Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Mold and Water Damage in Homes - Windsor Essex Real Estate

Compliments of www.cameronpaine.com

Homebuyers often have concerns about mould, but are their fears justified?

Although thousands of types of mould exist, only a few are actually harmful to people. Toxic varieties, such as moulds from the genus Stachybotrys, can produce chemicals linked to various health problems including sinus infections, asthma and certain respiratory infections. However, mould must generally be present in large quantities to have a noticeable effect on most people.

Mould eats wood cellulose and can potentially affect the structural integrity of wood. Some insurance companies have excluded mould damage from both first party and third party coverage. Property owners may be able to obtain costly site-specific environmental insurance that specifically includes mould coverage.

Mould is caused by water damage or excessive humidity, poor ventilation systems, wet construction materials or poor construction or design. Mould travels on air currents and is all around us, and so it is difficult to find a house that is completely mould-free.

The smell should be the first red flag. Just because a house is nicely renovated and freshly painted doesn’t make it mold free, if there’s a musty, mouldy smell, and lots of plug-ins and potpourri, you should investigate further.

The best advse is use common sense. During a home inspection, the inspector cannot open walls. Therefore, you may need to rely on your sense of smell. If moisture damage has built up in the basement over the years, the smell will reveal it right away, regardless of how nice it looks

If there’s mould in their home, it can be a minor issue involving lack of circulation in the basement, or it could be a serious case of black mould coming through the drywall or baseboard, which probably needs to be ripped out. You can’t just wipe it off.  Either way, the issue causing the mould must be solved and the area has to dry out.

Whether inspecting a home you should always look for signs of water damage.

You should hire a home inspector or other mold professional  if there is a concern

Be sure to inspect moisture-prone areas such as basements, bathrooms and kitchen cupboards. Mould behind a wall will not be visible to you, but signs of mould include:

  • discolouration on finishes
  • staining
  • spotty patterns revealing visible mould growth (which may indicate a larger, unseen problem)
  • musty smells.

Mould issues can usually be resolved. The moisture or water source needs to be located and stopped, and then the mould needs to be removed. If the problem turns out to be widespread and remediation is necessary, it’s important to ensure that the entire problem area is remediated, otherwise the mould infestation could return.

A proper home inspection may uncover indications of mould or structural deficiency issues, although there is no guarantee that it will. However, an inspector cannot speak to chemical contamination or health risks. The inspector may recommend that the homeowner enlist the services of a mould investigator.

Source Edge Newsletter


  1. It is a misconception that newly renovated homes with freshly painted walls are mold-free. There are some molds that cannot be immediately seen by our naked eyes. A musty smell can be an indication of the presence of molds. In order to avoid the occurrence of these molds, it is really essential to conduct a regular inspection of your home, making sure that your home is free from moisture and leaky pipes, since molds multiply faster in wet places. Whether the mold is harmful to the health of the people or not, it is still essential to limit their presence in order to avoid the occurrence of bigger problems.

    Soledad Feigenbaum

  2. It would also help to clear the household of clutter since clutter blocks airflow and prevents the air from circulating. Furniture and draperies should be well kept, so they would not block grilles and cause condensation; this moisture can create microclimates in your house that will welcome and feed mold growth.

    Darryl Mikula

  3. If your refrigerator has an icemaker installed in it, be certain that the hose is securely attached to the water supply line, and there are no leaks about it. A wet mark on the flooring may be an indication of a wavy icemaker line that is about to burst.

    Tyrone Nold

  4. When you are doing a house inspection, it's best to be accompanied by professionals who are highly capable in tracing the most inconspicuous signs of molds and mildew. It can be easily concealed by paint, but a professional can help you identify these major house concerns. This way, you can be sure the house that you are going to buy is indeed free of molds and mildew.

    Diane Blackburn