JLC Advocates Soap and Water vs Mold Remediation

Page 42 of Feb 2010 JLC - in the article - “Why You Shouldn’t Exhaust the Bath Fan in the Attic”…a plumber discovers mold in the attic and refuses to continue his work.

Insurance company has the owner call a certified forensic hygeneist who identifies the mold as Stachybotrys chartarum and the hygeneist recommends remediation that, in all, will cost the home owner $20,000.

The homeowner contacts a builder.

The builder investigates and finds the mold limited to the area at the end of the bathroom fan exhaust duct laying on the floor of the attic and recommends that it be cleaned up with soap and water.

The story has the happy ending with the builder saving the owner $20,000 and the “certifiable” hygeneist standing by his report.

I was reading that this morning James. I am sure they will get lots of letters to the editor on that one…

That is why grandma used to keep Lye soap around the farm. Kills everything and leaves it clean, bug and germ free. The old timers knew things, had remedies and cures for things modern science is still wrestling with. She only lived to be 99 and would probably still be alive had she not been put in a nursing home where she fell and broke her hip. Her mother (my great gran) was well over 100 when she passed. They were simple folks with tremendous common sense.

The Journal of Light Construction? What do they know about mold? If I was the Industrial Hygienist I would stand by my report too. If it would ever go to court, the builder would lose because there are actual standards for removing mold for a reason.
You can clean mold with soap and water but if the wood needs to be sealed or the mold will just grow back. I have seen it in a hospital that was in the Flood of '93.
Also the cleanup needs to be under negative air to control spore drift in the living area, so on and so on. Most of my mold jobs deal with insurance companies and builders not cleaning up mold the right way and the occupants getting sick. Sad but true.

I would go with the hygenist.

I see all kinds of “contractors” around here who, dealing with the hard times, go into mold cleanup. Some use soap and water and some use bleach (both are wrong) and, for some inexplicable reason, cannot be found when the problem comes back.

Curious. ain’t it.


It would be interesting to have a second IH go back after the repairs were made and examine the home without being privy to the original findings.

I guess when the subject of clean up got started, no one thought to mention that unless the moisture / water problem is dealt with the mold is going to come back no matter what you use. Most of the mold problems we see are relatively small and fall well below the EPA standard for self clean up but I always tell the customer that if they do not correct the moisture problem they can forget about curing the “mold problem”.

Here in Philadelphia is still common to see evidence of basement walls and ceilings that have been painted with whitewash. The calcium carbonate in it was and still is a very good mold inhibitor. There are some modern paint companies that manufacture “special” mold inhibiting paint. If you read the active ingreadiates, calcium is added to the base so that when it dries, it converts to calcium carbonate.

Now that I did not know, but thanks. I will file that one away.

Exhaust fan into attic = $20k in remediation efforts?

For a small amount of mold?

We’re kidding here, arent we.

The remediation and testing industries are going to burn themselves out of existence.

same here.

Looks like you were right Scott.

The article is missing a great deal of info, mainly if you do not remove the mold growth, the sealer will not stick and just peel back off.

This info came from a home builder point of view.:wink:
The little bit of visible mold, usually after closer examination winds up being a lot of mold.
Sad but true!