trial in 2000 resulted in a jury awarding him
$18 million in punitive damages — the presiding judge lowered the
amount to $2.5 million. An appeals court then stripped the near
centenarian of the $2.5 million in punitive damages and awarded him
$628,646, an amount that paid his nearly $239,000 in legal fees and
$290,000 to put toward home repairs.
inspection can benefits all parties.
Whether purchasing a new or old home or building, the
buyer should include mold inspection to the home/building and
termite inspection requirements. Doing so can avoid problems as
encountered by the above new homeowner. Most important to any
pending real estate purchase, the buyer should first contact and
have their insurance agent run a claims history on that piece of
property. If there has ever been a mold damages claim on the
residence or building, some insurers may not offer coverage to the
new buyer — or coverage costs may be prohibitive due to the
property’s mold history.
mold help from a qualified professional.
Whether you are a real estate agent, a seller or a
potential real estate purchaser with a concern or issue about
potential mold problems, AMI is available to assist and assess those
conditions. Mold and mildew consulting, inspections, mold
sampling/testing and solutions for mold problems and damages are
available to real estate companies, property owners & managers,
property sellers and potential buyers by Advanced Mold Inspections
For the most recent white papers on California Mold Laws click here.