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Old 11-10-2010, 04:56 PM   #1
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Mold/mildew - when is it a BIG problem?


Not sure if this is the right forum for this, but I figure the mods will move it if it's not!

I've mentioned in some of my other vastly exciting threads that I'm pulling the carpet and padding out of one the rooms in my basement. There's a musty smell that I'm sure is coming from the carpet and pad. The carpet looks relatively new (less than 5 years old), but the house sat for two years on the market with no HVAC or air, so I'm thinking the carpet soaked up moisture from the hot, humid days.

When I pulled up the carpet and pad it did indeed smell funky, but no signs of mold or mildew or moisture damage. But then I pulled up the baseboards (they were ugly) and pulled up what had to be a thin strip of the original carpet that was under the baseboards (my house is 40-50 years old and they had really ugly carpet back then).

Along one of the exterior facing walls there was a 1-2' section of that old carpet that had blackish mold/mildew on it (the black stuff was old and dry). Even the tack strip was moldy and it pulled right up when I pulled the carpet. The rest of the carpet along that wall didn't have that blackish mold/mildew. I inspected the drywall along that wall and there were no soft spots, no raised areas, and I could even see the bottom of some of the studs and lumber and they looked okay.

I found a second area that had a similar blackish mold and mildew along it along an interior closet wall, but on the other side of that wall is a toilet so I'm pretty sure that's from an overflow and not from a long-term, continuous moisture problem. I didn't cause the overflow - I'm good with my fiber.

My question is this - should I have someone come out and inspect the walls and floor based on what all I've tried to describe to see if there is a big problem? Right now I'm thinking 'no' since the mold and mildew seemed dry as if it was very old, and it was only in two small areas of the room, and I could see no other signs of mold or mildew damage.

Sorry this was so long, but I wanted to make sure I got in as much detail as needed!!

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Old 11-11-2010, 12:59 AM   #2
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Mold/mildew - when is it a BIG problem?


Okay, I think my first post was too long. Let me try again.

The other day I pulled up old carpet in my basement. It smelled and some parts of it looked mildewy. Should I worry?

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Old 11-11-2010, 09:42 AM   #3
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Mold/mildew - when is it a BIG problem?


You know, it's really not up to us to give you a quantitative answer to a subjective question, so you saying there's-x sq ft-of-what-I-think-is-mould-should-I-worry? - especially in the US -isn't going to make people rush to the computer...

On the one hand, some people think you should live in a quasi-'sterile' environment in their phobias over anything you can't see without magnification; then on the other, you get people saying if you're not dead yet, you're OK.

But I can give you general guidelines that the mould remediation people use as a measuring stick for treating mould problems, and that yardstick says that mouldy areas under 10 sqft can be treated by the homeowner without having recourse to HazMat specialists and evacuation of the city block. Now sure, you can call in the big boys, but if you only have a few suspected areas where mould used to grow, they'll laugh at you and charge their $350 minimum charge just for getting the truck out of the garage.

So that says that in general areas less than that approximate size are not safety or health concerns. There are always exceptions - but that is the rule of thumb in that field. Treatment of that sort of area involves nothing more exotic than soap and water and a mask - not a Howitzer.

Remember we live in a world of mould; moulds are all around us doing good things. Carpets in a basement are no-nos nowadays, especially natural carpets - but I know several people who live happily with carpets in their basements - but that's because they have controlled the factors that moulds need to thrive in the first place.
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Old 11-11-2010, 01:55 PM   #4
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Mold/mildew - when is it a BIG problem?


Quote:
Originally Posted by ccarlisle View Post
You know, it's really not up to us to give you a quantitative answer to a subjective question, so you saying there's-x sq ft-of-what-I-think-is-mould-should-I-worry? - especially in the US -isn't going to make people rush to the computer...

On the one hand, some people think you should live in a quasi-'sterile' environment in their phobias over anything you can't see without magnification; then on the other, you get people saying if you're not dead yet, you're OK.

But I can give you general guidelines that the mould remediation people use as a measuring stick for treating mould problems, and that yardstick says that mouldy areas under 10 sqft can be treated by the homeowner without having recourse to HazMat specialists and evacuation of the city block. Now sure, you can call in the big boys, but if you only have a few suspected areas where mould used to grow, they'll laugh at you and charge their $350 minimum charge just for getting the truck out of the garage.

So that says that in general areas less than that approximate size are not safety or health concerns. There are always exceptions - but that is the rule of thumb in that field. Treatment of that sort of area involves nothing more exotic than soap and water and a mask - not a Howitzer.

Remember we live in a world of mould; moulds are all around us doing good things. Carpets in a basement are no-nos nowadays, especially natural carpets - but I know several people who live happily with carpets in their basements - but that's because they have controlled the factors that moulds need to thrive in the first place.
Nice. You know, the whole purpose of this forum is for people to ask questions in the hopes that those in-the-know can provide answers. Snarky responses such as your first paragraph will only make people leave this forum.

And as for my "phobias", I have two children with asthma so maybe I do have a reason to be concerned.

While you did eventually answer my question, and I appreciate that, I really think some of the sarcasm behind it was really unnecessary.
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Old 11-11-2010, 03:35 PM   #5
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Mold/mildew - when is it a BIG problem?


I love it! That's what you get for being honest there ole snarky.
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Old 11-11-2010, 04:19 PM   #6
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Mold/mildew - when is it a BIG problem?


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Old 11-11-2010, 07:58 PM   #7
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Mold/mildew - when is it a BIG problem?


Wow. If you honestly don't see the condescension in your response...then oh well! Rock on with your bad selves!

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