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  1. #1

    Default Could this be smoke remediation?

    When I entered the attic of the home I inspected today, this is what the framing looked like. Tell me what y'all think. Could this be a form of smoke smell remediation?

    IMG_5580.JPGIMG_5562.JPGIMG_5586.JPG

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    Default Re: Could this be smoke remediation?

    Quote Originally Posted by George Hallaron View Post
    Could this be a form of smoke smell remediation?
    Yes, but the better way to state it for the client is to state that it is from a fire (that let's them truly understand there was a FIRE! in the house and/or the attic) ... of course, the FIRE! could have been caused by other open electrical junctions like the one in your photo, except that is new wiring - possibly the insurance company contractors?

    Many other deficiencies in your photos too.

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  3. #3

    Default Re: Could this be smoke remediation?

    Thanks JP,

    I thought it was but I haven't had much experience with smoke remediation. That being said, I think you make a good point about how to present my findings to my clients. And as for the other issues in the attic, I'm well aware that I'm going to earn my money on this report.

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    Default Re: Could this be smoke remediation?

    Photo 2 loos like charred kraft paper on the insulation. Did you probe any of the framing?


  5. #5

    Default Re: Could this be smoke remediation?

    As a matter of fact I did. The areas that I probed were all solid and I didn't see any charring, I did however notice what could have been new rafters in some areas.

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    Default Re: Could this be smoke remediation?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dom D'Agostino View Post
    Photo 2 loos like charred kraft paper on the insulation. Did you probe any of the framing?
    I'm sure George has written up the fire-starter exposed paper facing of the insulation.

    That charred look may be from the paper facing helping spread the fire across the attic.

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    Default Re: Could this be smoke remediation?

    Could be either smoke or mold remediation. If it were smoke you'd think they'd do the other side also. My guess is mold as it appears to be above the bathroom with an improperly vented fan.

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    Default Re: Could this be smoke remediation?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Rowe View Post
    Could be either smoke or mold remediation. If it were smoke you'd think they'd do the other side also. My guess is mold as it appears to be above the bathroom with an improperly vented fan.
    Ken,

    You bring up a good point about possible mold remediation. The photos that I posted are from two separate attic spaces. Both have bath fans but one fan is vented to the exterior, at least it was at the time of the inspection. The issue that raises a flag for me with regards to a mold issue is the fact that there is a lack of adequate ventilation in both attics. Each attic space has only one gable vent and no low end vent holes. Additionally, the vapor barriers for the insulation are facing in the wrong direction.

    On the other hand, when I was in the attic I did not smell any smoke however, when I first entered the house I did notice a smoke smell. I just thought that it was from the homeowners smoking. Unfortunately the homeowners have already moved out and were unavailable for questioning.

    The house has recently been remodeled. I suppose it could be either.

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    Default Re: Could this be smoke remediation?

    Quote Originally Posted by George Hallaron View Post
    The house has recently been remodeled. I suppose it could be either.
    George,

    While I guess it could be either, all of the visible evidence in your photos screams 'FIRE!' and the resulting repairs from it, including new rafters (the old rafters are all rough sawn and are the one sealed over, the new rafters are smooth and not sealed over), the old roof decking was sealed over while the new roofing decking was not sealed over, etc.

    There is no doubt in my mind that you are looking at the repairs after a fire and a result of mold nor is it mold related.

    That is what I see, not sure what Ken is looking at.

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    Default Re: Could this be smoke remediation?

    I have a rental property that looked like that when I bought it.
    2% of the damage was from fire (bath fan, electrical)
    8% was from the smoke
    90% was caused by water
    No char on any wood, but some places had heavy smoke stains
    Someone had started the renovation before I bought it but give up before they finished.

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

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    Default Re: Could this be smoke remediation?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    That is what I see, not sure what Ken is looking at.
    I'm looking at the three pictures the OP posted. I guess I don't see any new framing or roof sheeting. I don't see anything I can positively identify as "charring" by the photos. I see some blackness, but that could either be smoke or mold. In fact, I see overspray on some of the unpainted framing.

    If the decking would have been replaced since the early 60's it most likely would have been done in a solid sheeting. How long has spray painting mold or smoke been allowed as remediation? I'm guessing late 70's to early 80's but I really don't know.

    And for the OP, cigarette smoke and smoke damage (from a fire) do not smell anything alike.

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    Default Re: Could this be smoke remediation?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Rowe View Post
    I'm looking at the three pictures the OP posted.
    Well, Duh! What photos did you think I was looking at? What IN those photos are you looking at? I guess I should have been more specific for you.

    I guess I don't see any new framing or roof sheeting.
    See photos with may annotations on them.

