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Old 05-03-2011, 10:08 PM   #1
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Mold problem-new construction home???


Hi,

I have a question. We are interested in a new construction home that was finished being built in early 2009, and has sat empty since as the builder went under. (NE Ga)

In the basement, we photographed what appears to be mold on the baseboards. The basement is a finished basement w/pretty taupe paint but there are also many many spots on the walls which is the reason for this post.

THE SPOTS ARE VARIOUS SIZES, SHAPES AND ARE MORE WAIST-LEVEL DOWN TO THE BASEBOARDS. THE SPOTS RESEMBLE AS IF SOMEONE WOULD HAVE SPLASHED/SPRITZED 'GREASE' ON THE WALLS/PAINT. THERE IS NO COLOR TO THE SPOTS....THEY BEST RESEMBLE GREASE SPOTS.

COULD THESE SUSPECT SPOTS BE MOLD GROWING UNDER THE PAINT? IF SO, WHAT IS CAUSING THE SPOTS TO APPEAR LIKE 'GREASE'?

Thanks for your help, we may not want to get involved in purchasing a foreclosure w/mold issues in the basement? Is this a hard problem to fix, if this is actually the issue?

I tried to upload a picture but it wouldn't work. Please help!!


Last edited by majaca; 05-03-2011 at 10:18 PM.
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Old 05-03-2011, 10:20 PM   #2
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Mold problem-new construction home???


Found out how to upload picture:
Please let me know what opinion is on the baseboard's 'black/greenish' powdery substance...mold?
And look at the wall above going all the way up to top of pic....'grease' spots....mold? Or what?
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Old 05-04-2011, 06:15 AM   #3
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No help here???
I see 29 views.....
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Old 05-04-2011, 06:22 AM   #4
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Mold problem-new construction home???


It's mildew - surface mold - you've got a damp basement there. Dehumidifier and managing surface water may make a difference. This also could be the result of a one-time flood that resulted in the mold.

IMO basements, as a rule, are damp and shouldn't be finished as living space without significant consideration given to managing the humidity/water issues.

Is the wall drywall?
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Old 05-04-2011, 07:33 AM   #5
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Mold problem-new construction home???


Thank you Leah.
I realize that the black stuff is mildew and we were able to wipe it off.
However, I am more concerned with the 'grease' looking spots on the wall (you can see in the pic) going up. They were not wipeable/removable with our fingers. They seemed to be embedded in the paint or behind the paint on the drywall. These wall/paint spots had NO color to them, but appeared darker than the paint, or like I said, as if grease was splashed on walls randomly.
So, yes it is drywall in there.
Please advise thanks.
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Old 05-04-2011, 08:10 AM   #6
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Mold problem-new construction home???


Here's an enhanced version, but it still hard to be sure.

Can you post a better picture of a 12x12" area with those "spots"?
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Old 05-04-2011, 08:44 AM   #7
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Mold problem-new construction home???


Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Thomas View Post
Here's an enhanced version, but it still hard to be sure.

Can you post a better picture of a 12x12" area with those "spots"?
Is this better?
Now keep in mind that these spots are not removable. They are in the paint/drywall. I hope you can help..
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Old 05-04-2011, 10:08 AM   #8
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Mold problem-new construction home???


factor into the cost of buying this very fine home the cost of replacing ALL affected drywall AND molding,,, keep in mind you probably have sole plates & studs in the same condition,,, depending on what's found after removing the drywall, you may also have water infiltration issues (bsmt waterproofing)
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Old 05-04-2011, 07:29 PM   #9
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Mold problem-new construction home???


Michael please respond after seeing the new pic I posted...tried to get a closer in look.
Thanks!
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Old 05-04-2011, 08:17 PM   #10
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Mold problem-new construction home???


So, even you're so called 'grease spots' are mold. It just hasn't penetrated through the drywall and paint yet.......

Bottom line: Are you prepared to buy a house with a known moisture problem?

And are you prepared (do you have the budget, skills, time, moral fortitude) to:

1) tear everything out (drywall, insulation, possibly sole plates, studs, trim);
2) identify and resolve whatever unknown problem is causing the moisture problem (plumbing leak, high water table, ground water, who-knows-what);
3) re-do everything to make the 'finished space'.

Again, IMO. Unless I basement is bone dry, I don't see any value in making it 'living space'. (too much effort IMO). I've been in one too many 'TV rooms' in basements that made my allergies go bananas. If you have fallen in love with the house, I'd strip all the above mentioned stuff and put up some plastic shelving and have some nice cool storage.

BTW - I bought a house with moisture problems in the basement. It's a 200 year old farmhouse with masonry walls and sand floors, but I'm not ever going to try to put drywall and carpet down there. DH can have his bar, and the wine is pretty happy.....
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Old 05-05-2011, 07:04 AM   #11
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Mold problem-new construction home???


Hi

Considering the property has not been unoccupied for 2+ years the conditions are not really that bad. If there had been any problem with ground water ingress the conditions would have been a hell of a lot worse than shown in your photo!

The problem you have is more than likely to be related to a number of factors e.g. lack of ventilation/air changes, temperature, humidity, and thermal losses within the basement structure of the building which together are leading to the occurence of both surface and interstitial condensation.

The mould issue is purely one of spores or bacteria in the air coming into contact with a cold/damp surface due to the condensation and would not be unexpected in a building that has laid empty for a number of years.
In normal occupancy it is unlikey that condensation would be a problem as the room temperature would likely be kept above the dew point of the air.

