Buying an older home with attic mold?

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Recently an older house in my town has come up for sale. The house was orginally built in 1864 but was completely gutted and renovated in 2004 except for the basement and the attic/roof. The quality of the renovations are stunning and the lot size of the house is very good. The asking price was very good for a house in this condition so my wife and I visited and then subsequently put in an offer on the place that was accepted.
We then went through the process of arranging a formal home inspection at which point the inspector turned up evidence of mold in the attic. The mold appears as small spots on the attic rafters and appears to be fairly uniformly spread from two feet up from the attic floor to the roof. The contamination appears to be surface only and has not penetrated deeply. In other words, it's not a carpet but spots here and there.
The attic used to be sealed but uninsulated and as part of the renovations the sellers added insulation and proper venting to the attic. My inspector felt they did a great job up there and that the mold pre-dates the renovations and that the conditions for the mold have been removed.
The mold is being inspected by a certified mold specialist tomorrow. Assuming the specialist indicates that it is surface only, it is rectifiable and conditions for mold growth have been removed along with a condition added that the seller gets the mold cleaned up and certified clean, would you buy the house or not?
Part of me is "150 year old house, there's bound to be an issue or two" and the other part is saying "Mold is a big issue in real estate today, do I want to take the chance it is in fact permanently cleaned since there won't be a proven track record of mold-free conditions"?
On every other front the inspector loved the house calling it a stellar example of renovating a century home. The seller is visibly upset that the home inspection he had done previously didn't catch the mold otherwise he would have corrected it when doing the renovation and have a mold-free track record established so I don't believe there is any duplicity on his part.
Thanks,
Gerald
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Under venting can cause condensation and roof leaks cause conditons for mold. Leaks have happened in the houses history it is normal so can old mold be normal. A moisture meter can pinpoint wetness, and leaks present. Condensation occurs on a cold sunny day or water after a rain can be found with a moisture meter. If vents were added it should be an old issue which simply spraying bleach will fix. But of course now you will have the fearfull recomending testing and special overpriced removal services. If you can determine it isn`t growing then don`t worry, mold is everywere, everytime you come home its on your shoes. Bleach does wonders and only 89c a gallon.
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mold
rectifiable
and
won't
track
Speaking only as a person who has endured all the " crises " that have afflicted the home buying selling process over a 30 year period, mold of which is the latest, if you get a "added that the seller gets the mold cleaned up and certified clean, " buy the darned house.
You will most likely be fine if you buy it with less than the above but I always try to answer the question asked. They is always a current thing that is the "death of a purchase". Mold is the current one.
Colbyt
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Nobody has talked about the character of the mold. Doesn't sound like the mold around a steady leak, that sort of thing. But better to be safe, because a house with toxic mold is better off in the dump.

renovations
price
at
In
renovations
inspector
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that
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tested,
who
your
this
Unfortunately testing is not really an option due to the length of time it takes to test. The seller just wants to clean it up and proceed as per the CDC:
"Generally, it is not necessary to identify the species of mold growing in a residence, and CDC does not recommend routine sampling for molds. Current evidence indicates that allergies are the type of diseases most often associated with molds. Since the reaction of individuals can vary greatly either because of the person's susceptibility or type and amount of mold present, sampling and culturing are not reliable in determining your health risk. If you are susceptible to mold and mold is seen or smelled, there is a potential health risk; therefore, no matter what type of mold is present, you should arrange for its removal. Furthermore, reliable sampling for mold can be expensive, and standards for judging what is and what is not an acceptable or tolerable quantity of mold have not been established."

yeah
Personally I agree that it is overhyped, unfortunately it is a factor for resale so for just that reason alone it needs to be seriously considered. I have no personal experience with mold issues myself since I've always owned newer homes previously, hence the reason for my posting here.
Gerald
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As I mentioned the mold is spotty in nature, it is distributed throughout the attic from a region starting from two feet from the floor to the ceiling. The spots themselves are small, the largest being no larger then my thumb. The attic was previously sealed and uninsulated with no ventilation, my thinking is the mold came from condensation from the house below rising to the roof in colder weather. This would explain why the roof planks near the floor are largely unaffected since in this area the air probably was warm enough not to cause condensation.
Gerald
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snipped-for-privacy@msn.com says...

