The 5-Second Trick For mold inspection AustinTX

The 5-Second Trick For mold inspection AustinTX

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Mold Inspection of Austin
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What Does A Mold Inspection Report Look Like

Deteriorated shingles or other roof coverings are one of the first things home buyers and home inspectors notice. If the elements underneath the shingles are moist or rotted, repairs will likely be requested. Some states require a separate roof inspection. Make sure flashing around the base of the chimney is watertight, and that mortar and bricks are in good condition. Inspect the fireplace to make sure it is functioning properly .

Many mold investigators also provide non-diagnostic mold screening surveys for real estate transactions and post-mold remediation (cleanup) project onsite inspection and clearance test reports. Other professional services include odor source detection, gas testing, and building condition of property and pre purchase inspections.

What inspection methods and testing techniques form the basis of your indoor air/mold investigation report? Mold cultures are unreliable for overall characterization of fungal contamination of indoor air. Home test kits, settlement plates, samplers which collect spores onto petri dishes, and sterile swabs all have a place in the arsenal of tools but not for overall building characterization.

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In one class I attended a mold test lab supervisor showed me the cheat sheet she provides to her afternoon high-school aged employees who are trained to look through the microscope for one of the eight common mold species whose photograph appears on a colored card. An under-trained lab technician may be tempted to stop examining a sample as soon as s/he finds one of the important eight on the card.

Sometimes even the presence of a few spores can be significant if they are highly toxic, as they might indicate that a problem material is present or growing somewhere in the building. But a distinction should be made between what is obviously significant by visual inspection (or if necessary by actual quantitative measurement if it was an air sample), and what was found as present but not necessarily significant.

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Attic mold often appears as a thin grey or black layer on the very top of the insulation.  The dimensionality of the growth is difficult to determine, as the underlying insulation presents a rough and uneven surface.  If the mold growth is due to high humidity and condensation, as is usually the case, the mold growth will only occur on top of the insulation.  In the image below, notice how the mold growth uniformly covers the insulation, but is not found on the lower layers, which were disturbed during the inspection.

A mold test lab expert alone, knowing nothing about the building conditions, test conditions, or occupant sensitivities, has only a limited ability to interpret the lab findings. Waving your notebook at a surface or choosing not to wave it during mold sampling can make a thousand-fold difference in the mold score at the exact same location.

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Mildew odors signal that a basement is too moist. Buyers and home inspectors will look closely at the walls and floors for patches of mildew and signs of dampness. The inspector might use a meter to determine how much moisture is present in these spaces because moisture deteriorates building materials and attracts insects. Cover exposed earth in basements and crawl spaces with plastic to help keep moisture levels down. Most foundation leaks are a result of poor drainage that funnels water towards the foundation. To address this issue, consider the following steps:

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Software often gives inspectors the choice of including photographs in the main body of the report, near the narrative that describes them, or photographs may be grouped together toward the beginning or end of the report.

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The leak’s been fixed. So why does it still smell like mildew?

Q: Earlier this year, a downspout on my condominium came loose, and water infiltrated my bedroom. It took the property manager 3½ months to repair it, so a lot of water came in. After the repair, I waited five months for the walls to dry out, during which there was a strong mold/mildew smell. When I brought in a plasterer, he removed the damaged plaster. A worker applied a white sealant, Zinsser Odorless Oil-Based Stain Blocker, and returned to spray mold/mildew killer. That was five weeks ago. After a few days, the smell was still as strong as before, so I bought the same product — it smells like Clorox — and sprayed the walls every third day. The mildew smell lessened only a small amount. I found a recommendation online to apply vinegar to kill the odor. I have done that three times over the past week. The smell has lessened a bit, but I worry that if I proceed to get new plaster and paint, the mold/mildew will come through. How should I eliminate the odor?


A: Hire a licensed mold assessor to test your walls and the air to make sure the underlying issue — excessive moisture — has been addressed. A persistent smell hints that mold or mildew (the term for specific kinds of mold) may still be growing because moisture levels are high.


