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  1. #1
    widecast's Avatar
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    Default Black stains in attic... is this mold? (pics inside)

    Hello,

    I am close to buying a house but my inspector looked into the attic and says that there is lots of mold up there.

    The roof on the house is new but the sheathing was not replaced. The wood has dark stains around where the old bathroom vent was pointing to in the attic (the ventilation had been fixed to point outside at the time of changing the roof).

    I had a contractor come take a look today and he says it's not mold, contrary to what the inspector says.

    So I was hoping the inspector news community could give me a 3rd/4th/5th opinion.

    Please check the attached photo from the inspector's report. Thanks a lot,

    Widecast

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Black stains in attic... is this mold? (pics inside)

    I can't tell you about the mold, especially from the quality (lack thereof) of the photos, but from what I think I see I would be concerned with the plywood delaminating ... but again, the lack of quality of the photos even makes not sure I am seeing that.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Black stains in attic... is this mold? (pics inside)

    Its definitely microbial growth. Call it microbial, mildew or mold it really doesn't matter. You have something growing on the surface of the wood caused by excess moisture. Potentially there is a ventilation issue that is causing the moisture to build up. As Jerry said there may also be issues with the plywood decking.

    The stains are difficult to remove once the moisture problem is addressed. This could cause a problem when you go to resell it.

    //Rick
    Rick Bunzel, CRI
    WA Licensed Home Inspector #312
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  4. #4
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    Default Re: Black stains in attic... is this mold? (pics inside)

    What did the contractor say it is or may be if he feels it is not mold? It appears to be something but like Jerry said, the quality of the attached pics makes it hard to tell what we're looking at.

    "It takes a big man to cry. It takes an even bigger man to laugh at that man". - Jack Handey

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Black stains in attic... is this mold? (pics inside)

    I have seen attached photos. I think your inspector is right that attic have on more mold. House attic mold is one of the most popular items in property inspection reports.
    I think it is not problem for buying the home, hire a professional mold remediation contractor to clean mold on attic because photos says that attic had more mold on attic. Donít to do your self to clean on attic. But, ask present home owners to deduct the amount for clean on whatever amount you have been buying before.


  6. #6
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    Default Re: Black stains in attic... is this mold? (pics inside)

    Can't really tell what we are looking at in #35. Photo #36 shows definite evidence of 'mold / microbial growth' probably caused by the improper venting. Now that the venting has been re-routed, the mold growth - which relies heavily on damp dark conditions to survive may be abated. However, I would not absolutely assume that the staining is entirely from the venting. Though the roof was replaced there may be moisture penetration from outside versus from inside - not likely but worthy of consideration. I am also concerned about the decking delam. and the integrity of the roofing materials but that's difficult to determine by photos alone. If there is any deterioration I would ask the seller for a discount so that the affected area could be replaced - or request them make a repair (by a fully qualified roofing contractor). As long as that is the only area adversely affected a qualified roofer could make the necessary repairs without any problem. Molds can be very detrimental to health and I would not recommend removing it yourself unless you take appropriate safety precautions. If the roof decking is sound the affected area could be thoroughly sprayed with a 20-1 household bleach/water solution or neat vinegar but there are also other chemicals available. They will likely kill or at least abate the mold spores but the staining will likely remain which will always be an issue. When was the roof replaced, venting re=routed etc. and is there any staining beneath the insulation on the ceiling material (drywall) ?


  7. #7
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    Default Re: Black stains in attic... is this mold? (pics inside)

    Picture quality is poor, and there does appear to be a moisture condition, present or past, the insulation , as best seen, appears to be blowin. In past situations I have see the blowin insl. dust up into the moisture and stick to the materials giving a mold like appearance, at any rate, recommendation could be for further evaluation of the roof sheathing, and ventilation conditions.


  8. #8
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    Default Re: Black stains in attic... is this mold? (pics inside)

    Question for you.

    Did the contractor write it was not mold on a document of his with his letterhead and signature on it?

    rick


  9. #9
    James Duffin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Black stains in attic... is this mold? (pics inside)

    A question I would ask would be what qualifications did the inspector have to say it was mold?


  10. #10
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    Default Re: Black stains in attic... is this mold? (pics inside)

    Maybe he'd seen it before.


  11. #11
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    Default Re: Black stains in attic... is this mold? (pics inside)

    Haven't we all!