No, it's a very recent development for several reasons.
Older homes had a lot less mold -- they were too drafty to provide a good environment for mold, things usually dried out too quickly.
Also, because homes were drafty, indoor air quality was often better than it is today in general. After making houses tighter and tighter in the 70s-80s-90s, we're now mandating minimum air exchange to bring back the fresh air that used to come from drafts.
And, of course, fear-mongering by those who stand to profit from mold remediation has brought a very minor risk to national attention, while also frightening insurance underwriters enough to produce a raft of exclusions and horror stories of people unable to get insurance.
Glad I live in a hundred-year-old house that always dried out when it got wet!
--
snipped-for-privacy@phred.org is Joshua Putnam
<http://www.phred.org/~josh/
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Sounds like you are taking all the right steps to me. Have the mold tested, see if it's lethal, and then decide. Sort od _almost_ sounds like you have decided you are going to buy this house already - so BE CAREFUL. As one who has been burnt by issues not completely dissimilar to yours - don't let your heart make this decision. PURE FACTS ONLY when buying a house, mate. If this one isn't the one, you WILL find another you are just as attracted to.
As an aside, does anyone ever remeber mold being a subject when they were growing up? People suing builders and development groups and such?
Where did all this come from? I'm not saying its not an important issue. I understand some of this stuff can really ruin people's health.
But it just seems a lot like the radon scares back in the 80's to me..... somebody somewhere finds something to scare everyone over, and suddenly a cottage indistry is born to "clean it up"..... oh, and the lawyers.... yeah yhey love it.
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If the inspector give the OK, I'd probably go ahead and buy it.
OTOH, buying a house of that age carries certain costs and obligations. You want to maintain the historical significance of the architecture as much as possible, and you may have some more costly repairs, but that may have already been done for you. Tearing into an old place can be loaded with surprises. Have fun researching the history of the house and neighborhood.
--
Ed
http://pages.cthome.net/edhome/




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Ands some mold can be quite tasty, if properly prepared.
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Roger that, thanks for the info - I wasnt aware of the time issues.
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Sounds about right. Proper venting should prevent a reoccurance. I'd probably go with the inspector's opinions on it.
The shady side of my house has had something similar. Random spots of mold (centered on rough spots in the siding - probably where spores could hang on). I just washed it with Clorox house cleaner and, since I wanted to repaint it anyway, gave the porch (the worst offender) a coat of Kilz 2 before painting on the color. Mold hasn't come back there. (It did return after two years in another area - I'm planning on painting the whole house this year and I'll give that area the Kilz treatment too.)
I grew up in Central Florida where mold was the least offensive wildlife that invaded houses. You haven't lived until you've been trapped in a room with a dozen panicked palmetto bugs. (They don't fly well, but they sure try.) -Wm
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m Ransley.
The recommended method for cleaning mold now is detergent mixed with water. Bleach is no longer recommended. The people I know cleaning mold are usein Dawn dishwashing detergent from a bottle mixed with water, just like hand washing dishes. Use a scrub brush to work it into rough surfaces. Wipe with a wet cloth and allow to dry. There is a lot of controversy over biocides. Most of those FOR using biocides have a monetary interest in biocides. Bleach usually won't hurt, but has fallen out of favor.
Stretch
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Stretch, I don`t know where you got the info on bleach falling out of favor . So please post a link of proof, I dought that you can.
Bleach is the cheapest, most simple to use product that actualy kills spores rendering them harmless without any time wasting contact or effort. You simply spray it on, then mold dies in minutes from oxygen removal and cannot dust off releasing spores. Washing with soap is optional if you want it clean, but who cares in an unused attic as it dissapears visualy with bleach and is left dead, not afecting anything. Bleach also stops wood rot, soap does nothing but clean and leave mold spores alive and well for proper conditions to again allow it to grow. Who ever gave you that info lacks hands on practical experiance and common sence.
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On Tue, 5 Apr 2005 06:53:56 -0500, snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (m Ransley) wrote:

In my humid Houston neighborhood, bleach is still king. Detergent used alone without bleach would result in malpractice and misfeasance claims galore.
Commercial bleach products are best however, and still very reasonable in price, and they can last a lot longer..
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Gerald Nunn wrote: ...

I would not worry at all unless the mold tested out to be one of the very few and relatively rare types that often cause health issues.
If you look, you should find mold in almost every home in the world. It is all over the place. Almost all of it is either beneficial or benign.
It looks like you are going about this properly and you hare looking at a great home. Good luck.
--
Joseph Meehan

Dia\'s Muire duit
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agreed, buy the house if all esle is good
mold will tend to grow on the inside of a roof that faces north and does not get sun in the winter
the south facing side gets the sun and dries out and all the moisture condenses on the north facing side
with the added attic vents, it might not re-occur
just check it every year and apply bleach as required or add more ventillation
i suggest a vent on two sides so that you get air flow due to the prevailing wind
Mark
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On Mon, 4 Apr 2005 22:16:48 -0500, snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (m Ransley) wrote:

I agree. Bleach it, then apply KILZ paint to the whole interior of the roof. Then install more roof vents. Lack of ventilation is what causes mold.
Mark
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Just mix some detergent and bleach together. No biggie.....
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I would not hesitate to buy the house, especially if you're going to ventilate the attic. Sounds like a great old house -- congrats.
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