Mold on Ceiling

Some time back we had a bad roof leak in the rental house next door. We spent a lot of money to different people trying to find the leak and they never could so we finally had a roofing company replace the roof which solved the problem. The tenant told me a couple days ago that there is mold on the ceiling and she thinks the mold has caused her young child to have continuous ear infections. I had a "Mold Remediator Specialist" come out to look at it today. He gave me a price of $2,000 which includes sealing off this room from the rest of the house, tearing out the ceiling, inspecting to see how far the mold may have spread, using what he called a "Air Scrubber" for 4 days, and washing down the walls, etc. His men will wear white suits and masks and replace the ceiling when the job is completed. I feel he knows what he's doing but I was taken aback at the $2,000 and the magnitude of the job he plans to do for a couple small spots of mold on the ceiling. Has anyone else faced this problem and how did you handle it. I want it taken care of but I also want to make sure I'm handling it right before dishing out the $2,000. Any suggestions will be appreciated.
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Mold is not something that you want to fool around with. Having said that, have you tried to get rid of the mold on the ceiling with a solution of 1 part bleach and 2 parts water. From previous experience, I know the extremes the people who specialize in Mold removal will go to. Among many other things, I had two ceramic tile floors ripped up--no visible mold, just the detection of moisture was the driver. MLD

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The tenants said they tried to remove the mold with bleach but it didn't work. Your experience with having your tile floors ripped up is why it bothers me to have the whole ceiling torn out when it may not be necessary. I know there is mold and then there is the serious mold and this guy goes by the visible mold which really doesn't tell us if its the serious one or not. I just can't believe it is from a roof leak. Thanks for your response.

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Dont just beleive the tennants you go in with a spray bottle with bleach and see what happens. What room is the mold in , is the house vented well. Look above where the mold is , unless its the bathroom. Mold specialists have a captive fearfull market. What worries me is her blaming health problems on your house. Litigation. Maybe your tennant is to blame for excessive humidity and not venting the house. I wouldnt rip out anything, Id find the cause and fix it.
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The room is a den built on to the back of the house, but the tenants use it as a play room for the kids.

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It could be as simple as the ceiling isnt vented properly. or bad flashing . You need someone to figure out the reason for the moisture, and stop it first , or ripping things out wont cure anything. The problem will still be there. No photos? Is it a Flat roof, pitched , attic above, is it vented and how much.
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Dinah wrote:

If it was/is an add on to the back of a house I suggest that you look first at whether it is properly used and ventilated (aired out). And/or the ventilation within the roof space above it? It may just be condensation on a poorly insulated ceiling in a cool/cold climate. How long has this been occurring? Did any previous tenant have this problem; or yourselves if you lived there? What about 'Life style'? Are there any other similar add-on dens around that area that do, or do not, have a similar problem? Have seen two identical housing units in the same row. One was a mess with rotted walls; $10,000 repairs. The other was pristine. Reason; life style of the tenants. In the first one they would put potatoes and cabbage on to boil in an open pot for a long time without even cracking open a window or running a fan. In the second the fastidious home occupier ventilated and cooked carefully. Her unit was perfect; no peeling paint or anything. Also recently it was reported in the local press, a tenant claimed mouldy conditions in a rented unit and wanted to move! The landlord found that they were drying clothes inside the house without any ventilation to save the electrical cost of operating a dryer! Without jumping to any conclusions and before you spend serious money, a couple of ideas anyway. Terry.
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wrote:

a couple of things to add to this, check if they're using any humidifier, the stand-alone ones. see how many do they use and how long they run it and how often do they refill it? seen ahouse where they have like 6 of those and in a months time, the attic was a scene from "WHEN MOLDS ATTACK"
check also if there is any vent scapping in the attic, hot air getting exposed to cold air produces water, if this happens outside no problem. if its happening inside an attic it would be like "WHEN MOLDS ATTACK PART 2".
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mark Ransley wrote:

Get the roofer back before you do anything.
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At the very least, I would get someone to replace the ceiling drywall. That should be much less than $2000. At the same time, the repairman could remove any wet insulation and let the space dry up for a few days before closing it back. I've had this problem before, and that's exactly what I did. I increased the thermostat and put a fan to speed things up. I didn't find any visible mold on the structure, but the insulation was damp and the ceiling was discoloured and brittle.
If it was in a basement, though, I might consider mold specialists.

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I agree that it is nothing to mess with. You may also be required to take certain action by local regulations.
I think I would consider removing a section of the ceiling or accessing the area from above to determine the extent of the problem. It does look like some part of the ceiling will need to be replaced, it is not possible to tell without inspection.
The price may not be out of line, although I am not particularly impressed with white suits. I wonder if I could get $4,000 if I wore my white tux? I suspect they may do a one size fits all, replace the whole ceiling thing when less might be fine. However it is not possible to tell from here. Did they take a look at the problem from above?
--
Joseph E. Meehan

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No, they didn't check it from above. The price may not be bad, I've just never dealt with this before so don't know. Thanks for your response.

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Back when asbestos was the big scare, the Navy tried to remediate some family housing. Tests were required to determin the existence and extent of asbestos containing floor covering. The testing company wanted big bucks and said they would wear moon suits to collect samples. This was to happen with families standing around and was rejected. They took samples - a bit out of each of several tiles put in a plastic baggie in coveralls. We encapsulated the possibly asbestos containing material. All that is to say neither asbestos or mold is to be messed with, but moderation is possible.
The suggestions to look for causes from above and from lack of ventilation or insulation are a start. My guess is that an attorney would want a registerd letter stating that you are doing something with a date should this become a legal matter.
Tom Baker Charleston SC
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