    My point is mold is like asbestos....you can think it is asbestos but until it is tested you are only guessing and you can get yourself in a world of trouble by guessing.

    The NCHILB recommends that you report what you see that can contribute to the growth (lack of ventilation, moisture intrusion, etc) and leave the diagnosis to someone else.

    If indeed it is not mold but just a fungus and the deal falls through because of the word "mold" the inspector could be in a pickle....so to speak. IMO


  12. #12
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    Default Re: Black stains in attic... is this mold? (pics inside)

    Quote Originally Posted by James Duffin View Post
    If indeed it is not mold but just a fungus and the deal falls through because of the word "mold" the inspector could be in a pickle....so to speak. IMO
    Now that we've got people spraying vinegar on 'fungus' in the attic - pickles are certainly a possibility.

    To the OP, the pics are not good enough quality for a determination. I suggest better pictures would help, or try for another opinion from another contractor.

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
    www.allsafehome.ca

  13. #13
    widecast's Avatar
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    Default Re: Black stains in attic... is this mold? (pics inside)

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Hurst View Post
    Question for you.

    Did the contractor write it was not mold on a document of his with his letterhead and signature on it?

    rick
    Hi Rick, the contractor did not write that it was not mold. He said that he "wouldn't worry about it" and that he doesn't think it's mold. When I asked him bluntly, are you sure it's not mold, he said that he couldn't give that answer without a laboratory test being done.


  14. #14
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    Default Re: Black stains in attic... is this mold? (pics inside)

    Quote Originally Posted by James Duffin View Post
    A question I would ask would be what qualifications did the inspector have to say it was mold?
    It is debatable. It probably looked like mold according to the inspector but the contractor who came to check it out said that the inspector should not be claiming it is mold without a proper test.


  15. #15
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    Default Re: Black stains in attic... is this mold? (pics inside)

    The owners are denying any problem and do not want me bringing any more specialists. I was able to get a small discount on the home for that issue and am going to purchase the home. This problem, whatever it is, appears to be in an extremely contained area (the pictures are misleading in that way) so I figure in the end I'll just have to deal with it myself.

    For when I do move in, what do you guys suggest in terms of properly diagnosing the issue and/or fixing it to avoid problems with the eventual resale?

    a. roofer
    b. mold removal company
    c. laboratory testing
    d. other ideas?

    Thanks a lot for everyone's feedback!

    -Widecast


  16. #16
    James Duffin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Black stains in attic... is this mold? (pics inside)

    I think I would ask the first contractor to come back. He sounds like he might be honest since he did not try to drum up any extra business on the first visit.

    I would tell him that you want the problem with the roof decking repaired and the cause of the problem repaired. Tell him you want it to look like it should so when you get ready to sell the house there will be no problems visible.

    Then get a second opinion from another GC. I would hold off on a mold contractor for now.


  17. #17
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    Default Re: Black stains in attic... is this mold? (pics inside)

    I would say the attic shows signs of fungus growth in most areas on sheathing and rafters. If this condition continues the sheathing may delaminate and weaken the support system. The combination of poor ventilation and high moisture retention is the probable cause. The sources of moisture could be from bath vents, kitchen cooking practices, or crawl space high moisture levels traveling through the home and becoming trapped in the attic.
    I would recommend a qualified contractor with experience in attic ventilation to correct the ventilation issues. My guess is the lower soffit vents are non existent.
    I would also recommend a closer look at moisture sources in the lower portion of the home to make sure they are properly vented to the outside.
    If the home has a crawl space, I would recommend a qualified contractor install a moisture barrier to control the travel of water vapor through the home along with closure of the foundation vents in the summer which contribute to the moisture levels in the crawl and home.
    I would not waste your money to research the M word since it is an unconditioned part of the home and should not affect the indoor air quality.
    I would be concerned about the weakness of the sheathing as a result of current conditions and if any visible sag was noticed between rafters from outside view. The rafters appear to be 24 inches on center which may cause the sheathing to be wavy between rafters and weaken it to heavy snow loads and midnight walks across the roof.
    That being said, I understand different methods would apply to different parts of the country and I am speaking from the mid west.
    I have included a picture of some dark staining I noticed in an attic yesterday. I don't think moisture had anything to do with this one though.

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