Obviously the rooms will need to be redecorated, and in line with the comments made by 'itsreallyconc' you should allow for all costs in carrying out this work against the offer that you make on the property, also include a contingency cost for unforeseen items, and final step if you are really keen on the property negotiate on price, and if you can't come to an agreement walk away!

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Old 05-05-2011, 08:36 AM   #12
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Mold problem-new construction home???


I was hoping Michael would put in his last 2cents....maybe he still will.

Anyway, the home went under contract yesterday! Ruh-roh.

I just hope that the buyers observed those spots and/or that the baseboard mildew/mold wasn't cleaned off by the listing realtor...as we did point it out to her.

If that mold has been cleaned off of the baseboards, one may not so much notice the 'spots' that are all over, like my husband did.

The home is a foreclosure and is AS-IS. I guess that will be problematic.

We are moving on in our search. Happily.
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Old 05-05-2011, 08:51 AM   #13
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Glad you didn't vet stuck with that stinker. There are so many houses on the market. Good luck.
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Old 05-05-2011, 11:38 AM   #14
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Around a quarter of the properties I inspect are vacant and unheated, and experience has taught me that these properties can have a wide variety of problems.

I realize that your climate is less severe than mine here in Chicago, but even a brief period of freezing weather can cause various kinds of problems, some of which may not become apparent until some time after the house is reoccupied.

And even if a house is not subjected to freezing conditions, vacant and unheated properties typically undergo a series of temperature and humidity swings far greater than if they were occupied.

I'm not saying that some such houses may not be bargains, only that they require very careful inspection, in my opinion should not be purchased by most buyers unless they can be observed after the utilities been turned back on, and that there will often be a substantial period of ongoing change (especially in interior finish materials) once the house is reoccupied and heated, and building materials start to return to their previous long-term humidity.

FWIW, here's the disclaimer that goes into every report when I've inspected such property:

Important Information About Unheated Properties

Observation: ( LTI) (AI) At the time of inspection this property was unheated due to utility shut off.

Analysis: Due to variations in temperature and humidity a structure that is unheated may undergo significant change and/or deterioration. This is especially true if the property is subjected to freezing temperatures, however change or deterioration can also occur in above freezing temperatures as well.

These changes can include but are not limited to: 1) settling, movement and/or cracking of foundations and footings, 2) shrinkage, expansion, warping and/or deterioration of structural members and materials, which may additionally cause damage to materials attached to them, 3) cracking, deterioration, de-lamination and/or warping of exterior and/or interior finish materials (for example gypsum board ("drywall"), paneling, ceiling tiles, flooring and subflooring materials, floor coverings and exterior cladding) and/or their separation from the underlying materials to which they are attached), 4) damage or deterioration of exterior and interior windows and doors, 5) damage to or deterioration of roofing membranes, underlayment and sheeting (which may in turn caused water damage to other materials), 6) damage to components of the plumbing supply and drainage systems (which may in turn cause water damage), 7) deterioration of and/or damage to electrical, and heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) components and systems, 8) damage to attached appliances, 9) the growth of mold, mildew and other biological organisms and 10) additional damage when the heat is turned back on (for example because a burst pipe leaks).

It is important for you to understand that this report describes the condition of the property on the date of the inspection, that an unheated property can be expected to undergo changes in its condition after the inspection, that some of these changes may be ongoing for months or even years after the property has been reheated, and that I cannot predict if or when these changes will occur.

Recommendation: 1) Have all disabled systems restarted by a qualified and insured person as required. Have the water turned on by an insured and state licensed plumber and a qualified HVAC technician restart heating and cooling systems so that problems which are discovered can be corrected immediately before damage occurs.

In my experience, at vacant properties (including "winterized" properties it is often the case that plumbing and hydronic (hot water) heating systems have not been completely purged of water collecting in low spots and/or incorrectly pitched plumbing lines.

When water in these areas freezes, the pipes my develop leaks which are not apparent until the water supply and drain systems are returned to service. Slow leaks from damaged water or hydronic heating pipes may take hours or even days to become evident at finished surfaces. I strongly recommend that you have the plumber remain at the property for at least one hour after the water is turned on to control any leaks which may be discovered. I also strongly recommend that a qualified and insured person who understands how to turn off the water at this property remain at the building and regularly checking for leaks for at least four hours after the water is turned on.

2) Have all the areas, systems and components of this property excluded from this report because of its unheated condition inspected by a qualified and insured person after the utilities have been turned back on and systems restarted.

3) If all utilities cannot be turned on and such inspections performed prior to the expiration of your inspection contingency I recommend that you consult with your attorney to determine if there are steps you can take to protect yourself against financial loss should such changes and/or damage occur after this inspection.

4) If you are intending to purchase a "Home Warranty" I recommend that prior to the expiration of your inspection contingency you determine from the warranty company what inspections or service will be necessary to guarantee a warranty is available, and that you have such inspections and service performed by vendors acceptable to the warranty company. If this cannot be done prior to expiration of your inspection contingency, I recommend that you consult with your attorney to if there are steps you can take to protect yourself against financial loss should the warranty provider decline to cover some or all systems or components you wish to warranty.


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Old 05-05-2011, 02:24 PM   #15
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Mold problem-new construction home???


Thank you Michael and everyone else.
Michael, that piece you included was very interesting!
I value your input.

I actually feel relieved that the house is now under contract.
Takes the problem right out of our hands.
No more vacillation or thinking 'should we' put in an offer.

I will, however, be watching the MLS to see if in the future, this home pops back on...due to all it's issues.

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