Moldy Walls
May 9, 2007 1:16 AM   Subscribe

My family has mold growing on the lower portions of inside of the walls in the central area of our 15-year-old home. We're getting the house sprayed, but the price the contractor gave us seems extremely high. What should I expect?

My family's house has had many problems in the years that we have had it - small leaks and huge torrents of water - that have left the house in a state of disrepair. We decided to repair the damage and get the house sprayed for mold at the same time. However, I have a feeling that we are kind of being gypped, and I'm wondering if anybody else on here has had their house sprayed for mold and would be able to let me know what it cost them or should cost, and what I should expect as a reasonably good job.

I'm not sure that the entire house needs to be sprayed, by the way - There's just a central area in the house, a bathroom, that has leaked water into the living room, master bedroom, and one secondary bedroom (under carpet - we're having that replaced as well) as well as the space beneath the bathtub.
posted by silasjones to Home & Garden (8 answers total)
I'd get a second opinion from a licensed mold abatement specialist. I'm under the impression that mold is something than cannot be simply "sprayed", it will grow back. Some fundemental change needs happen to the construction of your house. There is too much moisture and too little ventilation somewhere- probably inside the wall cavity.

An analogy I just thought of is stinky shoes. Sure, you can spray the insoles to kill the stinkiness, but as soon as you reintroduce your sweaty feet back into the equation the process starts all over again.
posted by tfmm at 4:19 AM on May 9, 2007

Oops. I just read your second paragraph re: bathroom adjacenecy. Make sure the plumbing is not leaking internally and you have an exhaust fan in the bathroom.
posted by tfmm at 4:24 AM on May 9, 2007

Mold remediation is no simple matter and should not be undertaken in a light fashion. Even though you can't see them there are an infinite number of spores laden throughout your houses building materials, as soon as they receive the correct conditions they will begin to germinate. As far as I know it is never cheap as there are usually more problems than simply cutting out largely colonized chunks of building material.
posted by prostyle at 6:23 AM on May 9, 2007

If the affected area is manageable and the moisture sources known, you may consider purchasing this.

The foam formula was originally developed to treat anthrax-infected buildings in Washington DC, but the technology was licensed to a couple of companies as a mold-control foaming formula. (Disclaimer: I work for the formula developer but not for the consumer product company).
posted by answergrape at 6:57 AM on May 9, 2007 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Note: The reason we are having it repaired is because of the leaks, not just because the mold. The mold was actually an added deal, because we didn't know if we'd have any until they opened up the walls. The bathtub and toilet leaked; those are actually being fixed to prevent further leakage.
posted by silasjones at 8:42 AM on May 9, 2007

Best answer: You really don't want to mess around with mold. It's up there with fire and water damage on the list of things that are just really difficult to ever "fix" properly, so I think you should be prepared for this to become a Major Project. (I once had a home inspector tell me that the only surefire way to eliminate mold was with "five gallons of diesel fuel and a road flare.") I don't know about the product mentioned by answergrape above (looks neat) but the common wisdom when I've dealt with it, is that there's nothing you can just 'spray' that will kill it.

That said, there's no reason why you might not be getting taken for a ride, too. I think you need to get a mold specialist in there, maybe more than one, and see what they say.

Mold that's not absolutely dealt with will seriously impact the resale value of your home, so keep that in mind too. It's probably worth spending the money now, to keep a potential buyer down the road from subtracting the cost of a whole-house gutting from their offer price.
posted by Kadin2048 at 9:08 AM on May 9, 2007

Best answer: Ultraviolet type B kills mold, but also people and pets. I have a friend that has a big UVB light in his bathroom that he turns on with a timer at night and it keeps it mold-free. Perhaps something like this could be part of your arsenal.
posted by StickyCarpet at 10:07 AM on May 9, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks all for your responses. You helped a lot!
posted by silasjones at 7:34 PM on May 18, 2007

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