If you were to hire a company that does assessments as well as remediation and were told more remediation work needs to be done, you may wonder whether the advice was just a way to drum up more business. So hire a company that does mold assessments but not remediation work, suggested Joe Mulieri, owner of MoldGone in Silver Spring (240-970-6533;, which does both types of work throughout the Washington area. He said an assessment might cost a few hundred dollars. The D.C. government website lists licensed mold professionals in two categories: assessors and remediators. To view the list, type “mold professionals” into the search box at .

Assuming you aren’t seeing any mold now, the smell could be coming from inside the wall cavities, perhaps within insulation stuffed into the walls, with the smells then wafting into the room through gaps around trim and between the walls and flooring. These air gaps could also be allowing warm, moisture-laden air to settle on a cold surface, where it condenses and raises the moisture level enough to support mildew growth. If the room didn’t have a moldy smell before the gutter problem, it’s possible that 3½ months of leaks soaked the insulation enough to compress it, allowing condensation to occur where it wasn’t an issue before. Or mildew could be in the ceiling or the floor, perhaps in carpet padding.

If the walls in your condo were covered in drywall, the best solution probably would be to remove the damaged materials, see what’s going on inside the wall and start fresh. Replacing drywall makes sense because mildew can feed on the paper that covers both sides of drywall’s gypsum core and because drywall is relatively inexpensive to replace.


Plaster, however, is less prone to harboring mildew because it doesn’t provide food for mildew, and it is more expensive to replace. “Plaster is more dense and less absorbent than drywall,” Mulieri said. Although it’s sometimes necessary to remove plaster to address hidden issues, it’s often sufficient — once a leak is plugged — to go with the procedure your plasterer used: scraping off the outer layer, then applying an encapsulant. Mulieri said he uses AfterShock, a sealant produced by Fiberlock Technologies that was designed to disinfect surfaces and prevent mold from re-growing.

Many contractors, like yours, encapsulate by using a less-expensive oil-based sealer, such as Zinsser Odorless Oil-Based Stain Blocker or Kilz Orignal. But if you read the technical documents for these products, they don’t mention using them to encapsulate mildew. The Zinsser product sheet says only that it blocks stains from water, fire and smoke damage, while the Kilz sheet says it blocks stains from a longer list of sources and “seals pet, food and smoke odors.” There is no mention of mildew with either product.

There is a lot of confusion about how mildew grows and the risks it poses. People often focus on “killing” mildew by spraying it with bleach or similar products. But that kills only mildew hit by the spray.


And if you inhale dead spores, the health risks are the same as if they were alive. That’s why the Environmental Protection Agency’s advice for do-it-yourself mildew cleanup focuses on wiping away mildew, using just water and detergent, on hard surfaces. The EPA says consumers can generally clean up moldy areas of less than 10 square feet by following its safety advice, which you can read by typing “mold cleanup in your home” into the search box at For larger areas, it recommends getting a pro — one that is licensed.

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1,000 Mopeds To Hit Austin Streets

In a city awash with scooters and e-bikes, Revel will put 1,000 mopeds on Austin streets at a Friday ceremony outside City Hall.

By now, Austin residents are accustomed to having to negotiate around the abundant electric scooters left along sidewalks after use. Now, another company is poised to unleash a fleet of mopeds on the crowded landscape.

Revel, a shared electric vehicle company, on Tuesday announced it will launch a fleet of 1,000 mopeds in Austin on Friday, Nov. 1. The Revels, which are currently being placed on city streets, will be turned on Friday following a kick-off event outside City Hall, officials said in a press advisory.

These electric mopeds are not e-scooters, a company official told Patch in an email. Rather, insured riders drive and park the vehicles in the street, and the mopes are registered as motor vehicles with license plates.

Revels will be available to rent for Austinites over the age of 21 with valid drivers' licenses who pass an initial safe driving record background check, according to company officials. The moped onslaught is scheduled on Friday but a time has yet to be determined. Revel officials will be at Austin City Hall Plaza, 301 W. 2nd St., for the unveiling, according to an email.

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