    I don't see anything I can positively identify as "charring" by the photos. I see some blackness, but that could either be smoke or mold. In fact, I see overspray on some of the unpainted framing.
    So, you are saying that if there is no charring in the photos there is, therefore, no charring? Huh?

    If the decking would have been replaced since the early 60's it most likely would have been done in a solid sheeting.
    Not necessarily, the may have used board sheathing to try to match the thickness of the original rough sawn board sheathing. Most of the replaced sheathing looks to be board sheathing, however, one area near/at the overhand looks to be structural panel sheathing.

    How long has spray painting mold or smoke been allowed as remediation? I'm guessing late 70's to early 80's but I really don't know.
    They have been sealing over smoke damage from fires back into the 70s I know of, and maybe even back into the 60s.

    Sealing back mold for remediation is a new things, since the Mold-is-Gold stuff started back in the 90s as I recall.

    And for the OP, cigarette smoke and smoke damage (from a fire) do not smell anything alike.
    I must have missed the part where the OP said or asked about that?

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    Default Re: Could this be smoke remediation?

    Smoke / Fire Damage

    The paper backing on the Fiberglass insulation is burned.

    This rafter has a No damage / damaged line clearly shown ( something was blocking the smoke from damaging the rafter along this clear line. Mold would not leave a clearly defined damage line as the moisture required for growth would also go down the shown rafter.

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    Default Re: Could this be smoke remediation?

    Sorry, but I still don't see where any framing or roof sheeting has been replaced. The lumber is identical, except for the paint. The deck boards are identical, even the spacing, except for the paint.

    I'm not saying it isn't smoke damage, but I don't see any charring or fire damage (yes there is a difference between smoke damage and fire damage) and don't believe anything has been replaced. The dark stained insulation could be smoke, could be mold, but is most likely dirt due to the lack of a proper vapor barrier and attic ventilation.

    Without being there and seeing it firsthand it's pretty much impossible to tell what exactly is going on from the pictures.

    Maybe the original poster can chime in here.

    Last edited by Ken Rowe; 01-11-2014 at 06:30 PM.
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    Default Re: Could this be smoke remediation?

    The house was built in 1976 according to to the county tax records.

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    Default Re: Could this be smoke remediation?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Rowe View Post
    Sorry, but I still don't see where any framing or roof sheeting has been replaced.

    The lumber is identical, except for the paint. The deck boards are identical, even the spacing, except for the paint.

    don't believe anything has been replaced.

    The dark stained insulation could be smoke, could be mold, but is most likely dirt due to the lack of a proper vapor barrier and attic ventilation.
    .
    Roof Decking Changed (Yellow Circle )

    This was not caused by lack of a proper vapor barrier ( Red Circle )

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    Default Re: Could this be smoke remediation?

    Quote Originally Posted by George Hallaron View Post
    The house was built in 1976 according to to the county tax records.
    Based on the rough sawn lumber used for the rafters and the rough sawn board sheathing used for the roof sheathing I would have thought that house was older than the 1930s, maybe even older than the 1920s.

    Rough sawn lumber was, at one time, 1/8" less that the nominal dimension; i,e., a 2x4 was 1-7/8" x 3-7/8" in size.

    Later, some mills started 'sizing' lumber to be more consistent ... for an extra price, of course ... and the rough sawn lumber would be 'sized' in by a running the rough sawn lumber through a sizing saw. This additional step took another 1/8" off the nominal size.

    'Saw sized' lumber was basically 1/4" smaller than that the referenced size, i.e., a 2x4 was 1-3/4" x 3-3/4", a 1x6 was 3/4" x 5-3/4", etc.

    'Saw sized' lumber is rough lumber, but not as rough as rough sawn lumber. I suspect the original rafters and original roof sheathing in you photos is either 'rough sawn' or 'saw sized'.

    I did some research looking to find the history of lumber sizing and dimensional lumber sizing and found this site: http://www.fpl.fs.fed.us/documnts/misc/miscpub_6409.pdf

    When people order 'rough sawn' today, they will probably get S2S unless they specify 'rough sawn' and 'not surfaced'. S2S is lumber which is 'surfaced two sides', one side and one edge is 'rough', the other side and other edge is 'surfaced'. That way the lumber can be used with either the 'rough' sides out or the 'smooth' sides out.

    I think that house is much older than 1976 ... it may have been gutted and rebuilt in 1976, which could be the time of the fire, and the amount of rebuilding allowed them to re-date the house as being constructed in 1976.

    Kind of all fits when thinking of it that way.

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    Default Re: Could this be smoke remediation?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Based on the rough sawn lumber used for the rafters and the rough sawn board sheathing used for the roof sheathing I would have thought that house was older than the 1930s, maybe even older than the 1920s.

