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KATHY’S HOME & GARDEN TIPS - MOLD!
I have been in the Real Estate business around Chicago for 10 years. I have been in more homes stricken with toxic molds in the last two years than in the previous eight years combined. With the explosion of foreclosures, the market brings many abandoned homes having pipes breaking and rain flooding. The Bank discovers this too late to prevent extensive mold damage. Toxic black mold is called "Stachybotrys chartarrum ". This horrible allergen causes runny noses, watery eyes and wheezing. After more exposure it can actually cause bleeding in the lungs.

Mold spores reproduce and actually feed on the surface they adhere to. The mildew odor occurs as mold spores actually digest their food outside their bodies and reabsorb the food back into the walls of their cells.

If the infected area is less than 10 square feet, a good cleaning and disinfectant is usually enough. Remember bleach alone is not sufficient. Bleach will kill the spores but if you don't wash them off with soap and hot water they will still give off toxic fumes. The EPA recommends you to use an N-95 respirator (found at many hardware stores) along with long gloves and goggles. When searching the EPA website you can find a pamphlet on mold and indoor air quality.  If you do manage to mitigate the mold problem on your own make sure you prime with a mold preventative such as Kilz Premium primer.

If mold has spread over a large area of drywall it probably has penetrated the entire thickness. If you clean the area it will only last a short time.  After a while the mold will simply come to the surface again. Affected drywall must be replaced and any source of moisture must be mitigated.

If you manage to get yourself a bargain in this foreclosure market, great! If the property has mold damage know what you are getting into. Mold is dangerous, and can be life threatening. The mitigation can cost thousands of dollars and the problem could have implications with insurance. 

The best bet with an extensive mold problem is to call in the professionals.  They should be able to give you a ballpark estimate and will inform you if they run into more problems as they go on. Especially with mold often deeper troubles are uncovered as you get behind the initial obvious mold covered surface.

KATHLEEN WEAVER-ZECH & DEAN'S TEAM CHICAGO

Posted: Tuesday, September 21, 2010 11:40 AM by Dean's Team

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