House #35: Making Progress

August 12, 2012 · 7 comments

Progress on The Rookie House has been pretty slow since we closed on the purchase about a month ago. The main reason being that we brought in a mold testing company to test for mold, and despite there being not visual evidence of a mold problem, the test indicated that there was slightly elevated levels of mold present. This was likely the result of the house being locked up without AC for 3 years, and wasn’t too surprising.

What was surprising was the cost and time of the remediation. Despite the problem not being very bad, the fact that the house was torn down to the studs meant that the mold could have been on any surface, and the remediation required involved a lot of manual work. This involved about a week and a half of work, and over $3000 for the remediation (which was by-far the best quote we got). On the bright side, after remediation it only took 24 hours to get the results of a new mold test, which indicated that levels were no longer elevated. This meant we could get back to work.

Last week, we finished all the rough work (electrical, plumbing, HVAC), got the new tubs and showers installed, got the insulation installed and passed our rough inspections. That means that sheetrock will start tomorrow, and we’re probably about a month away from having the house ready to go on the market.

Due to the extra cost and time of mold remediation (which I should have anticipated, but didn’t), we’re now about $3000 over budget and a couple weeks over schedule…

7 responses to “House #35: Making Progress”

  1. Justin says:

    Hey J – An investor friend of mine told me that he can significantly reduce the cost of mold remediation by first using an ozone generator to kill the mold from growing further and then spraying a dawn soap/bleach concoction on all surfaces where there is mold. After this is done, he then calls in a mold specialist to remediate the rest. I haven’t tried this yet but thought I would let you know.

  2. J Scott says:

    Thanks Justin! Here is a what a lot of professional remediators will tell you though — they won’t guarantee the work unless they feel like they are doing all the work. So, you can definitely get the services for less that way, but you won’t get the guarantee, as the remediator will want to encapsulate or scrub all the surfaces himself. For this one — because it was a flood house and the buyer may be very wary of purchasing — we definitely want a guarantee for the mold work to pass on to the ultimately end-buyer.

    But in other circumstances, your suggestion is much better!

  3. Justin says:

    I completely agree. In those circumstances a guarentee is worth more than the potential savings.

  4. I’m curious how the pros remediated. Did they run dehumidifiers and fans as part of the process? Also, did they spray paint the studs with mildew proof paint as the final step?

    I’d love to know how effective this product is.

    We ran two of them along with an rented commercial dehumidifier for a few days before spraying the studs down and scrubbing them.

  5. J Scott says:

    Hey Mark,

    I’m certainly no mold expert, so I can’t speak to that product (or any remediation methods for that matter)…

    What this company did was to “clean” every surface of the house (it was torn down to the studs). I don’t know if that meant wiping, encapsulating or other something else, but they used a specific anti-microbial agent throughout the entire process. They then fogged and dehumidified for about 5 days.

  6. Luis says:

    Curious…when you say they found “elevated levels”, what is the standard that they are using to determine elevated? Last time I researched this I learned that there are no such thing as a “standard” level of accepted mold in a house.

  7. J Scott says:


    “Elevated” is relative to the control sample taken, which for this property was just an exterior sample. In other words, the spore count inside the house was higher than outside the house.

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