    Rough sawn lumber was, at one time, 1/8" less that the nominal dimension; i,e., a 2x4 was 1-7/8" x 3-7/8" in size.
    Agreed, except in my area, it could be up to the 1940's. But that house in Mississippi might have been built by a guy with his own mill.

    So the question is, is it local wood or was it trucked in from a commercial mill? Or were logs towed down the river to the site by boat? What say you, Billy?


    I think that house is much older than 1976 ... it may have been gutted and rebuilt in 1976, which could be the time of the fire, and the amount of rebuilding allowed them to re-date the house as being constructed in 1976.

    Kind of all fits when thinking of it that way.
    Since they patched with plywood, I'd guess a later date for the repair. But they had insurance, so they bought expensive plywood. That's it.

    Unless there never was a fire, and the wife just asked him to paint the dirty wood.

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    Default Re: Could this be smoke remediation?

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kogel View Post
    But that house in Mississippi might have been built by a guy with his own mill.

    So the question is, is it local wood or was it trucked in from a commercial mill? Or were logs towed down the river to the site by boat? What say you, Billy?
    Here's a Listing of 153 Sawmills and Planing Mills, General Companies in Mississippi (MS) in his area.

    Them s just be the ones with a phone listing.
    * 2nd Cousin Clem don't be having no phone.

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    Default Re: Could this be smoke remediation?

    Quote Originally Posted by Billy Stephens View Post
    Roof Decking Changed (Yellow Circle )

    This was not caused by lack of a proper vapor barrier ( Red Circle )
    As I said, if the decking was changed it would most likely be done with solid sheeting (like that piece). The rest of it has not been changed.

    I'm not sure what you're looking at in the red circle. In a previous post you mentioned burned insulation. I see a piece of insulation with the paper backing folded over, showing the black inner surface.

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    Default Re: Could this be smoke remediation?

    Ken, ignore the red circle and look at the paper in pic 2. It is stained black.
    Maybe it is scorched from a fire where the plywood had to be added. Most of us think so.

    Maybe it is paper with the black glue bleeding through. I see blackened paper on fiberglass lots of times.

    Mould or mold on the paper would be more spotty but maybe under perfect conditions, you could achieve the same effect with mold and rotted sheathing that had to be patched. No doubt there is history in that place. I believe an Elvis impersonator used to live in that attic and the place had to be sanitized when he got moldy up there.

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    Default Re: Could this be smoke remediation?

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kogel View Post
    Ken, ignore the red circle and look at the paper in pic 2. It is stained black.
    Maybe it is scorched from a fire where the plywood had to be added. Most of us think so.

    Maybe it is paper with the black glue bleeding through. I see blackened paper on fiberglass lots of times.

    Mould or mold on the paper would be more spotty but maybe under perfect conditions, you could achieve the same effect with mold and rotted sheathing that had to be patched. No doubt there is history in that place. I believe an Elvis impersonator used to live in that attic and the place had to be sanitized when he got moldy up there.
    Yes, the back of the paper is black, just like the ceiling joists. Hell, for all we can tell by the pictures it's black paint. I've seen mold that looks just like that in a picture. I've also seen smoke damage that looks just like that in a picture. But some of you seem to be ignoring some important evidence.

    1: The OP did not smell smoke, possibly cigarette smoke when he first got there. If the blackness on the insulation and ceiling joist is smoke or fire damage, the OP should be able to smell it. Especially after probing.
    2: The OP did not see any charring, either on the wood or craft paper backing, even with probing
    3: The OP stated both attics lacked adequate ventilation.
    4: The bath fan exhaust directly onto the side that has the white paint (consistent with a mold issue)
    5: Remediation of some sort has taken place (white paint). Typically only professionals do this. They wouldn't paint one side of the attic and leave burnt or smoke stained insulation or ceiling joists. Not around here anyways. The restoration contractors I've seen aren't your typical remodeling contractors. They do the job right.
    6: Localized remediation (white paint on some of the roof sheeting) is very common with mold issues over damp areas (like bathrooms)
    7: Get craft paper damp and see how much of the black backing bleeds through. (the brown paper turns black)

    I'm not saying that it's definitely a mold issue. But nothing the OP has posted indicates smoke or fire damage except for the black coloring in 2 dimensional pictures. Sure, it could be smoke, fire or mold...we can't be conclusive with the pictures. But we can make an educated guess using all the available evidence.

    Black-Mold-in-Attic.598180.jpg
    Mold in the attic Pictures and Photos

    Is this smoke, fire damage or mold? It's not "spotty". According to the website I stole the picture from, it's mold.

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